How to Become an Operating Room Technician

Operating room technicians, also known as surgical technicians, work alongside surgeons and nurses in surgeries. The education required for an operating room technician career includes completing a training program, obtaining an associate degree, diploma or certificate, depending on your state requirements. Many states also require continued education courses after a few years because of new medical advances and technology.


Operating room technicians set up facilities for surgery by preparing equipment, sterilizing the bedding, drapes and to making sure all disinfecting solutions are easily accessible during the surgery, in case they are needed. They usually take patients into the operating room after shaving them. Or, if they are rushed in, they sanitize the wound and the incision sites to ensure that everything will be operated smoothly.

The operating room technician also must monitor patient vital signs and check the patient's prior to surgery to ensure that all knowledge of the patient is known such as allergies, current illness and other medical related subjects. They also act as a second pair of eyes for the surgeon when the distribution of tools that are needed during the operation. Because they are in the operating room, the technician will also work with the anesthesiologist, nurses and surgeons. They are well versed in many different types of medical terminology and equipment.

Training and education

Some of the most important basic tasks are knowledge of medical terminology, education skills and dedication. Also, you need to be able to have good eye contact and be very detailed oriented. They also provide direction and multitask a number of different abilities.

Voluntary certification can be obtained from the Liaison Council on Certficiation for the Surgical Technologist and the National Center for Compentency Testing. You will be required to pass an exam in order to be certified. Prior experience is not required when applying for most positions, but many employers want you to be certified because it shows your knowledge and your experience in this field.

Job Salary and Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary is $36,000 per year. Another 50% of all technicians earned between $30,000 to $43,000. The top 10% made over well over 50,000. Employment of operating room technicians is expected to grow by 24%, by 2016. Much of this gross will actually increase of surgical operations needed in the aging population.

Important medical advances, such as laser technology, will increase the number of surgeons needed which will result in more operating room technicians positions to be open and also allow them to provide greater assistance in the number of operations. If you love a job where you are multitasking and working nonstop in order to provide satisfaction and success, this position may be for you. Keep in mind like in all jobs, this job and it stressful at times.