Surgical Technologist

What Does a Surgical Technologist Do?
Surgical technologists provide valuable help to the rest of the medical team inside operating rooms. They work under the guidance of surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses to ensure that each procedure runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Surgical technologists set up all of the equipment that is needed for each procedure, making sure that all of the tools and machinery are working properly before the patient is brought in. They prepare the patient for surgery as well, disinfecting and shaving the areas where incisions will be made. During the operation, surgical technologists keep an eye on the patient’s vital signs so that any changes in the patientís conditions can be swiftly handled. They hand instruments, such as scalpels, retractors, and other devices, to the surgeon, and take away extraneous materials from the surgical site. After the operation is complete, many surgical technologists have the additional duty of transferring the patient to a recovery room and reorganizing the operating room for another procedure.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Surgical Technologist?
Health care is one of the most stable and improving industries in the work force today. There will always be a need for health care professionals due to the complexity of treating the human body, the unpredictability of disease and injury, and the inevitability of aging and age-related conditions. Due to this ongoing need, health-related jobs will continue to grow as the population grows and medical technology advances, according to the Mayo Clinic’s School of Health Sciences. In particular, advancements in surgical procedures will keep the field growing well into the future. As more patients flood health care facilities due to the general increase in population, surgical technologists will be needed to keep the operating rooms running efficiently. Employment opportunities for surgical technologists are expected to increase 25 percent through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Surgical technologists earn an average salary of $38,740 annually, according to the most current information available from the Bureau.

How Can I Become a Surgical Technologist?
Aspiring surgical technologists must obtain an associate degree from an accredited program in surgical technology. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) is the main accrediting body for surgical technology programs. Associate degrees typically take about two years to earn, during which time students will take courses in medical terminology, anatomy, pharmacology, and other classes that are designed to make students more proficient in the medical field. Some classes will also teach students all of the different pieces of operating room equipment and the uses of that equipment so that they may successfully provide aide to the surgical staff. After completing the associate program, prospective surgical technologists have the opportunity to earn certification. Most employers prefer to hire those who are certified, so certification is in the best interest of the passionate technologist. Certification is earned after the successful completion of an examination. In order to remain certified, however, surgical technologists will have to participate in a continuing education program so that they stay up-to-date in the field.