Surgical Technologist Education and Career Pathway

By | April 4, 2024
Surgical Technologist Education
To become a surgical technologist, you will be expected to fulfill certain educational requirements.

This post provides detailed information on the surgical technologist education and career pathway, including the requirements you would need to meet to become a surgical technologist, as well as how to be successful in your career.

Why Choose Surgical Technologist Career?

Here are some reasons you should choose the surgical technologist career:

  1. You can earn good money

The average salary of a surgical technologist is $45,000 per year. This is higher than that of a nurse ($40,000), but lower than that of a surgeon ($100,000).

2. You can get great benefits

Many employers offer excellent benefits packages for their employees. These include paid vacation days, sick leave, health insurance, retirement plans, tuition reimbursement, and more.

3. You can be your own boss

As a surgical technologist, you have complete control over how much time you spend working each day.

You get to choose when and where you wish to work. If you don’t like one particular job assignment, you can simply change it up.

4. You can make a difference

A surgical technologist helps save lives by performing surgeries and other invasive medical procedures.

By helping people recover from illness and injury, they help improve the quality of life for many individuals.

5. It is rewarding

There are many ways to become a successful surgical technologist. Some people find success through hard work and dedication while others achieve success through talent and skill.

Regardless of which path you take, there is no doubt that becoming a surgical technologist will provide you with a sense of fulfillment.

Surgical Technologist Education Requirements

The following information provides details about the education requirements for becoming a surgical technologist:

  • Degree Level Required: Associate Degree (AA/AS)
  • Education Duration: 2 years
  • Eligibility: High school graduates may apply if they have completed high school and have at least two years of experience in a hospital setting.
  • Formal Training: Yes
  • Certification: None required

Surgical Technologist Continuing Education

Continuing education is important for all healthcare professionals. To stay current with new developments in the field, you must attend continuing education courses offered by local hospitals, state boards, national organizations, etc.

Your employer may also require you to obtain additional training.

Surgical Technologist Certification/License

There are three types of licenses available for surgical technologists: Certified Surgical Technologist, Registered Surgical Technologist, and Licensed Surgical Technologist.

Each license has its own set of specifications. For example, certified surgical technologists must pass a certification exam before they can begin practicing.

However, registered surgical technologists do not need to pass any exams. Instead, they must meet certain educational requirements and then register with their state board of nursing.

Surgical Technologist Career Opportunities

There are various career opportunities available to a surgical technologist, they include:

  1. Medical Laboratory Technician

The medical laboratory technician works as an assistant to physicians and surgeons during surgery.

They perform tests such as blood analysis, urine analysis, and tissue culture.

2. Operating Room Nurse

An operating room nurse assists doctors and surgeons during surgery. These nurses assist them in preparing patients for surgery and monitoring them throughout the procedure.

3. Nursing Assistant

Nursing assistants help care for patients who are recovering from surgery or other medical procedures. They prepare patients for surgery and monitor their recovery.

4. Surgical Tech

Surgical techs assist doctors and surgeons during surgery by providing equipment, supplies, and assistance. They also clean and sterilize instruments after use.

5. Hospital Administrator

Hospital administrators oversee the operations of a hospital. They ensure that everything runs smoothly and that staff members follow proper protocols.

Others include:

How to Advance your Surgical Technologist Career

If you want to advance your career, then you should consider these tips:

  1. Grasp any opportunity that comes your way. If there is an event being held at your facility, be a part of it. This will give you valuable networking opportunities.

2. Attend seminars and conferences on topics related to your job. You never know when something you learn could be useful later on.

3. Join professional associations and participate in committees. This will allow you to keep up-to-date on changes in the industry and how those changes affect your work.

It will also provide you with contacts within your organization who can offer advice about potential careers.

4. Keep up with what’s going on in your profession. Read trade publications and magazines. Follow blogs written by people in your industry.

Subscribe to newsletters sent out by organizations like the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) and the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).

5. Network with others in your profession. Get together with colleagues once in awhile to discuss issues affecting your industry.

 How to Find a Good Surgical Technologist School

There are many different schools where you can earn your degree in this field. Some of the most popular include:

  1. Ask your Employer

Ask your employer if he/she knows of any good schools that specialize in surgical technology. Many employers have connections with schools and may be able to recommend one to you.

2. Check Accreditation

Accreditation is important because it ensures that the school has met certain standards set forth by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). 

3. Look Online

You can search online for “surgical technologist schools near me” or “surgical technologist training program near me” for a good school to enroll in.

There are several websites that list accredited programs and even some non-accredited ones.

4. Contact Schools Directly

Contact the schools directly to ask them questions about their programs. Don’t just rely on information found online.

The best way to find out more about a school is to talk to someone who works there.

5. Visit Campus

Visit the campus of the school you choose. Do they look nice? Are the buildings new? Is the parking lot well kept? These things matter.

How to be Successful in your Surgical Technologist Career

As you begin your journey as a surgical technologist, remember that you are entering into a very competitive field.

Be ready to work long hours and hard. However, don’t get discouraged. In time, you will become successful. Check out these tips to make a successful surgical technologist career:

  1. Put your Best Foot Forward

Your resume must show that you are qualified for the position you seek. Make sure that you tailor your resume to match the requirements of each job posting.

Include all relevant experience and skills.

2. Know What you Want

You must have a clear goal and vision for your career. If you want to be a surgeon, then you should make sure that you study medicine.

If you want to run a business, then you should consider getting an MBA. Whatever career path you decide upon, make sure that you know exactly what you want.

3. Stay Current

You never know when something might change in your field. It could be that a new technique becomes available that makes your current skills obsolete.

Or, maybe a new procedure is developed that requires you to learn how to perform it. Make effort to remain current on what is happening in your field.

4. Take Care of Yourself

It is easy to forget about yourself when you are working so hard. Make sure you look after yourself.

Consume nutritious meals, exercise regularly, and get adequate sleep. This is important in keeping your energy levels high.

5. Network

Networking is essential to success. When you meet people at networking events, try to strike up conversations.

Learn about others’ experiences and see where they are going.

What Does a Surgical Technologist Do?

A surgical technologist performs many different tasks during surgery, including:

  1. Preparing Patients for Surgery

Before performing any kind of surgery, a surgical technologist needs to prepare patients for surgery.

They may clean the area where the surgery will be performed, apply antiseptic cream, and place sterile drapes over the patient.

2. Monitoring Vital Signs During Surgery

During surgery, a surgical technologist monitors vital signs, such as blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature, and breathing rate.

They also monitor anesthesia machines and other equipment.

3. Performing Procedures

After preparing patients for surgery, surgical technologists perform procedures. For example, if a doctor wants to remove a tumor or repair a broken bone, he or she will use instruments called forceps.

A surgical technologist holds the forceps while the doctor removes tissue or repairs bones.

4. Cleaning Equipment

After surgeries, surgical technologists clean operating rooms and sterilize medical equipment.

They also wash hands and disinfect surfaces.

Qualities of a Good Surgical Technologist

To succeed in this profession, you should possess certain qualities. These include:

  1. Knowledge

The first thing that you should look for in a surgical technologist is knowledge. The more knowledgeable you are about your field, the better off you will be.

2. Professionalism

You should always act professionally. Be polite and courteous to everyone around you and don’t engage in negative talk and gossip against anyone.

3. Communication Skills

Communication skills are important because you need to explain things clearly to surgeons and nurses. You should also be able to listen carefully to them.

Surgical Technologist Salary

A surgical technologist gets an average pay ranging from $34,120 to $73,110, according to

Surgical Technologist Job Outlook

Surgical technologists’ employment is expected to expand 9 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


If you want to become a successful surgical technologist, then you must have the right education, training, and experience.

This guide has given you everything you need to know to become one and have a successful career.