What Does it Take to Be a Surgical Assistant?
Career Description Assist surgeons during surgery by performing duties such as tissue retraction, insertion of tubes and intravenous lines, or closure of surgical wounds. Perform preoperative and postoperative duties to facilitate patient care.
Life As a Surgical Assistant: What Do They Do?
- Pass instruments or supplies to surgeon during procedure.
- Postoperatively inject a subcutaneous local anesthetic agent to reduce pain.
- Incise tissue layers in lower extremities to harvest veins.
- Monitor and maintain aseptic technique throughout procedures.
- Assist members of surgical team with gowning or gloving.
- Adjust and maintain operating room temperature, humidity, or lighting, according to surgeon’s specifications.
Skills Needed to be a Surgical Assistant
When polled, Surgical Assistants say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:
Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
Types of Surgical Assistant
- Certified Surgical First Assistant (CSFA)
- Surgical Technician (Surgical Tech)
- Surgical Services Assistant
- Clinical Assistant
Surgical Assistant Employment Estimates
In the United States, there were 127,800 jobs for Surgical Assistant in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 19.6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 25,100 new jobs for Surgical Assistant by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 11,000 job openings in this field each year.
The states with the most job growth for Surgical Assistant are Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Illinois, Rhode Island, or Kansas. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
How Much Does a Surgical Assistant Make?
The salary for Surgical Assistants ranges between about $28,130 and $72,720 a year.
Surgical Assistants who work in New Mexico, Alaska, or Washington, make the highest salaries.
Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Surgical Assistants in different U.S. states.
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$54,210|
What Tools & Technology do Surgical Assistants Use?
Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Surgical Assistants may use on a daily basis:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Word processing software
- MEDITECH software
- Electronic medical record EMR software
- Palm OS
- Patient tracking software
- Nursing documentation software
- Patient scheduling software
- Supply documentation software
- Surgery workflow communication software
Becoming a Surgical Assistant
What education is needed to be a Surgical Assistant?
How Long Does it Take to Become a Surgical Assistant?
Where do Surgical Assistants Work?
The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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