Most surgical technologists — about 60 percent in the United States — work in hospitals, mainly in operating and delivery rooms. Surgical technologist are also adaptive to deal with equipment handling, as handling a C-arm flouroscope in angioplasty and orthopedics and in many other departments as well. A surgical technologist with multiple experiences is preferred. Other jobs are in offices of physicians or dentists who perform outpatient surgery and in outpatient care centers, including ambulatory surgery centers. In the US, depending on the role and employment setting, they may go by different titles including Scrub Surgical Technologist, Circulating Surgical Technologist or Second Assisting Technologist. A few technologists in private practice (also called 'private scrubs') are employed directly by surgeons who have special surgical teams, like those for liver transplants.
Career prospects for surgical technologists are expected to grow in the coming years. According to the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics, employment of surgical technologists is expected to grow in that country by 39 percent between 2006 and 2016, much faster than the average for all occupations. This trend is related to the expected rise in the number of surgical procedures performed, as the population grows and ages. Older people, including the baby boom generation, who generally require more surgical procedures, will account for a larger portion of the general population. In addition, technological advances, such as fiber optics and laser technology, will permit an increasing number of new surgical procedures to be performed and also will allow surgical technologists to assist with a greater number of procedures.
The programs accredited by ARC/STSA (Accreditation Review Committee for Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting) (formerly ARC-ST) are monitored for compliance with the standards. The ARC/STSA and AST board of directors recommends the associate’s degree as entry level surgical technology education. With additional education and training, some surgical technologists function in the role of surgical first assistant.
Today, surgical technologists taking and passing the national certification examination designed by the NBSTSA earn the title of "certified surgical technologist." Certification can be renewed by contact hours or re-examination. Laws for surgical technologists vary by state, and many states are in various stages of legislation. Some require certification, some require state registration, some require state licensure and some have no laws at all.