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What are the Different Surgical Tech Jobs?

By Harriette Halepis
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are two different kinds of surgical tech jobs available. Scrub technicians help hospital staff set up an operation room prior to surgery, and circulations technicians handle unsterilized equipment that must be brought into an operating room. The main difference between the two is that circulations technicians are often the only member of a surgical team that isn't sterilized. Some technicians may also specialize in one particular area of surgery such as plastic surgery or cardiac surgery.

Aside from the specific tasks of a scrub technician or circulations technician, surgical tech jobs include a number of important duties. Technicians may be asked to assist a surgical team with sterile clothing, prepare a patient, help operating room nurses, pass surgical instruments, and perform many other jobs. Following surgery, a surgical technician may be required to return a patient to a hospital room. In some cases, technicians may also be asked to clean up a room following surgery.

Essentially, a surgical technician's main goal is to help surgical procedures run smoothly. Technicians work with a team of physicians, nurses, surgeons, and anesthesiologists in order to ensure a smooth procedure. Surgical tech jobs can be found within most hospitals, though some private facilities may also employ technicians. In addition, physicians may employ technicians if they require additional assistance.

Surgical tech jobs are very demanding physically and emotionally, since operating rooms tend to be high-stress areas. In addition to wearing surgical scrubs at all times, technicians must also be on their feet for the majority of a work day. Specific surgical technician programs are not offered at most universities, though some technical schools offer classes that can be applied towards surgical tech jobs.

A college, technical, or university degree is not required in order to secure a surgical tech job, though the vast majority of surgical technicians have obtained a high school diploma or an associate degree. Additional on-site training may be offered at some hospital locations. All surgical technicians should have basic math skills in addition to some surgical or medical knowledge.

The Liaison Council on Certification for Surgical Technologists offers certification courses for those that have passed an approved program. The National Center for Competency Testing also provides certification for qualified applicants. Certified surgical technicians are often in higher demand than those without certification. Also, surgical technicians that specialize in one surgical field or another may find advancement opportunities, since surgical tech jobs within specific surgical fields are consistently in high demand.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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