It should come as no surprise than surgical sterilization technicians clean, process and package sterile goods and instruments for surgical procedures. Depending on the medical facility, they may also stock surgical trays, prepare operating rooms and arrange equipment for surgeries, acting in the capacity of surgical technologists. Salaries vary by employer and location.
In 2012, salaries of surgical techs averaged at $43,480 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was an increase of just over 2 percent from the previous year, when salaries averaged $42,460 annually. For the top 10 percent, earnings often reached in excess of $60,240 a year. The job seeker’s site Indeed provides a similar figure, setting salaries for instrument processing sterilization technicians at $41,000 a year, as of 2013.
Salaries by Employer
Of employers, “other” health practitioners, who are those outside of traditional physicians, paid the highest salaries to surgical techs, an average of $51,900 a year. Offices of traditional physicians paid $45,500, while general medical hospitals paid $42,700 annually. Surgical techs at specialty hospitals earned nearly 13 percent more than those at general hospitals, averaging $48,060 a year. Some of the lowest reported wages were at dental offices, where the average pay was $40,460 a year.
As with almost any occupation, earnings vary by location. Of the states, some of the highest salaries for sterilization techs were in New York, at an average of $50,000 a year. Those working in New York City fared even better, earning $54,000 a year. Sterilization techs in both the District of Columbia and Massachusetts averaged $49,000, while those in California brought home $45,000. Some of the lowest reported wages were in South Dakota, where sterilization techs averaged just $31,000 a year.
The BLS expects employment opportunities for techs to be favorable, with an average job growth rate of 19 percent between 2010 and 2020. This was faster than the national average for all U.S. occupations, an anticipated growth of 14 percent. Those with professional certifications should enjoy the greatest prospects.