How Much Does a Surgical Tech Make?

If you’re interested in becoming a surgical tech, you’re probably wondering how much you can expect to earn. Here’s a look at what surgical techs make, on average, in the United States.

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Job Description

A surgical technologist, also called a scrub tech, works closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, and registered nurses to ensure a successful and safe surgery. Surgical technologists are an important part of the surgical team. They prepare the operating room and sterile instruments, and they also may assist during the surgery.

Duties of a surgical tech

A surgical technologist, also called a scrub tech, is an allied health professional who works closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, registered nurses and other surgical personnel during medical procedures. Surgical technologists typically complete a postsecondary educational program in surgical technology and must earn certification from the Liaison Council on Certification for the Surgical Technologist (LCC-ST). Most states regulate surgical technologists through licensure or registration.

Surgical technologists have many responsibilities, including preparing operating rooms for surgery, sterilizing equipment and instruments, setting up drapes and sterile fields, selecting and opening sterile supplies, passing instruments to surgeons during operations and holding retractors. Surgical techs also may apply dressings to incisions and wounds and help transfer patients to recovery rooms after surgery.

Education and training requirements

Most surgical tech programs are between 1-2 years in length and lead to a certificate or an Associate’s degree. Programs typically include classroom work and clinical hands-on experience. Some schools offer surgical tech programs that can be completed in as little as 9 months.

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In order to become a surgical technologist, one must complete an accredited education program and pass a certification examination. Although not required, many employers prefer to hire certified surgical technologists. To be eligible for certification, an individual must have graduated from an accredited surgical technology program and completed a minimum number of supervised work hours.


A surgical tech’s salary can vary based on experience, location, and other factors. The average salary for a surgical tech is $47,000 per year. However, salaries can range from $41,000 to $53,000 per year. The lowest 10% of surgical techs make less than $41,000 per year, and the highest 10% of surgical techs make more than $53,000 per year.

National average salary

Surgical techs in the United States make a median salary of $46,000 per year, with the top half of surgical techs making more than $56,000 per year and the bottom half making less than $37,000 per year. The top 10% of surgical techs make more than $67,000 per year, while the bottom 10% make less than $28,000 per year.

Salary by state

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $94,000 and as low as $20,000, the majority of Surgical Tech salaries currently range between $40,000 (25th percentile) to $60,000 (75th percentile) across the United States.

The average pay range for a Surgical Tech varies modestly (up to $20,000), which suggests there may be fewer opportunities for advancement based on skill level, but increased pay based on location and years of experience is still possible.

Based on recent job postings on ZipRecruiter, the Surgical Tech job market in both Chicago, IL and the surrounding area is very active. People working as a Surgical Tech in your area are making on average $53 per hour or the same as the national average hourly salary of $53. ranks number 1 out of 50 states nationwide for Surgical Tech salaries.

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Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for surgical techs is good. The median annual salary for surgical techs was $47,300 in May 2016. The BLS projects that employment of surgical techs will grow by 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Employment projections

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of surgical technologists is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations at least through 2026. A number of factors are expected to lead to this growth, including an aging population, as older adults are more likely than younger ones to need surgical procedures.

In addition, advances in medical technology are resulting in a greater number of complex surgical procedures that require highly skilled surgical technologists. The average annual salary for a surgical technologist was $47,300 in 2017, according to the BLS.

Growth rate

The job outlook for surgical techs is very good, with a projected growth rate of 30% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. An aging population and advances in medical technology are expected to lead to an increased demand for surgical procedures.

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