Surgical First Assistant Careers

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.

What Does a Surgical First Assistant Do

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.

How To Become a Surgical First Assistant

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.

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Average Salary
$59,506
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
9%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
13,732
Job Openings

Surgical First Assistant Career Paths

Top Careers Before Surgical First Assistant

Top Careers After Surgical First Assistant

Surgical First Assistant Jobs You Might Like

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Surgical First Assistant

Surgical First Assistants in America make an average salary of $59,506 per year or $29 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $75,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $47,000 per year.
Average Salary
$59,506
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Best Paying Cities For Surgical First Assistants

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
San Antonio, TX
Salary Range47k - 73k$59k$59,100
Oklahoma City, OK
Salary Range46k - 69k$57k$56,991
Phoenix, AZ
Salary Range43k - 65k$53k$53,233
Leesburg, VA
Salary Range41k - 63k$52k$51,568
Eau Claire, WI
Salary Range41k - 58k$49k$49,440
Hallandale Beach, FL
Salary Range37k - 56k$46k$46,060
$37k
$73k

Recently Added Salaries

CompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Surgical First Assistant-Operating Room
Uc Health
08/05/2021
$70,58208/05/2021
Surgical First Assistant-Surgery North
Uchealth
08/03/2021
$70,58208/03/2021
Surgical First Assistant-Surgery North
Uchealth
06/25/2021
$65,97006/25/2021
RN Surgical First Assistant-Grand View Hospital
Uchealth
05/27/2021
$83,16705/27/2021
RN Surgical First Assistant-Grand View Hospital
Uchealth
05/24/2021
$83,16705/24/2021
See More Recent Salaries

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Surgical First Assistant Demographics

Gender

female

53.4 %

male

42.5 %

unknown

4.1 %

Ethnicity

White

59.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

16.6 %

Black or African American

11.2 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

64.5 %

Arabic

9.7 %

Urdu

6.5 %
Show More Surgical First Assistant Demographics

Surgical First Assistant Education

Majors

Nursing
18.3 %

Degrees

Associate

30.8 %

Bachelors

27.3 %

Masters

14.2 %

Top Colleges for Surgical First Assistants

1. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

2. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

3. Yale University

New Haven, CT • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,430
Enrollment
5,963

4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

5. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,104
Enrollment
7,089

6. Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,816
Enrollment
6,840

7. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,381
Enrollment
34,564

8. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

9. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

10. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548
Show More Surgical First Assistant Education Requirements

Online Courses For Surgical First Assistant That You May Like

The Basics of Trauma Surgery
coursera

This course imparts a wide range of basic knowledge and skills in the field of trauma surgical and orthopedic treatment of patients. To facilitate this, the course employs a new concept of information transfer. We follow a scientific approach and a sophisticated combination of modern teaching methods to vividly impart the taught contents. This included case-based learning, comprehensive factual knowledge, and consecutive quizzes, which help to better memorize the learned contents and later emplo...

Transgender Medicine for General Medical Providers
coursera

The course is a comprehensive set of didactic lectures surveying fundamentals of transgender medical and surgical treatment. The material is meant to provide the student with core knowledge that is essential for current primary care providers caring for transgender patients. There are 10 modules led by the expert clinical faculty from the pioneering Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, located within the Mount Sinai Health System and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New Yor...

Administrative Assistant Fundamentals
ed2go

This course will help you discover and master the essentials of managerial and staff support, information and records management, communications technology, travel and meeting coordination, space planning, and office ergonomics...

See more
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Surgical First Assistant

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.5% of surgical first assistants listed surgical procedures on their resume, but soft skills such as compassion and emotional stability are important as well.

Best States For a Surgical First Assistant

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a surgical first assistant. The best states for people in this position are New York, New Jersey, Kansas, and Hawaii. Surgical first assistants make the most in New York with an average salary of $67,018. Whereas in New Jersey and Kansas, they would average $66,985 and $62,565, respectively. While surgical first assistants would only make an average of $62,412 in Hawaii, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Texas

Total Surgical First Assistant Jobs:
1,068
Highest 10% Earn:
$86,000
Location Quotient:
1.37
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Tennessee

Total Surgical First Assistant Jobs:
381
Highest 10% Earn:
$81,000
Location Quotient:
1.68
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New Mexico

Total Surgical First Assistant Jobs:
80
Highest 10% Earn:
$85,000
Location Quotient:
1.06
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Surgical First Assistants

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Top Surgical First Assistant Employers

1. Phoenix Baptist Hospital
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$58,614
Surgical First Assistants Hired: 
7+
2. Kaiser Permanente
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$62,706
Surgical First Assistants Hired: 
7+
3. United States Army
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$70,687
Surgical First Assistants Hired: 
7+
4. St. Joseph Hospital
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$58,415
Surgical First Assistants Hired: 
5+
5. Marshfield Clinic
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$85,079
Surgical First Assistants Hired: 
5+
6. California Service Tool
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$43,354
Surgical First Assistants Hired: 
4+
Updated August 18, 2021