Who Are Surgical Technologists~What Do They Do?

Surgical technologists are members of operating room teams, which most commonly include surgeons, anesthesiologists, and circulating registered nurses. Before an operation, surgical technologists help prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment, sterile drapes, and sterile solutions. They assemble both sterile and non-sterile equipment, as well as adjust and check it to ensure it is working properly.

During surgery, technologists pass instruments and other sterile supplies to surgeons and surgeon assistants. They may hold retractors, cut sutures, and help count sponges, needles, supplies, and instruments. Surgical technologists help prepare, care for, and dispose of specimens taken for laboratory analysis and help apply dressings.

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to grow 25 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than average for all occupations. Job opportunities will be best for surgical technologists who are certified and for those willing to relocate.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median annual wages of surgical technologists were $38,740 in May of 2008. According to the Association of Surgical Technologists, the median annual hourly pay rate in the state of Kansas in 2011 was $18.43.