Surgical Technician Salary Guide
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Surgical Technician Salary Guide

Jun 07, 2010

When you are researching a new career it is a good idea to find out whether it pays well. After all, the last thing you want is to spend two years of studying only to find out that you will make barely above minimum wage, right? So take some time to find out whether becoming a surgical technician is right for you, and whether you can live with the pay, or if you want to take a different route.

How much you can earn as a surgical technician depends on several factors. One factor is where you work. Certain cities pay more for surgical technicians than others, although this usually means that there is a similar difference in the cost of living. For example, if you work in San Francisco you can expect to earn around $53,000 – but if you head to a less populous area like Bakersfield you can only expect around $39,000. Decide how much you need to earn in order to live comfortably. You can always choose to commute a little further if you want to make more, but pay less.

Another factor affecting salary is whether you specialize in a particular field. Most surgical technicians will simply train for generic surgeries and be part of the masses, but that doesn’t have to be you. You can increase your employability by taking extra training in a specific area, such as pediatrics or cardiology. This is a choice you can make after you’ve already started as a surgical technician, as there are many night school classes available for surgical technicians to increase their expertise.

As a beginner surgical technician you can likely expect to earn from $12-17 per hour, but as you gain experience your average salary will increase. After five years the average salary for a surgical technician increases by about three dollars per hour, or more. The more experience you have, the more you get paid, so hang in there!

If you want to increase your knowledge and your value to your employer you may want to consider taking a few more months to study – and then you can become certified as a surgical technologist, although many times the two job titles are used interchangeably. Check out jobs in your area and find out if there is a significant pay difference between surgical technicians and surgical technologists, and then decide which direction you want to take.

Finally, where exactly you work has an effect on how much you can expect in salary. Those who work in dentist’s offices as surgical technicians earn the least, averaging $36,380 per year. Those who work in major hospitals earn a bit more at an average of $38,640 per year. If you work in a specialty hospital you can earn around $40,880 per year. However, in order to get the good jobs you either need specialty training, more experience, or really good grades. There’s no reason why you can’t start in a hospital as your first surgical technician job and then work your way up.

Whether you are looking for your first career, or your fifth, being a surgical technician is a good choice. It is challenging, lets you help people, and the wage is pretty good. There’s no doubt that in a few years there will be a large increase in the need for surgical technicians, and you can be at the forefront. Get started today, and in just one or two years you’ll be ready for a great new career that is definitely worth all the effort and research. Now get to it!

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