Demand for surgical technologists continues to grow.
Surgical Technology at a Glance
Surgical technologists typically need a post-secondary education. Programs range in length from several months to two years, and graduates earn diplomas, certificates, or Associate’s degrees upon completion. In addition to classroom study, students also work in supervised clinical settings to gain hands-on experience before graduation from Surgical Technology programs.
Typical Tasks Performed
- Prepare operating rooms for surgery
- Sterilize equipment and make sure that there are adequate supplies for surgery
- Prepare patients for surgery by performing such tasks as washing and disinfecting incision sites
- Help surgeons during surgery by passing along instruments and other sterile supplies
- Count supplies such as sponges and instruments to maintain a sterile environment
Outlook for Employment
Employment of surgical technologists is projected to grow 15 percent through 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Some of the factors that will lead to heightened demand for surgical technologists include:
- Advances in medical technology have made surgery safer, and more operations are being done to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries.
- The aging of the large baby-boom generation is expected to increase the need for surgical technologists because this generation is more likely than any before to seek out medical treatment to improve their quality of life.
Most surgical technologists work in hospitals. Some work in outpatient care centers or in offices of physicians who perform outpatient surgery. Surgical technologists employed in hospitals may work or be on call during nights, weekends, and holidays. They may also be required to work shifts lasting longer than eight hours.
Please note that these are national statistics and projections that might vary by location.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/surgical-technologists.htm