A surgical first assistant is responsible for the tools a surgeon uses during a procedure, and additionally, they help out with the actual surgery itself. They are usually surgical assistants with the highest level of expertise and training. In this high-precision role, you get to work closely with the surgeon in a hands-on capacity where you may also need to handle vital tasks such as prepping the patient for surgery, providing suturing, clamping, removing scar tissue, and positioning patients during surgery to ensure a safe operation.
Because this role requires such honed skills and specific training, the salary range is generally above the pay grade for surgical techs, surgical second assistants, entry-level assistants, or physicians assistants. Given the field's competitive nature, it's essential that you maintain a good reputation. The factor that may affect your reputation and employability include the hours you served as a SA during surgeries. A degree in a related field such as nursing or health is required to qualify for this position.
There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a surgical first assistant. For example, did you know that they make an average of $28.61 an hour? That's $59,506 a year!
Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 9% and produce 9,700 job opportunities across the U.S.
There are certain skills that many surgical first assistants have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed compassion, emotional stability and problem-solving skills.
When it comes to the most important skills required to be a surgical first assistant, we found that a lot of resumes listed 12.5% of surgical first assistants included surgical procedures, while 10.5% of resumes included heart, and 10.1% of resumes included patient care. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.
When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the surgical first assistant job title. But what industry to start with? Most surgical first assistants actually find jobs in the health care and professional industries.
If you're interested in becoming a surgical first assistant, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 27.3% of surgical first assistants have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 14.2% of surgical first assistants have master's degrees. Even though some surgical first assistants have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.
Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a surgical first assistant. When we researched the most common majors for a surgical first assistant, we found that they most commonly earn associate degree degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on surgical first assistant resumes include master's degree degrees or diploma degrees.
You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a surgical first assistant. In fact, many surgical first assistant jobs require experience in a role such as surgical technician. Meanwhile, many surgical first assistants also have previous career experience in roles such as physician assistant or surgical assistant.