Travel Surgical Technologist Salary Guide

A certified surgical technologist is an allied health professional who works in the operating room. Job duties include sterilizing equipment, passing tools to the surgeon and other team members, retracting tissue to give the surgeon a better view of the surgical site, applying dressings and maintaining a sterile field. Certified surgical technologists also prepare patients for surgery, which typically involves cleaning and disinfecting the operative site to prevent infection. Experienced certified surgical technologists may specialize in cardiology, neurology or other disciplines.

How do you become a certified surgical technologist?

To become a certified surgical technologist, you must complete a 12-month certificate or a 2-year associate degree in surgical technology. Program requirements vary by school, but you should expect to take classes in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, biomedical ethics and principles of surgical technology. If you decide to pursue a 2-year degree, your school may also require you to complete general education courses in English, math and humanities.

In Arkansas, certified surgical technologists must earn licensure through the Arkansas Medical Board to use the Registered Surgical Technologist title. To qualify for a license, you must graduate from a nationally accredited surgical technology program and pass the certification exam offered by the National Center for Competency Testing or the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

What credentials/licensing does a certified surgical technologist require?

Arkansas is the only state that requires a license, but three states require certified surgical technologists to register with a government agency:

  • Colorado: Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies

  • North Dakota: North Dakota Board of Nursing Unlicensed Assistive Person & Medication Assistant Registry

  • Washington: Washington Department of Health

Depending on where you live, you may have to pass the NBSTSA exam before working as a certified surgical technologist. The following states require you to earn the NBSTSA Certified Surgical Technologist credential:

  • Idaho 

  • Indiana

  • Massachusetts

  • Nevada

  • Oregon

  • South Carolina

  • Tennessee

  • Texas

In Arkansas, Illinois and Virginia, the NBSTSA credential is only necessary if you want to use the Registered Surgical Technologist title.

Average Travel Surgical Technologist Salary


The average salary for a Travel Surgical Technologist is $1,840 per week. This is 28% lower than the practicing US average of $2,353.

Last updated on July 21, 2024. Based on 3,811 active jobs on in the last 7 days.

Salaries for Travel Surgical Technologist compared to Allied Health Professional National Averages


28% lower than the practicing US average.


United States

Where do Travel Surgical Technologists get paid the most?
StateAverage Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
North Dakota$2,120$2,611
South Dakota$2,108$2,882
New Hampshire$2,060$3,092
Rhode Island$1,994$2,419
West Virginia$1,990$2,421
New Jersey$1,961$2,530
What cities pay the most for Travel Surgical Technologists?
CityAverage Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
Oak Lawn, Illinois$2,640$2,640
Portland, Maine$2,621$3,040
Fairfax, Virginia$2,612$2,736
Renton, Washington$2,559$2,809
Falmouth, Massachusetts$2,525$2,525
Decatur, Georgia$2,505$2,505
Palo Alto, California$2,500$2,500
Norman, Oklahoma$2,426$2,502
Sioux Falls, South Dakota$2,426$2,882
Castro Valley, California$2,404$2,404
What are the highest paying Employers and Agencies for Travel Surgical Technologist jobs?
Average Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
United Health Care Staffing$2,765$2,765
Sunbelt Staffing$2,490$2,490
InfiCare Health$2,480$2,480
Connected Health Care $2,464$2,464
Modern Healthcare Solutions$2,429$2,429
NuWest Travel Nursing$2,359$2,359
Rock Medical Group$2,358$2,682
Excel Medical Staffing$2,351$2,351
Reliable Nurse Staffing$2,349$2,492
Prime Time Healthcare Nursing$2,348$2,348

Last updated on July 21, 2024. Information based on active jobs on

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Travel Surgical Technologist Career Guide

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How can you increase your pay as a travel certified surgical technologist?

Accepting travel assignments is probably the fastest route to higher earnings, as you can get a travel job without taking additional exams or enrolling in a degree program.

How much does a travel certified surgical technologist make?

Vivian Health's salary data for the week ending April 8, 2023, showed that travel certified surgical technologists earned an average of $2,094 per week, about $635 more per week than certified surgical technologists on staff. For each 13-week assignment, that's a total of $27,222 for travelers.

Do travel certified surgical technologists earn more than staff certified surgical technologists?

The average hourly rate for staff certified surgical technologist jobs was $36.47 per hour, per Vivian Health’s salary data on April 8, 2023. If you multiply that by 40 hours in a standard workweek, it comes to $1,458.80. In contrast, travel certified surgical technologists earned an average of $2,094 per week, about 43.5% more.

What states employ the most certified surgical technologists?

According to the BLS data for 2021, these five states have the most working certified surgical technologists:

  • California: 11,390

  • Texas: 10,820

  • Florida: 7,370

  • New York: 5,720

  • Michigan: 4,130

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