Surgical Technician

Surgical Technician Salary

There are wide variations in surgical technician salary around the globe. However, statistics available show that surgical technicians and technologists are among the best-paid allied health professionals worldwide. Their annual salary can be as high as $80,000 in the U.S. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is welcomed news to those who are seeking to become, or are already, a surgical technician.

surgical tech salaryWhy Surgical Tech Salary Is Generally High

The major reason why surgical tech salary has such a high ceiling is due to the level of training and experience that one is expected to possess. Surgical tech students go through a great deal of classroom instruction and are also required to demonstrate their skills in a clinical setting before being allowed to graduate from surgical tech school.

Being a surgical technician is also demanding and this is reflected by the salary offered by employers. The individual is responsible for performing a wide range of crucial tasks during surgeries, and is also expected to maintain the sterility and safety of both tools and the operating room itself.

Factors That Affect Your Pay

Individuals who pursue education at higher levels through surgical tech schools can find employment with various companies around the globe. The top recruiters of surgical tech graduates are referral hospitals. Referral hospitals are labor intensive and require a steady supply of new employees.


Salaries can vary from one area to another. This variation may also exist among the firms that employ graduates. The actual surgical technician salary offered by a firm depends on several factors such as experience, nature and scope of work, and several other variables.


Previous work experience is a major factor that is normally used in determining surgical technician salary. Proficient technicians earn more money as compared to their inexperienced counterparts. Recruiters usually require that trainees undertake an internship while still in school to boost the trainees’ experience. These internships could be paid or unpaid jobs. There are numerous institutions that provide job placement to trainee technicians. Surgical tech trainees also have opportunities to learn while on working.

Factors That Determine Surgical Tech Salary

surgical technician pay

Maximizing Your Salary

It is critical that newly-certified surgical technicians start boosting their salary early in their careers. This can best be achieved by acquiring additional, specialized certifications. Any person interested in this career, and in earning the best salary possible, can also seek advice from knowledgeable job placement firms.

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Quick Fact
In 2018, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
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*Bureau of Labor Statistics

Working as a Traveling Surgical Tech

Traveling Surgical Technologist
If you are considering a career in the medical field, but are looking for something a little different, you may want to look into working as a traveling surgical tech. Surgical techs only represents a small portion of the allied health sector, but there are plenty of growth opportunities in the field for experienced practitioners. While you will find that many surgical techs complete additional training to become circulating techs or surgical assistants, some go on to specialize in a particular area, such as open-heart or orthopedic surgery, in order to boost their salary potential.  For this reason, one of the hottest trends in the field today is becoming a traveling surgical tech.

What Are Traveling Healthcare Jobs?

Traveling jobs have always held a certain appeal for individuals who have a bit of wanderlust. Likewise, there has always been a need for staffing agencies to find skilled workers to fill vacancies. As hospitals increasingly turn to medical staffing agencies for a job-ready workforce, the demand for experienced health workers continues to rise. Where surgical techs are concerned, the demand is often greatest at small to medium-sized hospitals that need to fill vacancies left by staff on sick leave or maternity leave.

The Pros and Cons of Working as a Traveling Surgical Tech

There are pros and cons to all jobs, and the same goes for traveling surgical tech jobs. Flexibility is one of the biggest advantages to these temporary travel positions. Most agencies offer three- to 12-month contracts. The short duration of these assignments seems an ideal match for those that need employment but do not want full-time jobs. If you sign-up with an agency, and you decide the assignment is not to your liking, you can choose an assignment at a different location at the end of your contract.

The Pros

traveling surgical tech pros and cons

The median wage for a traveling surgical tech job is in-line with industry standards. Generous incentives are available, too. It is not uncommon for agencies to offer sign-on, completion and referral bonuses. A growing number of these agencies also offer furnished housing and food allowance.

For many, the lure of getting paid to work in a variety of settings is an added benefit. As a traveling surgical tech, you have the opportunity to explore new areas across the country. The idea of seeing new places, trying new foods and new patients each day is a reward all its own.

The Cons

The flip-side to this idea is that traveling techs spend much of their time away from family and friends. Moving to a new place can create feelings of anxiety and isolation. Sometimes people have trouble adjusting to new climates. Healthy individuals take up to two weeks to acclimate to new altitudes and temperatures. Coping with atmospheric changes and long shifts can disrupt biological rhythms and work performance.

Making the Choice to be a Traveling Surgical Tech

Traveling surgical tech jobs are not for everyone. Those likely to become traveling surgical techs are those who are open to new experiences fair better than those who desire familiarity. If you are a student working toward your surgical technology certification, you will want to gain as much experience in as many different settings as possible. Medical staffing agencies prefer experienced candidates with a vast working knowledge. If you are currently working as a surgical technician, and you are still not sure about committing to travel, consider jobs that pay per diem. You can work in various locations and be close to home. If you like it, then may want to try becoming a traveling surgical tech and see if you can cure your wanderlust.

Where to Look for Surgical Tech Jobs

After completing your training and exams, now is the perfect time find a surgical tech job. While job hunting can be painful and somewhat degrading, there are plenty of tools and resources that can help avoid a lot of the pain.

Surgical Technician Job Outlook

Surgical technology, like most healthcare occupations, weathers bad economies and other factors that seem to cripple other occupations. In fact, surgical technologists are one of the fastest growing occupations in the healthcare field with a projected growth of 19% until at least 2020. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average median salary for surgical techs in 2010 was $39,920. However, your surgical tech salary will depend on experience, specialty and your location in the country like most healthcare occupations.

Where to Find Surgical Tech Positions

It should not come as a surprise that a vast majority of surgical techs find employment in surgical hospitals but there are positions in outpatient care centers and dentists offices. Below we have listed a number of different ways that can help you land that surgical tech job.

surgical tech jobs

  • Newspaper – It might sound a bit old school, but you would be amazed on the number of healthcare facilities that still rely on the newspaper for their job listings.
  • Online – Besides the big national sites like or, you can look for more localized information like Craigslist. It also doesn’t hurt to just type in “surgical tech jobs” as a keyword in your search engine.
  • School – You will find that most schools and colleges have a job placement service or job boards that can help you start your search.
  • Professional Organizations – The Association of Surgical Technologies has a great site that offers a lot of information, but most important to you is their job board. You can also join surgical tech groups on which at times will announce job openings.
  • Head Hunters – There is headhunters specializing in healthcare such as and
  • Hospital and Healthcare Websites – Look through the career centers at local healthcare facilities to see if there any listed openings in your area.
  • Surgical Techs – Another good place to go is other surgical techs including your former classmates. Someone might know of a job opening or keep you in mind if they hear of an opening.
  • Job Fairs – Keep an eye out for local job fairs, especially those dealing with the healthcare industry. Talking to the recruiters is a great way to get your name out there.

Hopefully these tips on finding a surgical tech job will help you out. While there is no sure way path to finding a job, at least you know that your position is in demand and have the tools and resources to better your chances. Good luck on your search!

How to Become a Surgical Tech

Those choosing to become a surgical tech are potentially looking at a very rewarding career, especially for those with the acumen for science and medicine. You will find yourself in the thick of things when it comes to helping surgeons perform their duties properly and will be part of a very important team when it comes to saving lives.

What Does a Surgical Tech Do?How to Become A Surgical Tech

A surgical tech, also known as a surgical technologist, is a trained professional with either a certification or associate’s degree from an accredited program. As a member of the surgical team, he or she is a valued member whose job starts before the surgery and ends well after it has been completed.

The technician helps set up the operating room and all of the equipment and instruments before the operation begins, and also makes sure all of the equipment is working properly and the room is disinfected and sterile. They are also responsible for preparing the patient for surgery by cleaning and positioning the sterile drapes.

During the surgery, surgical techs will hand the instruments and any supplies to the surgeon and first assistants. An experienced individual will anticipate what is needed at certain times and will be ready for anything that may pop-up during the operation. The technician will also be in charge of helping monitor vital signs and keeping a record of the operation and treatment.

After the surgery, you will find surgical techs restocking the operating room and cleaning and sterilizing the room and equipment for another day. They are also tasked with helping transport the patient to the recovery room. It is safe to say that they are probably some of the busiest members of the surgical team.

How to Choose the Right Program

Choosing the right school is largely a personal process that requires the student to have a firm understanding of his or her needs. Knowing how much time you can devote to schooling and how much can you afford for tuition. Finally, you have to decide whether or not you would like to attend one of the many fine and accredited online classes or attend a traditional on-campus program. If you find a surgical technology program can satisfy all of your personal needs in these areas, then it is certainly worthy of your consideration.

Becoming a Surgical Technician or Technologist

One of the first steps to becoming a surgical tech is finding an accredited surgical tech program for you to attend. You will find these programs in a number of different types of schools such as vo-tech, community colleges, traditional colleges and online schools. Just make sure that it has been accredited by the Commission of Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Different types of accredited surgical tech programs may offer certificates or you may go for your associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree.

In order to enroll in an accredited surgical tech program, you will need to have at least a high school diploma or an equivalent degree. Some programs may have requirements such as an entrance exam or an interview. It is best to talk to the admissions department of any school or program you are interested in to find out what exactly they require for entrance.

Your education will be split up between classroom lessons and lab or clinical practicum. In the classroom you will going over an array of medically relevant topics such as physiology, medical terminology, medical ethics, chemistry, math, anatomy and patient care to name a few. This part of the program is teaching you the theories of medical practice that will be necessary not only for your exam but also for your practical experience working as a surgical tech.

A crucial component of any surgical tech training is the clinical work experience. Tech trainees enter clinics or hospitals as externs in order to gain hands-on work experience. Most programs have relationships with hospitals to make externships easier to acquire. They observe surgeons during operations and perform tech duties under the supervision of the surgeon.

This hand on work will help set the long term career future for surgical techs. A tech trainee will learn about tools and instruments used during an operation procedure as well as the proper sterilization techniques that help prevent infections. Students will learn the value of medications and drugs needed in the course of the surgery.

Taking the Certification Exam

After you graduate from the surgical tech program, you will need to take the certification exam that is administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) in order to work and hold the profession title of “certified surgical technologist”.

The exam consists of three areas; Perioperative Care, Additional Duties and Basic Science. Each of these topic areas are composed of questions based on recall, application and analysis. If you paid attention in class and in your externship, you should not run in too much trouble during this exam. However, it is advised that you try some practice tests and study so that you will be able to pass the exam without much worry. It is better to know the information rather than worry if you do know it.

After you have passed your exam and gained your new professional title of Certified Surgical Technologist. You will soon be making a difference in other people’s lives as a successful surgical tech. When you came to this page, you were wondering how you could become a surgical tech and now you have a greater understanding. Hopefully you will fully consider this profession as it is an important one with lots of opportunity.

What Is A Surgical Tech?

What is a surgical tech?” you ask? They’re one of the most important people in the operating room!

Most patients are under the rather mistaken notion that it’s all up their surgeon to determine their fate. If things go very well, the patients shower the doctor with many praises high fives, thanks, and even gifts. Yes – the surgeons are the key players in any surgery. However, this is no one-man team.

Every surgery needs a team: the surgeon, residents, anesthesiologist, scrub nurses and of course, the surgical tech. If you don’t know much about them, you’re not alone. Even though they work in the operating room with the same, ultimate purpose of saving lives, rarely they are noticed.

what is a surgical techAlright, So What Is A Surgical Tech?

Technically speaking, a surgical tech (known also as a scrub tech or surgical technician) is an allied health professional that is also a member of the team in any surgery, at least in some countries. Although not recognized by some states, a surgical technician is actually just as important as the surgeon. His/her job is to try to anticipate the surgeon’s next move so the procedure goes by smoothly and according to plan.

Where Do They Work?

Aside from private and public hospitals, surgical techs are also hired by dentists, private clinics, insurance companies and other health-related institutions.

What Jobs Are They Expected To Do?

Usually, they start out with simple cases and progress to more complex ones. The tasks given to surgical technicians usually vary by country. For instance, in the United States, they can work as unlicensed personnel but only under supervision of a medical doctor or registered nurse. Again, their job is to make sure that the equipment is working properly and that the operating room is conducive for the patient’s safety. However, they can also handle tasks such as closing incisions and checking the patient’s charts.

Generally, surgical technicians are some of the busiest members of a surgical team. They have to be present before, during and after the surgery. Before any surgery, surgical techs have to check on the equipment, sterilize the tools to be used, and do additional checking of the operating room. Surgical techs are also the ones who fetch the patient from his/her room, position him/her on the operating table, and check the vital signs and chart. The surgical tech also helps the other team members put on their masks, gowns and gloves.

During the operation, the surgical tech has to remain focused since it is his job to pass instruments. After the procedure, the surgical tech makes sure everything is back to its rightful place in the operating room, ready for the next procedure.

How Do I Become A Surgical Technician?

Those who want to be a surgeon but never liked the long wait can opt to become a surgical tech instead. Surgical tech schools and even the military can offer you a diploma, certificate or even an Associate’s Degree within a span of 9-24 months. Among these, a certification is most important in the eyes of most employers.

The next time you undergo a procedure, remember to thank the surgical technician too! Just like surgeons, these surgical techs helped save your life.

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Quick Fact
In 2018, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma.*
*Bureau of Labor Statistics