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How much do surgical techs make?
Surgical technologists, also known as surgical technicians or operating room techs, play a vital role in healthcare by assisting in surgical operations. As interest in this career continues to grow, many prospective surgical techs wonder – how much do surgical techs make? Here’s an overview of typical surgical technologist salary data:
- The average annual salary for surgical techs is $51,510 per year or $24.77 per hour, according to latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
- Entry-level surgical techs with less than 1 year of experience can expect to earn an average base pay of $41,000 annually or $19.71 hourly.
- Experienced surgical techs with 5-10 years of experience can earn around $58,000 annually or $27.88 per hour.
- Surgical techs with 10-20 years of experience can make an average salary of $68,000 annually or $32.69 hourly.
- The top 10% of surgical technologists earn over $73,000 annually or $35.13 hourly.
- Some of the top paying states for surgical technologists include California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Washington, and Nevada, where average salaries range from $55,000 – $65,000 annually.
- Major metropolitan cities including San Francisco, San Jose, Boston, Seattle, and San Diego also offer high surgical tech salaries averaging $60,000+ per year.
- Hospitals and medical centers tend to offer the highest paying salaries for surgical technologists compared to clinics, physicians’ offices, and ambulatory centers.
What factors affect Surgical Technologist salary?
Surgical tech salaries can vary significantly based on factors like:
- Geographic location – Region and cost of living play a major role in salary ranges. Surgical techs earn the highest salaries in metropolitan areas on the coasts with higher costs of living.
- Years of experience – As surgical techs gain more on-the-job expertise, their salaries increase substantially. The most experienced techs can make 20-30% higher salaries.
- Industry – Techs in hospital settings and medical centers typically make more than those in physicians’ offices and outpatient clinics.
- Employment setting – Salaries are higher for techs working in private and group practice settings vs. public and government hospitals.
- Overtime – Surgical techs frequently work longer shifts with overtime pay which increases total compensation.
- Specialization – Techs who specialize in niche surgical areas can demand higher pay.
- Certification – Techs who earn professional credentials like CST tend to earn higher salaries than non-certified techs.
Average Surgical Technologist Salary by State
Top-Paying States for Surgical Technologists
The top-paying states for surgical techs based on average salaries are:
- California – $64,260
- Hawaii – $62,550
- Massachusetts – $61,340
- Washington – $60,620
- Nevada – $59,450
- Oregon – $58,680
- Minnesota – $58,220
- Alaska – $57,750
- New York – $57,740
- Connecticut – $57,720
List of States with Hourly and Annual Median Salary for Surgical Techs
|State||Hourly Median Salary||Annual Median Salary|
Average Surgical Technician Salary by City
Top-Paying Cities for Surgical Technicians
The major cities with the highest average salaries for surgical technologists are:
- San Francisco, CA – $77,120
- Vallejo, CA – $76,300
- San Jose, CA – $75,600
- Santa Rosa, CA – $69,650
- Boston, MA – $67,900
- Salinas, CA – $67,270
- Seattle, WA – $66,210
- Fairfield, CA – $65,250
- Napa, CA – $64,270
- San Diego, CA – $63,750
List of Cities with Median Hourly and Annual Salary for Surgical Technologists
|City||Hourly Median Salary||Annual Median Salary|
|El Paso, TX||$21.79||$45,320|
|Fort Worth, TX||$24.32||$50,580|
|Kansas City, MO||$22.37||$46,530|
|Las Vegas, NV||$29.62||$61,600|
|Los Angeles, CA||$33.65||$70,000|
|New Orleans, LA||$20.67||$42,990|
|New York, NY||$32.11||$66,790|
|Oklahoma City, OK||$22.24||$46,260|
|San Antonio, TX||$24.04||$50,010|
|San Diego, CA||$30.58||$63,750|
|San Francisco, CA||$37.11||$77,120|
|San Jose, CA||$36.73||$76,390|
|St. Louis, MO||$23.40||$48,660|
Cost of Living Considerations
It’s important to factor in cost of living when comparing surgical technician salaries between different cities and metro areas. While salaries may appear higher in large coastal cities like San Francisco and New York City, the higher costs of housing, goods, and services can offset the wage difference. Cities with lower costs of living but still solid surgical tech pay include Houston, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Richmond.
Average Surgical Tech Salary by Industry
Surgical technologists work in a variety of healthcare and medical settings. Here is a comparison of average annual salaries by top industry:
|Industry||Average Annual Salary|
|Outpatient Care Centers||$52,500|
|Medical Device and Supplies Manufacturing||$48,430|
|Federal Executive Branch||$47,010|
|Colleges and Universities||$44,690|
Surgical techs tend to earn the highest salaries working in hospital settings, particularly privately owned hospitals and medical centers. Salaries are lower on average in ambulatory surgery centers, physicians’ offices, clinics, and other outpatient facilities. Those employed by the government and public sector also make somewhat lower salaries than the private sector.
Job Responsibilities and Work Environment of Surgical Technicians
Surgical technologists support surgical teams by preparing operating rooms, equipment, instruments, and supplies ahead of procedures. During surgery, they work under the supervision of surgeons and nurses to pass necessary tools and carry out key tasks like holding retractors, cutting sutures, and handling specimens. Surgical techs must have in-depth knowledge of human anatomy, medical terminology, patient safety protocols, and surgical procedures to work efficiently in fast-paced hospital environments.
Most surgical technicians are employed in hospital operating and surgical rooms. This requires standing for long periods and the ability to remain focused despite noise and distractions. Surgical techs wear protective gear like masks, gloves, gowns, and eyewear to prevent exposure to pathogens. Some surgical techs choose to specialize in disciplines like orthopedics, cardiothoracics, neurology, or urology. Others advance into roles managing operating room personnel and procedures.
Job Outlook and Career Opportunities for Surgical Technologists
Job Growth Projections for Surgical Technologists
Employment for surgical technologists is projected to grow 7% from 2021-2031, according to the BLS – faster than the average for all occupations. An aging population requiring more surgical procedures, advances in medical technology, and expanded access to healthcare are all contributing factors. Positions for certified surgical techs in particular are expected to see robust growth.
Emerging Specialties and Technologies in Surgical Tech
Surgical techs need to stay up-to-date on emerging surgical specialties and new technology. For example, robotics and laser technology are increasingly being used for minimally invasive surgeries. Surgical techs with training in these new modalities will be favorably positioned. Other high-demand specialties include pediatric surgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and geriatric surgery.
Advancement Opportunities and Career Paths for Surgical Technicians
With additional training and education, surgical techs may choose to advance into roles such as:
- Surgical first assistant – assists surgeons directly with tissue and closure.
- Certified surgical assistant – handles pre-op and post-op patient care.
- Surgical nurse – works closely with surgical staff as RN.
- Operating room manager – oversees OR processes and team.
- Medical equipment sales representative – leverages expertise to sell/train on new devices.
- Educator – helps train new surgical techs by instructing courses.
Conclusion: Is a Career as a Surgical Technologist Right for You?
Recap of Key Points
- Surgical techs earn median pay of over $50,000 annually, with top 10% earning over $73,000.
- Years of experience, location, facility type, and credentials impact surgical tech salary ranges significantly.
- Job growth is projected to be faster than average over the next decade due to healthcare demands.
- Surgical techs can advance into leadership, sales, instruction, and surgical assisting roles.
Resources for Further Exploration
Those interested in learning more about a career as a surgical technologist can explore the following resources:
- National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting – Certification program for surgical techs
- Association of Surgical Technologists – Professional association providing education and standards
- American Medical Technologists – Certifying agency for healthcare professionals
- Accredited surgical tech training programs – Offer associate degrees and certificates
With strong projected job growth and stable salaries, a career as a certified surgical technologist can be rewarding for those interested in working closely with surgeons in operating room environments. This career guide provides key compensation data to help prospective surgical techs make informed decisions about their future in this essential healthcare profession.