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Surgical Tech Salary Guide

Nov 30, 2022
Amanda Lundberg, RN, BSN

Surgical technicians and technologists are an essential part of an operating room team. The demand for surgical techs is growing as an increase in surgeries are being performed. With the option for as little training as a few months of on-the-job training to an accredited 2-year program, surgical techs are armed with the skills to keep an operating room organized and clean.  

Salaries for surgical techs can vary based on certifications and experience, but the location of the job plays a significant factor. Want to learn all about surgical tech salaries? Read on to find the highest and lowest-paying states along with the job outlook for surgical techs. 

What is the average salary for Surgical Techs?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average in 2021 for surgical techs' yearly salary was $48,510, which breaks down to $23.32 per hour. There is a generous spread in wages, however, with the lowest 10% earning less than $37,930 and the highest 10% earning more than $75,940.  

Surgical techs that specialize in outpatient care centers earn an average of $56,470, compared with hospital employees making $48,310. The demand for surgeries outside of the hospital and in outpatient surgical centers is rising dramatically. 

What are the top-paying states for Surgical Techs?

Geographical locations with greater populations tend to offer higher wage rates. The more amount of people typically means an increase in surgeries being performed. This demand for surgical techs naturally increases wages. The exception to this rule is that less desirable locales can pay a premium wage rate due to the lack of surgical techs. For example, Alaska has one of the highest wage rates at $65,690 but has a much lower population than the highest-paying state of California. 

California tops the charts for the highest-paying state for surgical techs at $68,410 a year. Following this, Alaska, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, and Nevada all offer about $65,000 a year. The top five cities offering the highest pay for surgical techs are all in California. They include San Jose topping the list at $80,450, San Francisco, Vallejo, Sacramento, and Santa Rosa with the least at $74,330. 

What are the lowest-paying states for Surgical Techs?

The states with the lowest salary for surgical techs usually have a very low cost of living. In fact, the three lowest-paying states are part of the top ten states with the lowest cost of living. In Alabama, a surgical tech will on average make $37,850 a year. In West Virginia, the average is $36,930 and in Mississippi it is $37,500 annually.  

Does seasonality impact pay for Surgical Techs?

Other than geographic location as a factor for wage rates, other details can include the type of facility, specialty, or certifications earned. Pay does not fluctuate through the year, however, the demand for surgical techs does spike in the last few months of the year as consumers are hitting their deductible amounts and pursuing more elective surgeries. 

In addition, a recent study highlighted the impact that COVID-19 had on surgeries. Many operating rooms shut down for all elective surgeries in 2020, focusing on immediate needs only. Hospitals were performing about half of the volume of surgeries as in 2019. However, this rate rebounded shortly after the reopening of the nation. 

What is the job outlook like for Surgical Techs?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the growth of surgical tech jobs will increase by 6% in the next ten years, which is consistent with the average growth rate of all national occupations. About 9,600 new surgical tech jobs will be added each year. 

Find a Surgical Tech job with Trusted Health

Becoming a traveling surgical tech is a great way to experience new locations and get paid top dollar. Trusted is now offering allied health jobs, connecting you with the best opportunities in the nation. By offering support along the way, Trusted assists with all aspects of securing your perfect travel assignment as a surgical tech.