Surgical Technologists


Employment Prospects


Approximately 109,000 surgical technologists are employed in the United States. Most surgical technologists are employed in hospital operating and delivery rooms, clinics, and surgical centers. They also work in offices of physicians or dentists who perform outpatient surgery, hospital emergency departments, outpatient care centers, and central supply departments. Surgical technologists may also be employed directly by surgeons as private scrubs or as surgical first assistants. 

Starting Out

Graduates of surgical technology programs are often offered jobs in the same hospital in which they received their clinical training. Programs usually cooperate closely with hospitals in the area, which are usually eager to employ technologists educated in local programs. Available positions are also advertised on employment agency Web sites and in newspaper classifieds.

Advancement Prospects

Experienced surgical technologists can serve in management roles in surgical services departments and may work as central service managers, surgery schedulers, and materials managers. The role of surgical first assistant on the surgical team requires additional training and experience and is considered an advanced role.

Surgical technologists must function well in a number of diverse areas. Their competency with multiple skills is demonstrated by their employment in organ and tissue procurement/preservation, cardiac catheterization laboratories, medical sales and research, and medical-legal auditing for insurance companies. A number are instructors and directors of surgical technology programs.

Tips for Entry

Visit https://careercenter.ast.org/jobseekers and https://jobs.nbstsa.org for job listings.

Join the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) to access networking and opportunities, continuing education classes, and other resources.

Attend the AST’s Annual National Conference (https://www.ast.org/AboutUs/Conference) to network and participate in continuing education opportunities.

Read The Surgical Technologist (https://www.ast.org/Publications/The_Surgical_Technologist) to learn more about the field.