Career Detail


Surgical Technologist
Surgical technologists, also called scrubs and surgical or operating room technicians, assist in surgical operations under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel.
The Job
They assemble both sterile and nonsterile equipment, as well as check and adjust it to ensure it is working properly. Technologists also get patients ready for surgery by washing, shaving, and disinfecting incision sites. They transport patients to the operating room, help position them on the operating table, and cover them with sterile surgical drapes. Technologists also observe patients' vital signs, check charts, and help the surgical team put on sterile gowns and gloves.
Work Environment
Surgical technologists work in clean, well-lighted, cool environments. They must stand for long periods and remain alert during operations. At times, they may be exposed to communicable diseases and u
College Majors
High school graduate
Minimum Qualifications
Training programs last 9 to 24 months and lead to a certificate, diploma, or associate degree. Professional certification can help in getting jobs and promotions.
Personality traits helpful for this career
They also must be conscientious, orderly, and emotionally stable to handle the demands of the operating room environment.
Quick Facts
  • Employment is expected to grow much faster than average.
  • Job opportunities will be best for technologists who are certified.
  • Training programs last 9 to 24 months and lead to a certificate, diploma, or associate degree.
  • Hospitals will continue to be the primary employer, although much faster employment growth is expected in other health care industries.
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages of wage-and-salary surgical technologists were $38,740 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $32,490 and $46,910. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,510, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $54,300.
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