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Top 9 surgical tech jobs and who’s hiring

Explore the top surgical tech jobs and companies that are hiring. Find your next career in the growing field of surgical tech today!

Top 9 surgical tech jobs and who’s hiring

Surgical techs collaborate with surgeons during procedures, undertaking tasks such as preparing the operating room, sterilizing equipment, and offering assistance throughout the operation. They often work in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, or specialty clinics.

Surgical techs play a critical role in the health system, and the field of surgical technology has a wide range of job opportunities. These roles can bring immense satisfaction and meaning because you can make a real difference in patients' lives.

This article will explore popular surgical tech positions; detail specific job duties, educational requirements, and potential earnings; and review some notable companies actively recruiting for these roles.

1. Operating room (OR) specialist

An operating room specialist ensures everything runs smoothly and the patient feels safe and comfortable throughout the procedure. Here's what they do:

  • Create a clean and sterile operating environment
  • Assist surgeons and other team members
  • Keep the equipment in check and set up properly

You can expect to make an average of $50,000 per year, and could earn even more with a number of years experience.

When it comes to education, on-the-job training is the way to go — though registered nurse (RN) certification or another certification in a related field can give you a leg up.

You’ll need the following skills to excel in this role:

  • Knowledge of surgical services and procedures
  • Sterilization
  • Attention to detail
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving

If you enjoy the thrill of supporting surgical procedures, becoming an operating room specialist might be your calling.

2. Surgical assistant

A surgical assistant works in the operating room. They assist the surgeon with hands-on tasks like:

  • Sponging
  • Suctioning
  • Suturing
  • Treating wounds

Surgical assistants typically earn an average annual salary of $48,000. Working in a hospital may offer higher earning potential than outpatientsurgery centers or dental offices.

You don’t need previous job experience to be a surgical assistant, but you might consider obtaining an associate degree or surgical first assistant certification to help you stand out.

Let's talk about the skills you'll need as a surgical assistant. Get ready to showcase:

  • Knowledge of surgical procedures
  • Manual dexterity
  • Problem-solving

If you thrive in a fast-paced environment, becoming a surgical assistant could be the thrilling career path you've been seeking!

3. Medical assistant

Medical assistants handle administrative tasks like registering patients and handling payments in a healthcare facility.

The average annual salary is approximately $37,000. The best part is the flexible working hours, allowing you to choose between full-time or part-time, day shifts, evenings, or weekends to accommodate your lifestyle.

Medical assistants don’t require a formal degree. On-the-job training is common, but you can also consider medical assistant programs for a structured approach.

You’ll need the following skills to thrive in this career:

  • Strong organization
  • Communication
  • Proficiency in using electronic health record systems
  • Attention to detail
  • Multitasking

4. Surgical technologist

If you excel in a fast-paced environment and have great attention to detail, a surgical technologist job might be for you. Responsibilities include:

  • Pre-operative duties (e.g., sterilizing equipment)
  • Intra-operative assistance (e.g., passing instruments to the surgeon)
  • Post-operative responsibilities (e.g., cleaning and restocking the operating room)

With a surgical technologistjob title, you can expect to make an average of $48,000 per year.

You'll need some education, such as a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) certification, where you’ll learn everything from medical terminology to patient care.

And while entry-level positions are available, some employers may prefer candidates with previous internship or clinical experience. Luckily, clinical hours are part of the certification process to become a certified surgical tech.

You’ll need the following skills to succeed in this role:

  • Knowledge of surgical procedures
  • Manual dexterity
  • Physical stamina
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication

5. Surgical technician

A surgical technician is distinct from a surgical technologist and has a unique role. On-the-job training is sufficient to become a surgical technician, eliminating the need for formal education.

While they also handle sterilizing tools like technologists, their primary responsibilities include:

  • Setting up the surgery room
  • Gathering and sterilizing materials after surgery
  • Assisting surgical technologists during procedures

Previous hospital or healthcare experience can help you secure an entry-level position. However, full-time work is typical, and you may be on-call for night shifts to assist with emergency surgeries.

Surgical technicians earn around $50,000 per year, depending on factors like experience and the size of the medical center.

You'll need the following skills to thrive in this role:

  • Efficiency in setting up the surgical room
  • Knowledge of sterilization procedures
  • Superb organization
  • Communication
  • Teamwork

6. Travel surgical technician

We've covered surgical technician duties. To recap, you can learn most of the ropes on the job without needing a formal education. Your main role involves assisting patients and surgical technologists during surgeries, handling instruments, and sterilizing them afterward.

A travelsurgical technician performs the same duties on a mobile basis. They work where needed (which could be in another city or state) rather than having a permanent position.

Of course, being a travel surgical technician means being committed to travel. The good news is that they are paid well, making upward of around $82,000 per year on a per diem basis.

In addition to great manual dexterity and the ability to stand for long periods, you'll also need these skills:

  • Flexibility to work in different healthcare facilities
  • Organization
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving

Becoming a travel surgical technician opens a world of higher earnings and the chance to make a difference in healthcare facilities across different locations.

7. OB surgical technologist

OB stands for “obstetrics” or “obstetrician,” which refers to a physician who assists surgeons during surgical procedures related to childbirth (e.g., cesarean sections). Responsibilities typically include:

  • Preparing the delivery room for childbirth
  • Assisting with surgical procedures
  • Sterilizing instruments specific to obstetric procedures

As for annual salary, OB surgical techs tend to earn an average of $47,000 per year, with the potential to earn more with experience.

As for education, an OB surgical technologist needs a:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Certified nursing assistant (CNA) or CST certificate, or other relevant training as required by your state or employer

Here are some of the skills needed for success:

  • Knowledge of obstetric procedures
  • Sterilization techniques
  • Organization
  • Communication

8. Cardiovascularsurgical technologist

Cardiovascularsurgical technologists work alongside surgeons in the cardiovascularoperating room (CVOR) during heart surgeries. Here's a breakdown of their key tasks:

  • Preparing the operating room for cardiovascular and vascular procedures
  • Setting up specialized surgical instruments
  • Assisting with patient transport to and from the operating room

The average salary for a cardiovascularsurgical technologist is around $55,000 per year, with potential to earn more with experience.

Employers prefer candidates with a CST certification for this field, but having experience or an internship in a healthcare facility is a bonus.

You'll need the following skills to thrive in this role:

  • Proficiency in aseptic technique
  • Knowledge of cardiovascularsurgical procedures
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication

9. Orthopedicsurgical technologist

In this career, you’ll work side by side with orthopedic surgeons, tackling surgeries related to the musculoskeletal system. Here's what’s most often required of this role:

  • Prepare the operating room for orthopedic procedures
  • Sterilize surgical instruments
  • Assist surgeons during procedures

In addition to a high school diploma or GED, you’ll typically need a CST and CPR training to stand out to employers (depending on your location and the organization). While entry-level positions will likely be your starting point, hands-on experience in orthopedic surgery or a clinical setting can give you a major advantage.

An orthopedicsurgical technologist can expect an average annual salary of around $83,000.

Essential skills needed to excel as an orthopedicsurgical technologist include:

  • Sterilization techniques
  • Knowledge of orthopedic procedures
  • Instrument and equipment expertise
  • Patient care and empathy

Which companies are hiring surgical techs on Handshake?

If you’re ready to dive in and find your next surgical tech job, visit the ultimate job platform for staffing students and alumni. Whether you have work experience or are just starting out, Handshake has you covered with an extensive array of job types, including those in radiology, surgery, and other healthcare fields.

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Handshake opens doors to countless possibilities and empowers you to kickstart your career. Take action today and join the thriving community on Handshake ( to unlock a world of job opportunities.


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