What Does a Surgical Technician Do? Surgical technicians serve as an integral part of the operating room team. They work under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, and other surgical personnel.
Before an operation even begins, the surgical technician is working to prepare the operating room. After setting up and testing the function of the surgical equipment, the surgical technician is ready to prepare the patient. Duties at this point include transporting the patient, preparing the skin for an incision, and monitoring the patient’s vital signs. During the operation, the surgical technician assists the surgeon by passing the requested tools, holding retractors in place, and by collecting specimens for the lab. After the operation, the surgical technician is responsible for transporting the patient back to the recovery area, cleaning up the operating room, and restocking supplies as necessary.
Surgical technicians enjoy the possibility of working in a broad area of surgical areas, although many choose to specialize. Opportunities exist in all settings and nearly all types of surgeries, including oral and maxillofacial.
Although it is technically possible to be hired without being certified, most employers prefer to hire certified surgical technicians. Programs leading to certification can last anywhere from 10 to 24 months.
Successful surgical technicians typically have a high level of manual dexterity, calm demeanor, and are capable of working in a high stress environment.
Advancing in this field requires solid experience. Advanced opportunities include working in neurosurgery, heart surgery, or even working as a first assistant to the surgeon (if qualified). These positions require a high level of technical expertise along with some advanced training.
Employment and Job Outlook
The majority of surgical technicians work in hospital operating rooms, although many work in private surgical practices that offer outpatient surgeries. Jobs for surgical technicians is expected to rapidly grow, possibly by 25% over the next 10 years. Opportunities will be especially good for mobile and certified surgical technicians. These increased opportunities are predicted due to the expected high volume of surgeries needed as the population continues to age. Furthermore, surgical technicians are very economical for hospitals as they can do the job of certain operating room staff for less money.
The salary that a surgical technician can expect varies with the field in which the technician is working. The following figures serve as rough guide:
- Dental Office: $36,000
- Physician’s Office: $38,500
- General Hospitals: $38,500
- Outpatient Care Centers: $39,500
- Specialty Hospitals: $41,000
These are basic salary estimates and do not include possible benefits such as vacation, insurance, or retirement benefits.