Being a surgical technician requires a strong character and a keen interest in anatomy because, after all, your job entails watching surgeons cutting into bodies.
You have to pay attention to every move the surgeon and his assistants make, which means you can’t afford to be squeamish, even for a second.
With surgical technician jobs predicted to increase by 17% from 2018 to 2028, you will need a compelling resume when you apply for a new job. So here’s how to write one.
Resume objective for a surgical technician
Surgical tech jobs, commonly referred to as surgical technicians and/or technologists, involve working in surgical theaters of clinics and hospitals.
According to Study.com, the difference between a technologist and a technician is primarily the level of education the person has, not so much what they do.
We scoured job postings to see what education and experience most employers want surgical technicians to have.
We found that the terminology was used interchangeably or shortened to surgical tech. For instance, even though certifications are only available to surgical technologists, jobs advertised for surgical technicians often require certification.
The exception is when employers don’t require certification of surgical techs.
Other terminology used in job postings includes scrubs and operating room (OR) technicians.
So, when you look for jobs, you will need to read the job requirements carefully rather than just relying on the title used for the job posting.
This is why the Indeed Career Guide strongly recommends referencing the job description in your surgical technician resume. They also suggest highlighting any awards, certifications, and skills you have that match the requirements in the advert.
While there is a trend to leave objectives off resumes, Indeed advocates including a headline or summary statement that will communicate your qualifications and goals.
Highly motivated surgical technician with more than three years of experience. Has worked under registered nurses and directly with surgeons. Passionate about caring for patients and ensuring their safety during surgical procedures.
Resume skills for a surgical technician
You are not a surgeon, but your job as a surgical technician is more complex than most people realize.
According to the East Coast Polytechnic Institute, the most important skills are the ability to work in groups, a calm nature, excellent communication skills, dedication and reliability, and a willingness to learn.
You also need to expect the unexpected, and you cannot be squeamish!
You need organizational skills and manual dexterity to perform the job of a surgical technician because you will be in control of all the instruments the surgeon needs, and will have to provide them instantly when needed.
You need to be an active listener and your interpersonal skills are also very important.
It is vital for you to have a thorough knowledge of sterile techniques so that you can provide for the environmental safety of patients.
Medical terminology is an important issue and you will need to understand the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), particularly as it relates to patient confidentiality.
The skills section of any resume is very important and it essential that the skills you include are in keeping with those required to do the job.
Teamwork and people skills | Exceptional patient care | Scrub | Asepsis | Surgical technology | Analysis of information | Diagnostic procedures | Technical understanding | HIPAA | Basic life support | Calm and reliable
Surgical technician work experience
If there is a differentiation in a hospital or clinic situation between surgical technicians and technologists, the technologist is senior and will, by virtue of the position, have an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate.
But what matters here is the work experience you have had and how it relates to the position you are applying for.
As mentioned above, most of the job postings we analyzed mix the job post description, sometimes heading the job Surgical Technician and then talking about the skills and requirements they have for a surgical technologist.
You simply need to be sure that the previous positions you have held are relevant in terms of the work the advertised job wants doing. Only list those that are. If previous jobs don’t relate to a surgical environment or, at very least, a hospital or clinic, don’t include them.
Internships are available for surgical technicians that are enrolled in accredited surgical technology programs. If you have worked as an intern, paid, or unpaid, this position is relevant and should be included.
Sample Work Experience
Parkridge Medical Center, TN
Open Heart Surgical Technician, 2018 – 2020
Provided patients with high quality, efficient care. Assisted with setting up operating rooms, prepared patients for surgery, adjusted lights and equipment, passed instruments and other supplies to surgeons and their assistants.
- Functioned as the primary scrub person during more than 500 open heart operative procedures.
- Frequently commended on my ability to perform technical skills and procedures.
- Assisted in the intra-operative care of patients by performing the technical duties assigned.
- Constantly delivered compassionate, holistic care, and supported the rights and dignity of every single patient.
Frankfort Regional Medical Center, KY
Surgical Technician, 2016 – 2017
Implemented sterile techniques required to prepare surgical cases to ensure that surgical site infection was prevented. Assisted the anesthesia provider with the care of patients during surgical procedures.
- Participated in the “time out” with the surgical team before the start of all procedures.
- Used age-specific guidelines to position patients to promote circulation, respiratory functions, neuromuscular, homeostasis, and patient privacy during surgery.
- Monitored instruments and supplies to ensure sterility.
- Participated in measures to improve productivity and collected data to evaluate outcomes. Productivity increased by 5% during my time at the medical center.
Memorial Health University Medical Center, GA
Surgical Technician, 2015 – 2016
Set up and managed instruments, equipment, and supplies for all surgical procedures. Responsible for maintaining a sterile field while passing instruments to the surgeon during invasive procedures.
- Worked in collaboration with the surgical team under the supervision of a registered nurse.
- Assumed responsibility for the care and safety of perioperative patients, instrumentation, supplies, and equipment during surgical and other invasive and non-invasive procedures.
- Ensured effective communication with the circulator, surgeon, patient, their family, and all other members of the surgical team.
- Used a multi-disciplinary approach to provide coordinated patient-centered care.
Surgical technician education
Some surgical technician jobs are open to applicants with high school diplomas and basic life support and/or cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification.
These are open to entry-level applicants who have no specialized education and training and are generally advertised as jobs for non-certified surgical technicians or surgical techs.
The majority of jobs for both surgical technicians and surgical technologists require applicants to have at least graduated from an approved or accredited surgical technology program.
Some positions are available to applicants who have many (usually about 10) years of experience in the field, rather than formal training and certification. But without a certificate or degree, you won’t ever get certified.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), surgical technologists need a postsecondary non-degree award (a certificate from a relevant program) or an associate’s degree.
Many community colleges, vocational schools, and even universities and hospitals offer accredited programs that range from just a few months to a couple of years.
There are about 500 programs that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Important courses include anatomy, physiology, and microbiology, as well as the care and safety of patients, prevention and control of infections, and sterilization techniques.
Hands-on experience in supervised clinical settings is particularly important.
Surgical Technology Associate in Applied Science, 2017 – 2018
Northcentral Technical College
Surgical Technologist Technical Diploma, 2017
Most jobs offered to surgical technicians and all surgical technologists require some form of certification. And this is only available if you are a graduate of an accredited surgical technology program.
Two bodies responsible for establishing eligibility and accreditation are the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
NBSTSA administers the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST), which is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
The National Commission for the Certification of Surgical Assistant (NCCSA) is an independent certification board that offers the comprehensive Certified Surgical Assistant (CSA) credential. It is open to all graduates of CAAHEP accredited surgical assistant educational programs.
The American Board of Surgical Assistants (ABSA), which offers an American College of Surgeons (ACE) program, allows all graduates to sit for an ABSA-certifying exam for their nationally recognized Surgical Assistant certification (SA-C).
Another common accreditation that is often required is provided by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. To qualify, you need to be a graduate of an ABHES- or CAAHEP-accredited program.
Even if you haven’t completed an accredited program, it is worthwhile sitting for the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Basic Life Support (BLS), Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS), and/or CPR certification exams.
- NBSTSA – CST
- NCCSA – CEP
- ABSA – SA-C
- AHA – BLS
- AHA – CPR
Complete surgical technician resume sample
We selected one of the many job posts we sampled while researching this article. We are going to use it to illustrate how you write a resume tailored to a specific job description.
You will see that the job advertised is for a multi-specialty surgical technician who is a graduate of an accredited surgical technologist program.
The surgical technician (or surgical technologist) must also be certified to perform CPR but doesn’t necessarily need any of the other certifications that are available to graduates.
In addition to the essential functions of the position, a variety of physical and mental demands are specified.
Although there is a section discussing knowledge, skills, and abilities, there isn’t any specific information of what is required. You will need a thorough knowledge of your profession and the skills required when compiling your list of skills.
Multi-Specialty Surgical Technician
Dedicated surgical technician with CPR and CST certification and five years of experience. Anticipates the needs of surgeons and works effectively with the full team. Critical thinking and a passion for patient care and aseptic techniques are paramount.
Patient care | Interpersonal skills | Critical thinking | Decisive judgment | Able to work with minimal supervision | Surgical technology | Physically strong and healthy | Excellent concentration | BLS | CPR | CST
Kaiser Permanente, CA
Surgical Tech, 2019 – 2020
Assisted the surgical team by preparing and organizing the operating room before surgery and passed instruments during surgery. Maintained the OR in an aseptic condition. Assisted with patient care before, during, and after surgery.
- Frequently assisted in controlling hemostasis by applying Bovies to clamps.
- Applied surgical dressings as directed by hospital physicians.
- Commended for consistently anticipating the needs of surgeons and keeping adequate sutures and supplies ready.
- Recognized, responded to, and assisted in multiple emergency situations.
Specialty Surgical Center, Wilshire, CA
Multi-Specialty Surgical Technician, 2017 – 2018
Prepared and maintained medical equipment for surgical procedures and followed hospital regulations and industry procedures when tending to patients during pre-operation procedures. Passed instruments to surgeons during operations.
- Worked in close contact with surgeons, anesthesiologists, registered nurses, and other surgical personnel.
- Helped to prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment.
- Performed preoperative preparations to the patient’s skin, body, and medical equipment.
- Transported patients to operating rooms and helped transfer patients to recovery rooms.
The County of Santa Clara, CA
Surgical Technician, 2016
Assisted with the final preparation of the operating room and/or procedure room before surgery. Handed instruments and surgical supplies to the surgeon during surgery. Performed follow-up procedures after surgery.
- The position required one year of experience as a surgical technician or graduation and certification from an accredited school of Surgical Technology, which I had.
- Assisted in restocking operating and procedure rooms.
- Helped to secure instruments, supplies, and equipment.
- Assigned as a disaster service worker when the Loma Fire (wildfire) broke out in the Santa Cruz Mountains in September 2016.
- Certified Surgical Technologist (CST)
- American Heart Association CPR & BLS (both current)
Certificate of Achievement in Surgical Technology, 2015
A resume is a marketing tool that you should develop to persuade employers you have what it takes for the job they are advertising. It won’t necessarily get you that surgical technician job you really want, but if your resume is well written and compelling, it should get you that all-important interview.
- You don’t have to include an objective, but it’s a good idea to at least include a headline statement that lets recruiters know your goals and qualifications. They want to know what value you will add to the company, or more specifically, the operating room you will be working in.
- Surgical technicians and technologists all need the same skills, but every job description will require more specific skills, even if these aren’t highlighted by the employer. Consider the job posting very carefully and try to marry the skills they want with the skills you have to offer.
- Not every surgical technician job calls for certification, but a large percentage of them do. This means you need specific education and training in an accredited program. Unlike surgeons, you won’t have to study for years and can complete a program in less than a year. It’s worth thinking about if you aren’t already certified.
Tips from Experts
“When you write a resume for a surgical technician be sure to include any honors or awards you have achieved as well as any specialty certification you may have.“ – Jess Dods, Career Coach, Right Choice Careers, LLC
“Surgical technologists play essential roles during surgeries. As a result, you’ll want to showcase the technical skills you’ve learned in your surgical technology training program with a skills-based resume. Skills-based resumes emphasize your training rather than professional experience, which you may not have already. This type of resume could help you land a job interview.” – Harris School of Business advisor
“When you go to a job interview it’s not enough to be confident. You have to know your level of what you can do and what you can achieve. You have to prove to somebody that you know you are the best.” – Illiana, Certified Surgical Technologist
A well-crafted resume is an essential requirement for any job application. You probably have one already, but if you are applying for a new job as a surgical technician you need to tailor your resume to the requirements of the job.
The tips and ideas we have suggested in this article were designed to help you write a compelling resume for a job as a surgical technician. Use them positively and remember that you are the only person who is going to market you for the job.