How Much Does It Cost to Become a Surgical Tech?

Surgical techs play an important role in the operating room, but what does it cost to become one? We break down the costs of education and certification.

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Becoming a surgical tech is a great way to enter the medical field, and it can be a very rewarding career. But like all careers, there is a cost associated with getting started. In this article, we’ll break down the various costs you can expect to incur as you pursue a career as a surgical tech.

Tuition and Fees

The cost of becoming a surgical tech varies depending on which school you attend and whether you’re attending a public or private institution. On average, tuition and fees for an accredited surgical tech program can range from $2,000 to $20,000. For example, tuition at Oklahoma State University’s surgical tech program is $2,236 for in-state residents and $5,814 for out-of-state residents. At ATI Career Training Center in Dallas, Texas, tuition for the surgical tech program is $18,995.

Books and Supplies

In addition to tuition and fees, you’ll also need to budget for books and supplies. This can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500 per year. Your school’s bookstore will have the most accurate pricing information for the books and supplies you’ll need for your classes.

Room and Board

If you’re attending a campus-based surgical tech program, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of room and board. This can vary depending on whether you live on or off campus. The average cost of room and board at public colleges is about $10,800 per year. At private colleges, the average cost is about $12,210 per year.

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Other Costs to Consider

There are other costs associated with becoming a surgical tech that you’ll need to factor into your budget as well. These include transportation costs (if you’re not already living near your school), child care expenses (if applicable), and other miscellaneous living expenses such as food and personal care items.

Training and Certification Costs

Surgical techs are in high demand and the job outlook is very positive. If you’re thinking of becoming a surgical tech, you’re probably wondering how much it will cost to get certified. The cost of training and certification can vary depending on the program you choose and the state you live in. Let’s take a look at some of the average costs.

Surgical Technician Programs

Surgical technician programs are offered at many community colleges and technical schools across the country. The length of these programs can vary, but most take between 9 and 24 months to complete. The cost of these programs will also vary, but you can expect to pay between $5,000 and $20,000 for tuition and other associated expenses. Many schools offer financial aid options to help offset the cost of these programs.


Certification for surgical technologists is done through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). To be eligible to take the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam, you must have graduated from an accredited surgical technology program and completed a minimum of 420 clinical rotations in surgery. The cost of the exam is $300 for members of the NBSTSA and $470 for non-members, as of 2019. There are also study materials available for purchase from the NBSTSA.

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Job Outlook and Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, surgical techs make a median salary of $47,300 per year. The job outlook for surgical techs is positive, with a projected growth of 7% from 2019 to 2029.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for surgical techs is excellent, with an expected growth rate of 23 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is significantly faster than the average growth rate for all occupations, which is only 7 percent. The demand for surgical techs will be driven by an aging population that will need more medical procedures, as well as advances in medical technology that will require trained surgical techs to operate new equipment.


In 2018, the median annual salary for surgical technologists was $47,300, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent of earners made less than $33,080, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $67,700.

Many factors can affect earnings, such as geographic location, employer type (hospital vs. private practice), years of experience and certification status. For example, surgical technologists in California earn a median salary of $58,640 per year, while those in Texas earn a median salary of $47,100 per year.

Earning an advanced certification may also help increase earnings potential. The Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credential is the most common certification held by surgical techs. To become certified, candidates must pass a national examination administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).


In conclusion, one can become a surgical tech by completing an accredited training program and passing the Certifying Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (CBSSA) exam. The median annual salary for surgical techs was $45,160 in May 2019, and employment of surgical techs is projected to grow 7% from 2019 to 2029.

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