Surgical Technology Professions Video: Career Options and Educational Requirements

Surgical Technology Professions Video: Career Options and Educational Requirements Transcript

Like nurses, doctors and anesthesiologists, surgical technicians play a key role on a surgery team. Surgical techs, also known as operating room technicians, use their knowledge of surgical technologies to prepare rooms and patients for surgery. Some techs even assist during surgeries. If you are a detail oriented person with an interest in healthcare, a career in surgical technology might be right for you.


Also known as 'operating room technicians' or 'scrubs', surgical technology professionals assist anesthesiologists, registered nurses and surgeons. Their main responsibility involves preparing operating rooms prior to a surgery. Other duties include prepping patients and assisting during actual procedures. Most surgical technicians work under the guidance of other medical professionals.

Job Skills and Duties

Surgical technicians have a key role in the surgical process. Before a surgery begins, technicians prepare patients by washing, shaving and sterilizing areas where incisions will be made. Some techs also conduct an interview with the patients prior to surgery to get information surgeons need. Techs prepare an operating room by cleaning, laying out all the necessary tools, and ensuring that there is an adequate amount of supplies. They also transport the patient to and from the operating room. Some surgical technicians even assist in the actual surgery by operating equipment and fetching supplies.

Training Required

Individuals in surgical technology enter their respective fields through a variety of means. Most train at vocational schools, community colleges, hospitals or the armed forces. Surgical technology programs typically last between nine months and two years and culminate in associate's degrees, diplomas and certificates. Upon graduation, most techs seek certification as surgical technologists. The Certified Surgical Technologist designation requires graduation from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, or CAAHEP, and the passage of a national certification exam. Certification must be renewed every four years and requires continuing education.

Work Environment

Surgical technologists work in an environment where cleanliness can mean the difference between life and death. People in this field need to be very aware and organized in order to handle the demands of the operating room. During surgery, surgical techs need to monitor the entire surgical team to ensure the sterility of the room isn't compromised. With continued experience, technologists may advance to the role of surgical first assistant. Surgical first assistants work closely with the surgeons to control blood flow and prevent hemorrhaging. Becoming a first assistant requires passage of an additional exam.


Surgical techs handle everything but the surgery itself. These professionals need to remain focused and alert in a high stress environment. The work they do keeps operating rooms running smoothly and could help to save a life.


Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook - Surgical Technologists

Wikipedia - Surgical Technologist

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