Surgical Technologists
Sterile Processing Technicians

With current surgical technologists in Western Massachusetts retiring, an increase in outpatient surgery, and a new regional cardiac care center, demand for surgical technologists is increasing. Along with this, local schools and employers are creating opportunities for workers to gain entry-level experience as a sterile processing technician. 

Surgical technologists work as part of a surgical team in the operating room, assisting surgeons, registered nurses, and other surgical personnel. Surgical technologists also interact with patients, preparing them for surgery or assisting them after surgery. 

Surgical technologists:

  • Keep patients safe by ensuring that the operating room is safe and sterile, that equipment works properly, and that procedures are followed
  • Care for patients before and during the procedure by washing, shaving, and disinfecting incision sites, transporting patients to the operating room, and monitoring vital signs
  •  Make sure the operating room runs smoothly by cleaning the room, restocking supplies and inspecting and maintaining equipment

Sterile processing technicians serve as the behind-the-scenes backbone of the operating room, sterilizing surgical equipment and assembling surgical tools and supplies. This is helpful experience to prepare to become a surgical technician, or for clinical lab or medical office careers. Sterile processing technicians do not interact with patients. They are also known as medical equipment preparers and experience as a sterile processing tech may also lead to a career in a medical equipment company.

Employment opportunities for surgical technologists and sterile processing technicians can be found in:

Education and training requirements
A certificate training program or two-year associate’s degree is required to become a surgical technologist.  

Sterile processing technician positions require a high school diploma or GED and on-the-job training, but you can also take a course at a local community college to help prepare you for this work, or can enroll in a certificate program.

Surgical technologists and sterile processing technicians are expected to have:

  • Up-to-date knowledge of types of surgical tools and equipment
  • Understanding of safety procedures and sterilization techniques
  • Strong attention to detail and accuracy
  • The ability to multitask and to work as part of a team



Surge Tech Fast Facts

  • Workers in Pioneer Valley: 180
  • Education Requirements: Associates Degree
  • Entry Level Wage: $18/hour
  • Experienced Wage: $28/hour
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Sterile Processing Fast Facts

  • Education Requirements: High school degree
  • Entry Level Wage: not available