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Brief Description and Occupational Outlook

The surgical technologist functions as an integral member of the surgical team working closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, registered nurses, and other surgical personnel (AST 1996). Some of the responsibilities include preparation of the operating room, instruments, supplies and equipment prior to the surgical procedure. During the surgical procedure, the technologist passes instruments, supplies, and suture to the surgeon and surgical assistant. The surgical technologist must maintain strong knowledge of human anatomy, allowing them to anticipate the needs of the surgeon in an ever-changing environment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of surgical technologists is expected to grow 12 percent between 2016 and 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, as the volume of surgeries increases. The number of surgical procedures is expected to continue to rise as the population grows and ages.

In Montana, the average hourly pay for a surgical technologist is approximately $22.26 per hour (AST). The following information is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Mean hourly wage        $23.58
  • Mean annual wage       $49,040

There is also opportunity to earn additional hourly pay with on-call schedules and shift differentials. The certified technologist can work in various environments such as a large trauma center, out-patient surgical center, surgeon’s office, or veterinarian office. After about one year of experience the certified surgical technologist can work as a ‘traveler’ and travel the world with your lodging expenses paid for.


Daisy Gibson, CST
Surgical Technology Program Director
(406) 771-4355
Office R237