If you are a Surgical Tech or aspiring to become one and love traveling and exploring different cities then a career as a Travel Surgical Tech could be perfect for you. 

Travel surgical techs are those who move from one healthcare facility to another to provide their valuable services as temporary staff for a fixed period.

This might sound interesting but can turn out to be demanding, at times. But, the better pay, benefits, fun and flexible lifestyle, and career fulfillment it offers, allowing you to move from city to city is unmatchable. 

So, if this intrigues you, in this article we have tried to compile all the information regarding Travel Surgical Techs including their work environment, duties, how can you become one, earning potential, job prospects, pros and cons, and much more.

Stay Tuned –

traveling surgical techs

What is a Traveling Surgical Tech?

A Traveling Surgical Tech, also known as Travel Surgical Tech, is a surgical technologist who doesn’t always work in one particular healthcare facility.

They are those healthcare professionals who move from one location to another to provide their valuable services to those in need of temporary staff.

Read -> What is a Surgical Tech?

Work Environment

Their work environment might involve operating rooms, helping hospitals, private clinics, and surgical centers when and where are they needed most. Apart from the travel aspect, there lies no difference between a Surgical Tech and a Travel Surgical Tech.

The Travel Surgical Techs are the temporary staff that usually are assigned for a contract length of several weeks to months or even years. So, your time in a city would depend on your contract length.

What do they Do? Duties

The duties of a Travel Surgical Tech are the same as those of the CSTs, the only difference is that they have to the former has to travel around the facilities depending on the requirement.

Here are the duties –

  • Assisting in Surgical Procedures
  • Collaborating with Medical Teams
  • Ensuring Sterility in the Operating Room
  • Anticipating Surgeon’s Needs
  • Patient Care During Surgery
  • Handling emergencies
  • Transferring patients
  • Maintaining records
  • Sterilizing instruments
  • Following healthcare regulations

More On -> What Does a Surgical Tech Do?

How to Become a Traveling Surgical Tech?

Pros And Cons Of Being A Surgical Tech

In case you are wondering – there is no such specific process to become a Travel Surgical Tech. You need to become a CST and then choose the roles that require Travel. Thus, you become a Travel Surgical Tech.

Detailed Post-> How to Become a Surgical Tech?

Here is the process in brief –

  • You first earn a High School diploma or GED equivalent.
  • Enroll in a formal Surgical Tech program and finish the coursework.
  • Now, you need to get nationally certified.
  • You should also look to get additional training and expertise in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or/and basic life support (BLS).
  • It’s time to gain some experience. It’s better if you acquire 1 or 2 years of experience before becoming a Travel Surgical Tech.
  • You can now research reputable travel agencies specializing in healthcare staffing who can connect you with hospitals needing temporary staff.
  • Apply for the positions, clear the interview, and accept the offer. You are good to go as a Travel Surgical Tech.
  • Maintain your Recertification and stay updated.

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-> Surgical Tech Major

-> Surgical Tech Resume

Traveling Surgical Tech Job Requirements  

Becoming a Traveling Surgical Tech offers a unique career path with opportunities to explore different healthcare settings while contributing to patient care.

It requires a strong educational foundation, adaptability, and a willingness to embrace change and new challenges.

Here’s the Job Requirements –

  • CPR or/and BLS Training (AHA)
  • Certified as Surgical tech (NBSTSA or NCST)
  • 1+ Years of Experience
  • Willingness to Travel


-> Surgical Tech Requirements

-> Is Surgical Tech School Hard?

Traveling Surgical Tech Salary and Job Prospects

The salary and Job prospects data for Travel Surgical Techs are not stated differently by the BLS. So, we need to consider the BLS data for the Surgical Techs to understand Travel Surgical Tech’s earning potential and job outlook. 

As per BLS salary data 2022, the annual average salary of Surgical Technologists is $55,960. With the highest 10% earning upwards of $78,560 per year and higher. But, the lowest 10% of CSTs earn around $38,860 per year.

Job Prospects

The BLS has projected the employment growth rate for surgical assistants and technologists to grow by 5% in this decade. This means that there would be around 8,600 fresh openings projected each year, over the decade.

But, in 2022 alone, the CSTs held about 109,200 with the largest employer being the Hospitals. This goes on to speak about the demand for these professionals, with the aging population and the serious rise in surgical procedures.

How much does Traveling Surgical Tech make an hour?

As discussed above, there is no such data for Travel Surgical Techs so we need to consider the BLS data for Surgical Techs.

As per the BLS, they can typically earn an hourly wage of around $28, with variations based on experience and certifications. With more experience in the field, your earning potential can increase to an average range of $31 to $38 per hour. 

More On -> Surgical Tech Salary

Pros and Cons of Becoming a Traveling Surgical Tech

What is a Surgical Tech

If you aspire to become a Traveling Surgical Tech, then it offers unique experiences, higher earning potential, and career growth opportunities. But it also involves frequent relocation, job instability, and the need for adaptability.

So, before deciding on it, you should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages to determine if this career path aligns with your goals and lifestyle.

Let’s start with the Pros first –

Pros of Becoming a Traveling Surgical Tech

Becoming a Travel Surgical Tech involves a set of advantages, as follows.

Higher Earnings

The Traveling Surgical Techs often earn higher wages due to their specialized skills and willingness to travel. As per BLS salary data 2022, the annual average salary of Surgical Technologists is $55,960 with an hourly rate of around $27.

Moreover, among the Surgical Techs, the highest 10% are earning upwards of $78,560 per year, and higher. This surge is due to several factors like experience, expertise, education, and such.

Variety of Work Settings

The traveling techs have the opportunity to work in diverse healthcare facilities. As per the BLS, surgical techs work in various settings, including hospitals (72%), outpatient care centers (15%), and physician offices (7%).

Career Advancement

As you gain experience and hone your skills in different healthcare practices in multiple facilities can lead to higher-paying positions or specialized roles.

Read More:

-> Online Surgical Tech Programs

-> Surgical Tech Classes & Courses

-> Surgical Tech Program & Training

Job Fulfilment

A survey by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) found that 88% of certified surgical technologists were satisfied with their careers.

Flexibility and Fun Lifestyle 

Traveling techs enjoy more control over their work schedules, including flexible working hours. Also, they are the temporary staff usually assigned for a contract length of several weeks to months or even years.

This means they can explore places and maintain a fun lifestyle as a part of their job. You get other benefits with time off between assignments meaning you’ll work only when you would like. You can’t get this flexibility with a CST permanent job.

More On -> Pros And Cons Of Being A Surgical Tech

Cons of Becoming a Traveling Surgical Tech

Here are the disadvantages associated with this career –

Frequent Relocation

As a part of your job, you must relocate often. This frequent relocation might impact your family and personal life. But, if you are someone who loves to travel and explore new cities, that’s perfect.


As a Travel Tech, you need to constantly adjust to new facilities and teams can be stressful. A survey conducted by NBSTSA reported that 25% of surgical techs faced challenges adapting to new environments.

Also Read:

-> AST Surgical Tech 

-> NCCT Surgical Tech

-> Surgical Tech Study Guide

Lack of Job Security

Traveling positions are temporary, leading to potential periods of unemployment. Also, they may not receive the same benefits as permanent staff.

State Licensing

You might also be required to comply with different state licensing requirements in different locations, which can be complex. However, most states require national certification, but some might seek state-specific licensing.

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-> Surgical Tech License

-> Surgical Tech Certification

-> How to Become a Certified Surgical Tech?

FAQs – Travel Surgical Tech

What does a Surgical Tech do? Duties

How much does a Travel Surgical Tech make per Week?

As per ZipRecruiter 2024 data, a Travel surgical tech makes around an average of $2000 per week. This roughly means $50 per hour and $104,011 per year.

However, the highest weekly wage received is $2,990 and the lowest is $712, with the 25-percentile earning around $1,634 and the other 75-percentile earning around $2,365 per week. 

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-> Can You Be a Surgical Tech Without Certification?

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Is Travel Surgical Tech Career Worth It?

Well, there can’t be a proper ‘Yes or NO’ answer to this. Here are some factors to help you determine if this career suits you or not –

Combine Your Love with Your Job

If you love traveling and exploring cities and don’t want yourself to be confined at one facility then this career could be perfect for you. You could combine your love for exploring different cities while still earning.

Better Pay

As per BLS salary data 2022, the annual average salary of Surgical Technologists is $55,960, with an hourly rate of around $28.

But as per ZipRecruiter 2024 data, a Travel surgical tech makes around an average of $2000 per week. This roughly means $50 per hour and $104,011 per year.

Quick Entry in less than two years with no requirement to get a degree.

Fulfillment by assisting in surgeries and contributing to patient care can be deeply rewarding.

Besides all of this, you could also maintain a Flexible and Fun lifestyle with extended time off between assignments and other employer’s benefits from housing to insurance, etc.

Now, we leave it up to your good judgment to decide. But, if we are to answer, we believe a career in Travel Surgical Tech, is definitely worth it. 

More On -> How Long Does It Take to Become a Surgical Tech?

How long are Travel Surgical Tech Assignments?

The Travel Surgical Techs are the temporary staff that usually are assigned for a contract length of several weeks to months or even years. So, your time in a facility would depend on your contract length.

However, most Travel Surgical Tech assignments are 13 weeks and pay you weekly. You could also ask for an extension if you feel like staying longer.

How Stressful It Is Being a Travel Surgical Tech?

The job of a Travel Surgical Tech is undoubtedly a challenging endeavor. From Surgical procedures to traveling and adjusting to different cities, working under different authorities is not an easy task.

The American College of Surgeons reports that 77% of surgical techs felt their job was stressful due to the weight of responsibility. The responsibility associated with the role of a Surgical Tech is immense.

Additionally, long hours in the operating room can take a toll on both physical and mental well-being. Also, witnessing surgeries and being involved in medical emergencies can be emotionally taxing for many individuals.

To cope, self-care, including good nutrition, adequate rest, exercise, and leisure activities, is essential for maintaining mental and physical well-being in this demanding profession.


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About the Author
Grant founded OnlineDegree.com with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.