What is a Surgical Technologist
A surgical technologist (also known as Certified Surgical Technologist, Surgical Technician, OR Tech, Surgical Scrub Technologist, Scrub Tech, or just “Scrub”) is someone who helps as part of a team delivering surgical care. They have specific knowledge of sterile and aseptic techniques, and aim to predict or anticipate the next action of the surgeon in order to make a surgery as smooth and easy as possible. They also seek to ensure that the operating environment is safe for both the surgical team and the patient, and that all equipment is operating normally. For information on how to become a surgical technologist, please visit our surgical technologist job description page.
Surgical technicians work in a clean, sterile environment that is well lit and cool. They are occasionally exposed to potentially communicable diseases, and may need to witness unpleasant sights, odors, and bodily materials.
Surgical technicians also find themselves standing for long periods of time. As a surgery may take several hours, they will need to be alert and ready for anything during that extended period, sometimes as long as 12 hours.
As the position is tethered to surgical care, surgical technologists find themselves working in any milieu where surgery is necessary; this may include emergency hospitals, outpatient centers, dental offices, or other medical care facilities.
The work schedule for a surgical technologist is highly variable. While normal scheduling in a hospital will include day shifts (often from 7am-3:30pm), night shifts (from 3-11pm), or a swing shift (11pm-7am), one can be on call for emergency situations; it is highly dependent on how many in a surgical technologist team are working at the time, what emergencies arise, and how many technicians are needed, so in a crisis, one can be called in to work.
Mean Annual Surgical Technologist Salary
The average annual surgical technologist salary is $43,480. The average salary is calculated by adding all the wages within the occupation and divid that value by the total number of employees. Lowest 10% of this occupation makes less than $29,710 and the top 10% makes over $60,240.
Surgical Technologist Salary: Quick Summary
|2012 Mean Salary||$43,480 per year
$20.91 per hour
|Top 10% Salary||$60,240 per year
$28.96 per hour
|Bottom 10% Salary||$29,710 per year
$14.92 per hour
|Number of Jobs, 2012||97,150|
Surgical Technologist Job Outlook and Prospects
Job outlook is looking rather promising for surgical technologists in the coming years. At 30 percent increase by year 2022, this occupation is ranked among one of the fastest growing health care jobs. Advancement in medical technology and an increasing population of baby boomers are the key factors contributing to the rising demand for surgical technologists. Better hospital equipments allows for cleaner and safer surgeries which in turn promotes more operations being carried out. Hospitals are also more likely to hire surgical technologists, as the cost to the hospital is less than hiring registered nurses.
Job opportunities are best for surgical technologists for have completed their education through an accredited program.
Surgical Technologist Salary: Factors of Influence
Experience, training/specialization, and geographic location are the main factors affecting surgical technologist salary, as they are with many careers. While there are many trained in surgical technology, however, salary will also depend on market forces; where there is a shortage, salaries will rise, and where there is a surplus, salaries will lower.
The average annual surgical technologist salary is $43,480, with a potential fluctuation between $18,000 and $70,000.
Education and Specialization
A surgical tech program can last between several months and two years. A more intensive program will bring increased knowledge and capability, making one a more desirable candidate and increasing potential salary.
There are numerous areas for specialty, as well; among them, urology, plastics, orthopedics, neurology, and cardiovascular specialties are potential areas of focus, as well as general surgery. Each of these specialties will bring particular salary increases, depending on the area of the surgical industry worked.
Surgical technicians can also be certified in some or many of the above-mentioned specialties, or seek other medical certification, increasing their value in the surgery.
Experience and Position
Experience is one of the primary factors influencing surgical technologist salary, as is common for many areas of employment. While many employers seek at least one year’s experience for hiring, further years of experience will bring commensurate salary increases.
Position is a minor area for salary consideration. While a surgical technologist will work as part of a team of technologists, and as part of a team in the surgery, often they work entirely beneath the surgeon. However, a group of surgical technologists will need a manager, and in some cases, a surgery may need a lead technician working under the surgeon.
The salary differences in the industry, while present, are not as significant as other areas. While there is a nearly $10,000 difference in salaries depending on the industry worked, this difference is centered around the overall average, meaning one can expect between $40,000 and $50,000, regardless of the industry worked.
Offices of Health Practitioners offer the best salary, at an average of $51,900; Individual and Family Services follows this at $50,830.
The geographic location worked is perhaps the main area affecting surgical technologist salary. The best states to seek employment are California, offering an average of $54,750; Nevada, at $53,990; and Alaska with $53,640 per year. Hawaii and Connecticut follow closely, at $53,440 and $52,830, respectively.
Of these, metropolitan areas will offer further salary inroads. This is particularly true in California, with all but two of the top ten metropolitan salaries being centered there. Vallejo-Fairfield leads this pack, offering an average annual salary of $70,520.
Surgical Technologist Salary: Top 5
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas
Top Paying States
Top Paying Industries
States with Highest Employment Level
|Vallejo-Fairfield, CA: $70,520||California: $54,750||Offices of Other Health Care Practitioners: $51,900||Texas: (9,720 jobs) $42,940|
|Oakland, CA: $67,210||Nevada: $53,990||Individual and Family Services: $50,830||California: (9,250 jobs) $54,750|
|San Jose, CA: $62,640||Alaska: $53,640||Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools: $49,620||Florida: (6,440 jobs) $38,720|
|Sacramento, CA: $62,220||Hawaii: $53,440||Employment Services: $48,340||New York: (5,060 jobs) $46,640|
|San Francisco, CA: $61,690||Connecticut: $52,830||Specialty Hospitals: $48,060||Ohio: (3,710 jobs) $41,510|