Surgical Tech Salary – See How Much Money Is Possible

A surgical tech, who is also called an operating room tech, helps out with surgical procedures. He or she prepares operating rooms for surgery, sterilizes and lays out equipment and instruments, helps to prep patients such as by washing incision sites, and assists surgeons by passing them instruments during the procedures. A surgical tech typically works in hospitals but can be employed in other industries as well. The surgical tech salary varies by workplace and location.

Salary Basics

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 105,720 surgical tech professionals employed in the US make a mean $46,800 a year, or $22.50 an hour.

  • The lowest-paid 10 percent receive less than $31,720 per year or $15.25 hourly.
  • The best paid make over $64,800 a year, or $31.16 an hour.


By Industry

Any industries in which operations are performed can employ a surgical tech. The profession typically demands full-time work although shifts may last over eight hours.

Surgical techs may also be on call during nights, weekends, and holidays.

The industries with the most jobs for a surgical tech and the average surgical technologist pay scale are as follows:

  1. General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: $46,310 per year or $22.26 an hour
  2. Offices of Physicians: $47,770 or $22.97
  3. Outpatient Care Centers: $48,410 or $23.28
  4. Offices of Dentists: $44,570 or $21.43
  5. Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals: $49,320 or $23.71

The industries with the highest salary for a surgical tech are the following:

  1. Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories: $61,300 annually or $29.47 hourly
  2. Employment Services: $52,500 or $25.24
  3. Other Ambulatory Health Care Services : $51,670 or $24.84
  4. Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools: $51,290 or $24.66
  5. Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals: $49,320 or $23.71

Although hospitals and doctor’s office offer the most employment for a surgical tech, the industry with the highest salary consists of medical and diagnostic labs where testing and lab services are contracted out to surgeons and hospitals. Second on the salary list are employment services that locate and hire out surgical tech help to hospitals that either require surgical tech employees or do not have sufficient in-house staff.

By State

The surgical technologist salary varies state.The following reveals the states with the highest employment for the profession and the salary in each location. Not surprisingly, such states have the highest population in the country, which leads to a greater number of surgical procedures that require techs.

  1. Texas: $46,330 per year or $22.28 an hour
  2. California: $59,490 or $28.60
  3. Florida: $42,350 or $20.36
  4. New York: $52,380 or $25.18
  5. Ohio: $42,060 or $20.22

The following shows the states where a surgical tech can earn the best salary.

  1. Nevada: $60,640 annually or $29.15 hourly
  2. California: $59,490 or $28.60
  3. District of Columbia: $55,240 or $26.56
  4. Alaska: $55,200 or $26.54
  5. Washington: $55,000 or $26.44

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics considers the District of Columbia a state for its labor surveys. California is the only state that ranks in the top five for both employment and salary.

By Metropolitan Area

Surgical technician salary differs by metropolitan area.

The following reveals the metro areas with the most jobs or the profession and the salary in each area. Not surprisingly, such cities show the highest population in the country, which leads to more surgical procedures that demand techs.

  1. New York, Jersey City, White Plains at the NY, NJ Metropolitan Division: $54,860 per year or $26.38 per hour
  2. Houston, The Woodlands, Sugar Land in TX: $49,350 or $23.72
  3. Los Angeles, Long Beach, Glendale at the CA Metropolitan Division: $56,640 or $27.23
  4. Boston, Cambridge, Newton at the MA NECTA Division: $52,830 or $25.40
  5. Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Roswell in GA: $44,130 or $21.22

A surgical tech can earn the highest salary in the following metropolitan area, which are all located in California.

  1. San Rafael: $79,020 a year or $37.99 an hour
  2. San Francisco, Redwood City, South San Francisco: $75,450 or $36.27
  3. Vallejo, Fairfield: $72,460 or $34.84
  4. San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara: $68,470 or $32.92
  5. Redding: $65,610 or $31.55

Outlook for Salary and Surgical Tech Jobs

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the surgical tech job market will grow by 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, with an accompanying increase in salary. This compares to a 14 percent increase in employment for all health technologists and technicians, and a 7 percent rise for all occupations in all industries.

Driving the increase is the aging of the baby-boom generation, which usually leads to a higher demand for surgical procedures. More operations lead to more surgical tech jobs.