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What Are the Employment Opportunities for Surgical Technologists?

Most surgical technologists work in hospitals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 86,000 jobs held by surgical technologists in 2006, 70 percent were in hospitals, primarily in operating and delivery rooms. However, other surgical technologists worked in physician and dentist offices that performed outpatient procedures. Some surgical techs are even employed directly by surgeons and work as part of a special surgical team; these techs are often referred to as “private scrubs.”

The BLS also forecasts that employment for surgical technologists will grow by 24 percent through 2016, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations. The growth will be driven by the increasing number of surgeries expected to occur as the bulk of the population ages: When members of the baby boomer generation age and begin to require more surgeries, the number of procedures — and the need for qualified surgical technologists — will rise. What’s more, regular advances in technology that allow for more surgeries to performed, and for them to be performed easier than in the past, will also boost the number of performed procedures and allow surgical techs to assist in a greater number of surgeries. In line with current employment trends, hospitals will continue to be the primary employers for surgical technologists, though the BLS expects much faster employment growth in physicians’ offices and in outpatient care centers.

Again, it’s important to remember that job prospects are much better for certified technologists, so much so that certification is a de facto requirement for getting a good job in the field.