Surgical Assistants
Sign In
Speciality
Overview
Customize information shown
Assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons. May, in accordance with state laws, help surgeons to make incisions and close surgical sites, manipulate or remove tissues, implant surgical devices or drains, suction the surgical site, place catheters, clamp or cauterize vessels or tissue, and apply dressings to surgical site.
Titles for this career often contain these words
MidwifeCertifiedLicensedProfessionalStaffCoordinatorBirthTechnicianHealthDirectEntryDirectorCenterDoulaCentralSupplyChildAssociateMidwiferyDrugExtracorporealServiceHomebirthKineseologistLayMedicalConsultantOwnerPheresisSpecialistPodiatricatApprenticeshipTraditionalChineseHerbalistTransplantUtilizationReview
Education
About 66% of specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers have bachelor's degrees than 77% of other careeers.
Employment
Workforce size
Surgical assistants, with 36,600 workers, form a smaller workforce than 61% of careers.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for surgical assistants are expected to grow by 10%, and should have about 2,500 job openings a year.
Salaries
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for health information technologists, medical registrars, surgical assistants, and healthcare practitioners and technical workers, all other compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most health information technologists, medical registrars, surgical assistants, and healthcare practitioners and technical workers, all other earn.
$50K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Gender
Women account for 62% of specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers -- that's a larger percentage than 74% of other jobs.
Gender of specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers, the median men's salary was 16% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 22% of specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers are minority, and 11% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (11%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Surgical Assistants per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
AKMEWIVTNHWAIDMTNDMNILMINYMAORUTWYSDIAINOHPANJCTRICANVCONEMOKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Benefits
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Context: Employer offers a pension plan
Context: workers are union members
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of surgical assistants who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Consequence of Error (98%)
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections (65%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (49%)
  • Time Pressure (38%)
SOURCES:
Salary and diversity
What do specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries at the specialty level (surgical assistants). This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for surgical assistants (BLS Salary Data)
$50K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$50K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers. This view of salaries is only available for all specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers.
Distribution: Salaries for specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers (ACS Salary Data)
$51K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$51K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Health Technologists and Technicians: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $37KAll jobs' median $45K$37K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire surgical assistants.
Employers of Specialized Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Workers (ACS)
Private for-profit (55.8%)
Private not-for-profit (16.6%)
Local government (8.4%)
State government (9.4%)
Federal government (6.4%)
Self-employed incorporated (1.6%)
Self-employed not incorporated (1.8%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses. These salaries were reported for the larger career group of specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers, which combines the 5 specialties for this career.
$51K$50K$53K$53K$50K$63K$45K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000Self-employed not incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of surgical assistants by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS. Remember that the BLS salaries are for the specialty surgical assistants, and may differ signficantly from the ACS salary estimates which combine several career specialties.
$50K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000$120,000All

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
$55K$43K$62K$57K$47K$64K$59K$58K$30K$0$50K$100K$150K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
Number employed
02K4K6K8K10K12K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers and gender

With 62% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 74% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
62%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers
Men (38%)
Women (62%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%. The situation is a little better for specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers, with the median salary for men 16% higher than the median salary for women.

$48K$56K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men.

16%0%20%40%60%80%100%

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. There is a higher percentage of minority specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers than for 55% of other careers. While this career employs many minorities, it employs a relatively small number of foreign-born people.

Race/origin of specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers
White (76% )
Black (13% )
Asian (5% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (2% )
American Indian (1% )
Hispanic (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
22%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
11%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$47K$47K$51K$51K$53K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KMultiracialBlackHispanicAsianWhite
Distribution: Salaries for specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers by nativity
$51K$52K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KAll native citizensAll foreign-born

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 14% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 55% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
14%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
School/training
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers is shown following.

$18K$51K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by surgical assistants

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), surgical assistants typically hold a postsecondary nondegree award.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Education attained by specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers? Below we see the distribution of specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers salaries based on the education attained.

$38K$42K$42K$42K$51K$60K$65K$83K$0$50K$100K$150KNone (1%)High School (7%)Some College (15%)Associate's/Cert. (10%)Bachelor's Degree (33%)Master's Degree (29%)Professional Degree (2%)Doctorate (2%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

College majors held by specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers

This table shows the college majors held by people working as specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Percentage of Specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
The link between degrees and careers

With the following sankey diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. We hope this provides ideas for similar jobs and similar fields of study.

Physical TherapistsOccupational TherapistsSpecialized TherapistsMedical and Health Servic...Physician AssistantsPhysiciansRegistered NursesSpecialized Healthcare Pr...Elementary and Middle Sch...Postsecondary TeachersSpecialized ManagersDentistsSpecialized Physical Scie...Specialized Life Scientis...Medical and Clinical Labo...PharmacistsSecondary School TeachersWholesale and Manufacturi...First-Line Supervisors of...Exercise Trainers and Gro...Education and childcare a...Coaches and ScoutsNurse Practitioners and N...Nurse AnesthetistsNursing AssistantsLicensed Practical and Li...Specialized Social Worker...Educational, Guidance, an...Specialized PsychologistsLawyers, and judges, magi...Labor Relations Specialis...Accountants and AuditorsFinancial ManagersChief executives and legi...First-Line Supervisors of...Customer Service Represen...Retail SalespersonsSecretaries and Administr...Treatment TherapyProfessionsBiologyPhysical Fitness, Parks,Recreation, and LeisureNursingPsychologyMultidisciplinary or GeneralScienceBusiness Management andAdministrationGeneral BusinessCommunity and PublicHealthGeneral Medical and HealthServicesAll other degreesThis jobTop 10 majorsEach major's top ten jobs
What college major is your best entry?

About 66% of people working as specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers have at least a bachelor's degree. Each dot represents a college major leading to these jobs, with the dots to the right representing the majors sending the most of their grads into this career. The dots at the top are the majors who earn the most working in this career.

Darker colors have a larger percentage with graduate degreesOverall median salary0.0%2.0%4.0%6.0%8.0%10.0%12.0%14.0%16.0%18.0%Percentage with this major$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000$120,000$140,000$160,000Median salary with this major
Switching Careers
The most common next careers for specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers

What jobs will most specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Health Technologists and TechniciansMedical assistants and other healthcare support occupationsRegistered nursesNursing, psychiatric, and home health aidesPharmacistsMedical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and TechniciansSchool bus monitors and protective service workersRetail Salespersons
Lateral job transitions for specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 5 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers as well as 1% of respondents after working as specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Prior and next careers for specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most surgical assistants? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as surgical assistants. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

One important factor in the differences between ACS and BLS data is that the ACS numbers are for all specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers, comprised of all specialities listed in the menu bar, and you can choose to view the BLS at the specialty or full career level.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Number of Surgical Assistants per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEWIVTNHWAIDMTNDMNILMINYMAORUTWYSDIAINOHPANJCTRICANVCONEMOKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.51.01.5
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where surgical assistants earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information. The ACS salaries are for all specialized healthcare practitioners and technical workers, which combines the specialities from which you can choose at the top of the page.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Location-adjusted median salary for Surgical Assistants (BLS for this specialty)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which surgical assistants earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEWIVTNHWAIDMTNDMNILMINYMAORUTWYSDIAINOHPANJCTRICANVCONEMOKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?