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New York Health Careers

Surgical Technologists

What Do Surgical Technologists Do?

Surgical technologists (also called operating room technicians) assist in surgical operations under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. Surgical technologists are members of operating room teams, which most commonly include surgeons, anesthesiologists, and circulating nurses.

Surgical technologists prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment. They prepare patients for surgery and transport patients to the operating room. They will position patients on the operating table and cover them with sterile surgical drapes. They may remove a patient’s sutures and apply dressings. Surgery technologists also observe patients’ vital signs, check charts, and help the surgical team by passing instruments and other sterile supplies. They may hold retractors, cut sutures, and help count sponges, needles, supplies, and instruments. They may also operate some diagnostic equipment and handle specimens taken for analysis. After an operation, surgical technologists may help transfer patients to the recovery room and clean and restock the operating room.

Certified surgical technologists have additional specialized education and training and may act in the role of the surgical first assistant or circulator. Circulators monitor operating room conditions and the patient and help preserve a sterile environment. The circulator may also keep a written account of the surgical procedure and will answer the surgeon’s questions about the patient during the surgery. First assistants, under the supervision of the surgeon, provide aid in exposure, hemostasis (controlling blood flow and stopping or preventing hemorrhage), and other technical functions that help the surgeon carry out a safe operation.

For more information about surgical technologists, go to https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/surgical-technologists.htm

Where Do Surgical Technologists Work?

Almost three-quarters of surgical technologists work in hospitals in operating rooms and delivery rooms. Other surgical technologists work in outpatient surgery centers, physician offices, or dental offices.

What Do Surgical Technologists Earn?

In 2017, the median annual income for surgical technologists in New York was $51,330 (entry-level: $38,710, experienced: $61,800), and the median annual income for surgical technologists nationwide in 2017 was $46,310.

Supply and Demand

Between 2016 and 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the total number of surgical technologist jobs in the U.S. will increase by 11.7% and will increase in New York during the same time period by 17.6%.

Growth in employment of surgical technologists will occur as the volume of surgeries goes up. The large population of baby boomers in the U.S. is aging and older people usually require more operations, including joint replacements and heart-related procedures. Technological advances have created a variety of new surgical procedures and will allow surgical technologists to assist with more procedures. Also, advances in medical technology have made surgery safer, and more operations are being done to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries.

Surgical technicians may advance to a first assistant with proper training. Surgical technologists may advance to a registered nurse or postsecondary teacher of health specialties. A one year practicum is often encouraged to enhance the application of learned techniques.

For more information on surgical technologists by New York State labor regions for 2014-2024, click here.

New York Educational Requirements

Surgical technologists receive training in formal education programs at community colleges and vocational schools which typically last from nine to 24 months and result in a certificate or associate degree. Educational programs include both classroom instruction and supervised clinical experience. Courses include anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, professional ethics, and medical terminology. Students also work in supervised clinical settings to gain hands-on skills as technologists. Surgical technologists are trained in the care and safety of patients, sterilization techniques, and preventing and controlling infections. They also learn to handle and prepare special drugs, solutions, supplies, and equipment.

New York Licensure Requirements

New York does not require surgical technologists to be licensed, though many employers prefer to hire certified surgical technologists. Individuals wishing to demonstrate proficiency may obtain voluntary professional certification from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), the National Commission for the Certification of Surgical Assistants, and the American Board of Surgical Assistants. Individuals may also benefit by graduating from a Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)-accredited program and passing a certification examination through the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT).

Financial Support

The Foundation for Surgical Technology of the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) sponsors a student scholarship fund to encourage and reward educational excellence demonstrated by surgical technology students and offer assistance to those who seek a career in surgical technology. The leadership of the Foundation determines the amount of the awards and selects the scholarship recipients.

Surgery technologist: https://www.ncctinc.com/certifications/TSC.aspx

Certified Postsecondary Instructor: https://www.ncctinc.com/certifications/CPI.aspx

The Foundation for Surgical Technology of the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) sponsors a student scholarship fund to encourage and reward educational excellence demonstrated by surgical technology students and offer assistance to those who seek a career in surgical technology. The leadership of the Foundation determines the amount of the awards and selects the scholarship recipients.

 

Education Programs in New York

Kingsborough Community College
City University of New York

2001 Oriental Boulevard
Brooklyn, NY 11235-2398
(718) 368-5000
Long Island University
Brooklyn Campus

School of Continuing Studies
Allied Health Programs
9 Hanover Place, 2nd floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201-5372
(718) 488-1364
Mandl School
The College of Allied Health

254 W. 54th Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 247-3434
Nassau Community College
One Education Drive
Garden City, NY 11530-6793
(516) 572-7501
Niagara County Community College
3111 Saunders Settlement Road
Sanborn, NY 14132
(716) 614-6417
Onondaga Community College
4585 West Seneca Turnpike
Syracuse, NY 13215
(315) 498-2458
Trocaire College
360 Choate Avenue, Rm. 333
Buffalo, NY 14220-2094
(716) 827-2454
Ulster County BOCES
175 Route 32 North
New Paltz, NY 12561
(845) 331-5050
Wilson Technology Center
Western Suffolk BOCES

17 Westminster Ave.
Dix Hills, NY 11746
(631) 261-3721
Swedish Institute
College of Health Sciences
226 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001
(212) 924-5900
Mohawk Valley Community College
1101 Sherman Drive
Utica, NY  13501
(315) 792-5400
Finger Lakes Health College of Nursing
196 North Street
Geneva, NY  14456
(315) 787-4005

Additional Web Links

For more information about surgical technologists go to The Association of Surgical Technologists Web site at: http://www.ast.org/.

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