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Become An Operating Room Assistant

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Working As An Operating Room Assistant

  • Getting Information
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Deal with People

  • Stressful

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • $115,779

    Average Salary

What Does An Operating Room Assistant Do

Surgical technologists, also called operating room technicians, assist in surgical operations. They prepare operating rooms, arrange equipment, and help doctors during surgeries.

Duties

Surgical technologists typically do the following:

  • Prepare operating rooms for surgery
  • Sterilize equipment and make sure that there are adequate supplies for surgery
  • Ready patients for surgery, such as by washing and disinfecting incision sites
  • Help surgeons during surgery by passing them instruments and other sterile supplies
  • Count supplies, such as sponges and instruments
  • Maintain a sterile environment

Surgical technologists work as members of a healthcare team alongside physicians and surgeons, registered nurses, and other healthcare workers.

Before an operation, surgical technologists prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment. They also prepare patients for surgery by washing and disinfecting incision sites, positioning the patients on the operating table, covering them with sterile drapes, and taking them to and from the operating room. Surgical technologists prepare sterile solutions and medications used in surgery and check that all surgical equipment is working properly. They help the surgical team put on sterile gowns and gloves.

During an operation, surgical technologists pass instruments and supplies to surgeons and first assistants. They also hold retractors, hold internal organs in place during the procedure, or set up robotic surgical equipment. Technologists also may handle specimens taken for laboratory analysis.

Once the operation is complete, surgical technologists may apply bandages and other dressings to the incision site. They may also help transfer patients to recovery rooms and restock operating rooms after a procedure.

Surgical first assistants have a hands-on role, directly assisting surgeons during a procedure. For instance, they may help to suction the incision site or suture a wound.

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How To Become An Operating Room Assistant

Surgical technologists typically need a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree. Certification can be beneficial in finding a job. A small number of states regulate surgical technologists.

Education

Surgical technologists typically need postsecondary education. Many community colleges and vocational schools, as well as some universities and hospitals, have accredited programs in surgical technology. Programs range in length from several months to 2 years, and they grant a diploma, certificate, or associate’s degree upon completion. Admission typically requires a high school diploma or the equivalent.

Surgical technology education includes courses in anatomy, biology, medical terminology, pharmacology, and other topics. Surgical technologists are trained in the care and safety of patients, sterilization techniques, how to set up technical or robotic equipment, and preventing and controlling infections. In addition to classroom study, students also work in supervised clinical settings to gain hands-on experience.

First surgical assistants may complete a formal education program in surgical assisting. Others may work as a surgical technologist and receive additional on-the-job training before becoming a first assistant.

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Surgical technologists must pay close attention to their work at all times. For example, they need to provide the correct sterile equipment for surgeons during an operation.

Dexterity. Surgical technologists should be comfortable working with their hands. They must be able to provide needed equipment quickly.

Integrity. Because they are trusted to provide sterile supplies and quality patient care during surgical procedures, surgical technologists must have integrity.

Physical stamina. Surgical technologists should be comfortable standing for extended periods.

Stress-management skills. Working in an operating room can be stressful. Surgical technologists should be able to work well under pressure while providing a high level of care.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification can be beneficial in finding a job. Surgical technologists may earn certification through credentialing organizations.

Certification through The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting allows the use of the title “Certified Surgical Technologist (CST).” Certification typically requires completing an accredited formal education program or military training program and passing an exam.

Certification through the National Center for Competency Testing allows the use of the title “Tech in Surgery - Certified (NCCT).” Applicants may qualify through formal education, military training, work experience, or other eligibility paths. All require documenting critical skills and passing an exam.

Both certifications require surgical technologists to complete continuing education to maintain their certification.

In addition, many jobs require technologists to become certified in CPR or basic life support, or both.

A small number of states have regulations governing the work of surgical technologists or surgical assistants, or both.

The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting, the National Commission for the Certification of Surgical Assistants, and the American Board of Surgical Assistants offer certification for surgical first assistants.

Advancement

Surgical technologists may choose to advance to other healthcare occupations, such as registered nurse. Technologists may also choose to become a postsecondary teacher of health specialties.

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Operating Room Assistant Videos

Nurse (Operating Room), Career Video from drkit.org

Cleaning the Operating Room Between Cases

A Career in Hospital and Operating Theatre (JTJS32008)

Operating Room Assistant Jobs

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Operating Room Assistant Career Paths

Operating Room Assistant
Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Case Manager Nursing Director
Administrative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Barista Office Manager
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Crew Member General Manager Chief Operating Officer
Chief Executive Officer And Operator
10 Yearsyrs
Anesthesia Technician Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Chief Nursing Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Barista Home Health Aid Staff Nurse
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Staff Nurse
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Case Manager Clinical Manager
Clinical Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Investigator Deputy Director
Department Director
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Case Manager Clinical Manager
Director Of Clinical Operations
12 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Account Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Materials Management
7 Yearsyrs
Anesthesia Technician Surgical Technician Staff Nurse
Interim Director
10 Yearsyrs
Unit Secretary Technician Production Supervisor
Material Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Staff Nurse Physician
Medical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Operating Room Nurse Nurse Manager Patient Care Manager
Medical Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Surgical Technician Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Surgical Technician Licensed Practical Nurse Staff Nurse
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Crew Member Maintenance Technician Production Manager
Processing Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Unit Secretary Staff Nurse
Service Director
10 Yearsyrs
Operating Room Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor Utilization Review Coordinator
Utilities Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Operating Room Assistant?

Operating Room Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

53.1%

Male

45.5%

Unknown

1.4%
Ethnicity

White

62.5%

Hispanic or Latino

16.0%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

59.8%

French

9.3%

Portuguese

4.7%

German

4.7%

Chinese

2.8%

Hebrew

1.9%

Japanese

1.9%

Russian

1.9%

Tagalog

1.9%

Bengali

1.9%

Swedish

0.9%

Dutch

0.9%

Vietnamese

0.9%

Bosnian

0.9%

Ilocano

0.9%

Hindi

0.9%

Urdu

0.9%

Polish

0.9%

Korean

0.9%

Cantonese

0.9%
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Operating Room Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

11.6%

Monroe Community College

7.0%

Southern New Hampshire University

6.2%

Sam Houston State University

6.2%

University of Northern Iowa

5.4%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

5.4%

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

4.7%

Boise State University

4.7%

Broward College

4.7%

University of Missouri - Columbia

4.7%

Culinary Institute of America

4.7%

Community College of Rhode Island

3.9%

Arizona State University

3.9%

University of Vermont

3.9%

Delgado Community College

3.9%

University of Iowa

3.9%

Northern Arizona University

3.9%

Grand Valley State University

3.9%

University of Central Florida

3.9%

University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth

3.9%
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Majors

Business

16.7%

Nursing

11.0%

Psychology

6.5%

Kinesiology

6.2%

Biology

6.2%

Medical Assisting Services

5.7%

Medical Technician

5.4%

General Studies

5.1%

Criminal Justice

5.1%

Liberal Arts

3.6%

Communication

3.6%

Health Care Administration

3.3%

Accounting

3.3%

Information Technology

3.0%

Nursing Assistants

2.9%

Management

2.6%

Elementary Education

2.6%

Chemistry

2.6%

Health Sciences And Services

2.6%

Fine Arts

2.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.3%

Other

30.0%

Associate

13.3%

Masters

8.4%

Certificate

4.5%

Diploma

0.9%

Doctorate

0.9%

License

0.7%
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Operating Room Assistant Videos

Nurse (Operating Room), Career Video from drkit.org

Cleaning the Operating Room Between Cases

A Career in Hospital and Operating Theatre (JTJS32008)

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Top Skills for An Operating Room Assistant

  1. Surgery
  2. Surgical Procedures
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Transport all necessary materials and instruments to Tucson Medical Center's ambulatory surgery for General Sedation dentistry.
  • Wrapped and prepared surgical equipment for sterilization or surgical procedures.
  • Maintained and delivered appropriate customer service in a high stress environment.
  • Manage supplies and restock inventory to ensure optimal availability for patient care.
  • Communicated with doctor's offices for specimen labeling problems and incorrect patient information.

How Would You Rate Working As an Operating Room Assistant?

Are you working as an Operating Room Assistant? Help us rate Operating Room Assistant as a Career.

Top Operating Room Assistant Employers

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Jobs From Top Operating Room Assistant Employers

Operating Room Assistant Videos

Nurse (Operating Room), Career Video from drkit.org

Cleaning the Operating Room Between Cases

A Career in Hospital and Operating Theatre (JTJS32008)

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