Junior Member
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5+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2005

So I have been looking around at various hospital jobs and I stumbled upon the surgery technician title. I was wondering if anyone has experience with the position. I have read various descriptions about the job, and can't seem to find a reliable job description. Maybe if someone could enlighten me a little bit about the job description, required education/certification, hours, and how manageable the job is along with going to school to fulfill BS and pre med requirements....


Ryan S.


Junior Member
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Jan 6, 2005
you need to attend some sort of school for this. It lasts about 6 months, and then you have to do your clinicals (non-paid) for like 800 hours. So it will take up your time. If you are a freshmen with a summer to kill go for it. Consider doing OR tech or even a ER tech ( like myself). Alot to see and do as a ER tech. Oh to be an ER tech you need to have worked in the hospital as a nurses aide on some other floor and then transfer. Or just get luck with a an incomptent ER manager who hires you without any XP and throws you right into the thick of things without any training what so ever.


still waiting but time is on my side


aw buddy
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Jun 14, 2004
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A surgery tech often has a year of schooling under their belt, which is a bit excessive for someone who's preparing to go to med school immediately. Meanwhile, an ER tech can often get hired with either an EMT-Basic certification or even no certification at all. However, the level one trauma center by me hired a paramedic with quite a few years of experience, so.....

I'd look into the ER tech business if I were you.


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Jul 10, 2003
Atlanta, Ga
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in the OR that i work at surgical tech are the ones who pull instruments for cases, run labs in traumas, get blood...ect. This doesnt require much training...usually CPR and or previous medical experience. There are premed/college students working as surgical techs. The scrub techs are the ones who have a certification/extra schooling and actually assist in surgery. There are no premeds in this field at the hospital i work at. I am an anesthesia tech and its pretty hands on and doesnt require much experience.


Got Mustard?
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Feb 24, 2005
In a world all my own.
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As taken from the following website:

Surgical Technology

Surgical technologists are allied health professionals who are an integral part of the team of medical practitioners providing surgical care to patients in a variety of settings.
The surgical technologist works under medical supervision to facilitate the safe and effective conduct of invasive surgical procedures. This individual works under the supervision of a surgeon to ensure that the operating room or environment is safe, that equipment functions properly, and that the operative procedure is conducted under conditions that maximize patient safety.

A surgical technologist possesses expertise in the theory and application of sterile and aseptic technique and combines the knowledge of human anatomy, surgical procedures, and implementation tools and technologies to facilitate a physician's performance of invasive therapeutic and diagnostic procedures.

To become a surgical technologist, you must complete a CAAHEP approved program. These programs are at MINIMUM one year in length. These programs all include an in-hospital OR clinical section of at least 300 hours. You could not, for example, complete a surgical technology program over the summer. You may luck out and find a weekend program. Most of them are not CAAHEP accredited are very expensive, and are not very good. You might also be lucky enough to get a hospital to train you to scrub OJT. But in our world of increasing medical liability and focus on educational improvement for healthcare personnel, such training has gone the way of the dinosaur. Besides, if they trained you, they would most likely require you to work for them for a period of time.

Yep, I think trying to complete a surgical technology program WHILE taking pre-med classes and finishing a BS degree would be too time intensive. In over 90% of programs all clinical hours are done in the daytime (7am -3pm). You would have little time to go to pre-med classes. In addition to clinical hours there are classes to attend that would further limit the time you could spend in pre-med classes.

Could you work as a surgical technologist (if you had already completed a program) while taking pre-med classes and finishing a BSc? Sure! That is what I am doing. I work as a traveling tech.

I had to finish the surgical tech program first before I could do the pre-med classes full time. Although the program was not hard, it did eat up a lot of my time. I was only able to complete two of my pre-med classes while in the surgical tech program. This was at the end of the program. I spent 7 am to 3pm in the hospital. There were no other class or study demands and I could attend summer classes at night.

As far as the titles surgical tech or scrub tech, they tend to be interchangeable. I do not know what hospital the last poster works at, but it is VERY rare for folks who have not gone to school to learn how to scrub to be called surgical techs. Yes, you could work in a hospital doing the things he/she described ("pull instruments for cases, run labs in traumas, get blood...ect") but only in this facility would you be called a surgical tech. In most places you would be considered an orderly, tech or CNA (if you have the proper training) assigned to the OR.

A surgical technologist that had completed a program, but has not taken the certifying exam is often called an ST. A surgical technologist that has completed a program and taken the certifying exam offered by the Association of Surgical Technologist (AST) is allowed to use the title CST.

If you feel you have the time, then by all means become a surgical tech/ scrub tech. I love my job. I think becoming a tech is the best decision I ever made. It reignited my desire to become a doctor.

If you don't have that kind of time though, you might want to take one of the other poster's advice, become an ER tech. Why not look into EMT-B training? It is intense, but can be completed in a much shorter period of time. Many posters on SDN have done exactly this. They all seem to praise the experience they gain as EMT-B's assigned to the ED. Having worked in an ED I am considering this myself. Check out the Pre–Hospital [EMS] and the Non-traditional forums. There are lots of threads there on this topic.

Here is the website for AST (Association of Surgical Technologist):

Here is the website to NREMT (National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians):

Good fortune