How much does an Operating Room Scrub Nurse make in the United States?

Average Operating Room Scrub Nurse Salary

High Confidence

$2,972/week

This is 7% lower than the travel nursing US average of $3,177.

Estimate based on 730 active jobs in the last 90 days.

What is an OR Scrub RN?

Operating room scrub nurses play a vital role in a surgery’s success and their daily work environment can be hectic and stressful, which makes them in demand. Scrub nurses typically work in the operating rooms of hospitals, which tend to have higher salaries than other types of healthcare facilities. However, they may also work in ambulatory surgical centers. Salary can also vary based on other criteria, including education, experience, certifications, and geographical location, among others.

OR scrub RNs are registered nurses who specialize in assisting surgeons and other surgical staff during operations. Scrub nurses continually maintain a sterile operating environment while selecting and passing necessary instruments and supplies to the surgeon. They also perform initial counts before surgeries to establish a baseline and final counts after surgeries to ensure everything the operating room began with is accounted for afterward.

Educational requirements for OR scrub nurses are the same as other nurses. They must complete either a two-year Associate Degree in Nursing or a four-year Bachelor Degree in Nursing through a nursing program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and pass the NCLEX-RN licensing exam. However, many healthcare facilities prefer OR scrub RNs with a BSN over an ADN.

How an OR Scrub RN salary is based

While the base pay for OR scrub RNs generally starts about the same as other nurses, many facilities put their OR nurses on call, which can really bump up your salary. Standard call pay is $2 an hour plus time-and-a-half when working on-call, usually with a guaranteed minimum of two paid hours when called in even if you don’t work. While on-call and call-back pay aren’t guaranteed like base pay, you can usually always get it.

An OR scrub RN’s salary base rises as they obtain experience in the perioperative field. Education can also give your base salary a boost. Healthcare facilities often prefer OR scrub nurses with a BSN over an ADN, so their base salary may reflect this preference. Certifications can also play a role in base salary, but not always.

Certain certifications are required, including Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support certifications, so these may not have any bearing on your base salary. Other professional certifications that aren’t mandatory are often still preferred and typically help increase your base salary.

Geographical location and work setting are big factors in base salaries for OR scrub nurses. Per the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), perioperative nurses working in rural hospitals made about $7,000 less per year in 2020 than those in urban hospitals and nurses working on the East or West Coast earned the highest average base salaries. Also, the base salaries of perioperative nurses working in freestanding surgery centers were $5,600 less than those in acute care hospitals or hospital outpatient departments while nurses working in general or community hospitals earned $3,800 less than those in specialty or academic hospitals.

How to increase your OR Scrub RN salary

Professional certifications should always help increase your salary. Some facilities will even reimburse certification costs when you successfully pass the certification exam. The Certified Nurse, Operating Room (CNOR) certification from the Competency & Credentialing Institute is the only accredited certification for perioperative RNs. To sit for the exam, you must currently work in a perioperative role and have a minimum of two years and 2,400 hours of experience in perioperative nursing with at least 1,200 of these hours in an intraoperative setting.

You can also increase your salary by gaining higher education to become a surgical nurse practitioner. Becoming a surgical NP requires a significant amount of education and training. You must earn a BSN, then a Master of Science in Nursing with a focus in surgical science. Some facilities also require that you get additional specialized certifications in surgery care.

Some states require surgical NPs to obtain Registered Nurse First Assistant certification, which requires completion of an RNFA program that follows the AORN standards for RN First Assistant education. CRNFA certification through the National Assistant at Surgery Certification requires a minimum of 2,000 hours of practice in the RNFA role and satisfactory completion of a CRNFA Professional Portfolio.

Where do Operating Room Scrub Nurses get paid the most?

StateAverage Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
Nevada$4,648$5,200
Delaware$4,297$4,693
Connecticut$3,898$4,476
Pennsylvania$3,818$5,700
Maine$3,809$4,212
Kansas$3,762$3,762
Massachusetts$3,655$4,441
Alaska$3,510$3,510
California$3,483$6,048
South Carolina$3,300$3,300

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What cities pay the most for Operating Room Scrub Nurse?

CityAverage Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
Lakeport, California$5,200$5,200
Bakersfield, California$5,048$6,023
Ephrata, Pennsylvania$4,902$5,200
Reno, Nevada$4,648$5,200
Chandler, Arizona$4,626$4,626
Pottstown, Pennsylvania$4,611$5,700
Seaford, Delaware$4,592$4,693
Nantucket, Massachusetts$4,441$4,441
King City, California$4,414$4,680
Pittsfield, Massachusetts$4,378$4,378

Top Operating Room Scrub Nurse Jobs

View job details for Travel Nurse RN - OR Scrub RNMedPro Healthcare Staffing
Travel Nurse RN - OR Scrub RN
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
MedPro Healthcare Staffing
2 days ago
ASAP13 wks3x12 hrs
$3,852/wk
Travel contract
I'm interested
View job details for Travel Nurse RN - OR Scrub RNMedPro Healthcare Staffing
Travel Nurse RN - OR Scrub RN
Madison, Wisconsin
MedPro Healthcare Staffing
2 days ago
ASAP13 wks3x12 hrs
$3,672/wk
Travel contract
I'm interested
View job details for Travel Nurse RN - OR Scrub RNMedPro Healthcare Staffing
Travel Nurse RN - OR Scrub RN
Santa Monica, California
MedPro Healthcare Staffing
2 days ago
ASAP13 wks3x12 hrs
$3,456/wk
Travel contract
I'm interested
View job details for Travel Nurse RN - OR Scrub RNMedPro Healthcare Staffing
Travel Nurse RN - OR Scrub RN
Indianapolis, Indiana
MedPro Healthcare Staffing
2 days ago
ASAP13 wks3x12 hrs
$3,060/wk
Travel contract
I'm interested
View job details for Travel Nurse RN - OR Scrub RNAdvantis Medical
Travel Nurse RN - OR Scrub RN
Waimea, Hawaii
Advantis Medical
a day ago
ASAP13 wks3x12 hrs
$1,958/wk
Travel contract
I'm interested

What are the highest paying Agencies for Operating Room Scrub Nurse jobs?

Average Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
CrossMed$5,231$5,852
Tact Medical Staffing$4,817$5,200
Medical Solutions$4,403$6,023
Providence Health Care Staffing$4,402$5,148
Gale Healthcare Solutions$4,087$5,793
ADEX Healthcare Staffing LLC$3,833$4,225
IDR Healthcare$3,769$3,920
Travel Nurse Across America$3,690$3,978
Ethos Medical Staffing$3,582$5,350
Access Healthcare$3,496$3,496