What Is the Salary of a Certified Surgical Technologist First Assistant?

Certified surgical technologists can find employment with hospitals, private practices, ambulatory services or dental offices, to name a few options. Read on to learn how the salary you can earn in this career varies depending on factors that include experience, education, location, job responsibilities and employer. Schools offering Surgical Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

If you work as a surgical technologist, you will assist in the operating room (OR) by sterilizing and setting up operating equipment, keeping the OR supplied with blood and necessary medicines, giving the surgeon the right tools during the operation and monitoring the patient's condition. To become a surgical technologist, you must have a high school diploma and graduate from an accredited diploma, certificate or associate's degree program. Most vary in duration, from a few months to 2 years, and are offered by community colleges, vocational schools, some universities and hospitals. Many individuals seek to become certified first surgical assistants. They often complete an additional educational program. The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) supplies the Certified Surgical First Assistant designation for those who have graduated from a Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) institution or a military program, and successfully passed an examination. Credentials must be renewed every 4 years, either by continuing education credits or testing.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Job Outlook (2016-2026) 12% (for all surgical technologists)
Key Skills Ability to be on feet for long periods of time and manage stress; manual dexterity, integrity, and attention to detail
Work Environment Operating rooms in hospitals and outpatient surgery facilities
Similar Occupations Dental assistant, medical assistant, licensed practical nurse

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary Overview

A surgical technologist earned a median annual salary of $47,300 in May 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). As a more qualified professional in a certified surgical technologist first assistant position, your salary may differ. PayScale.com reported that certified surgical first assistants earned an average yearly income of $60,961 in May 2019.

Salary by Employer

Your salary can vary according to where you work. For instance, the BLS reported that as of May 2018, surgical technologists in specialty hospitals had an annual mean salary of $55,110, while those working in dentists' offices had an annual mean salary of $45,950. Those working in general hospitals and physicians offices had annual mean salaries of $48,530 and $48,730, respectively. Those working in specialty hospitals made the highest average wage, followed by those employed by employment services at $54,040.

Salary by Experience

In May 2019, PayScale.com reported that most entry-level certified surgical technologists made between $28,898 and $48,144. Salaries rose to $33,760-$59,104 for mid-career professionals. Experienced professionals had earnings between $37,427 and $65,786, while late-career professionals made between $40,489-$71,117.

Salary by State

According to May 2018 BLS figures, California and Texas were the states employing the most surgical technologists and paid them average wages of $60,940 and $49,410, respectively. West Virginia and South Dakota had the highest job concentrations and paid average wages of $37,390 and $40,970, respectively. Alaska was the highest-paying state and paid average wages of $63,930. Surgical technologists working in the lowest-paying states, such as Alabama and West Virginia, received average wages between $36,630 and $43,280.

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