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Surgical Technology Program Career Facts

Nature of Work

The surgical technologist is the person who stands elbow-to-elbow with the surgeon and passes the instruments. After the surgeon, the surgical technologist is the person closest the surgery. It is his or her job to maintain the sterile field and to respond to the surgeon's needs.

In operating rooms in this area, only the surgeon, the surgical technologists, and possible a resident or intern "scrub in" or wash hands in sterile fashion, don gowns, masks and gloves and have contact with the surgical opening. It is the surgical technologists' responsibility to be aware of everything going on in the room to make sure that sterility is maintained. The surgical technologist is also responsible for counting the instruments, needles, blades, scalpels, sponges and other paraphernalia before and after the operation, in cooperation with the circulating nurse. The surgical technologists also helps physically arrange the patient for surgery.

Employment Prospects

Demand for surgical technologists is expected to increase much faster than that for other professions, because the US population is aging and older people generally require surgery more often. Hospitals will continue to be the major employer, although some surgical technologists work in the offices and clinics of physicians. There is 100 percent placement of graduates of LCC's surgical technology program, unless they choose not to be employed. There is very high demand nationwide, with about five job openings for every graduate.

Skills You Need

Surgical technologists need manual dexterity to handle instruments quickly. They also must be conscientious, orderly, and emotionally stable to handle the demands of the operating room environment. Technologists must respond quickly and know the procedures well enough to have instruments ready for surgeons without having to be told. They are expected to keep abreast of new developments in the field.

Other skills that are required to succeed as a surgical technologist include: physical strength, eye/hand coordination, critical thinking skills, concentration, good interpersonal relations, memorization and sequencing. Prerequisite college courses are required for admission the Surgical Technology Program.

Expected Earnings

Starting salaries for surgical technologists range from $25,000 to $35,000. The higher figure reflects shift, weekend, and overtime differentials. An experienced surgical technologist may earn close to $39,000 not counting the differentials mentions.

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