These U.S. Cities Offer the Highest Employment Levels for Surgical Technologists
Surgical technologists, also known as operating room technicians or scrub techs, are indispensable to surgeons as they perform critical and life-saving procedures within the operating room. Surgical techs prepare operating rooms, sterilize and arrange equipment, and prepare the patients. They also assist surgeons during surgeries by handing instruments and supplies to the surgeon when needed, helping to suction the incision site, suturing a wound, or even holding the patient’s internal organs in place during a procedure.
If you’re looking for a challenging career that includes a great deal of responsibility and requires a high level of knowledge and competence, you may have what it takes to become a surgical technologist. It can be demanding and exhausting work, but it’s also an opportunity to make an important difference in the lives of others. In fact, Surgical Technologist was featured in our list of the best entry-level medical jobs.
If you’re reading this article, you probably already know you that want to become a surgical technologist, or you already are one. But you may be wondering, what’s the best place to pursue a rewarding career as a surgical technologist and enjoy an active, fulfilling life? To help you make a choice, we’ve ranked the 25 best places to work as a surgical technologist based on employment level.
How Much Do Surgical Technologists Make?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 111,300 Surgical Technologist jobs in 2019. Surgical technologists earned a median salary of around $50,000 (or an average hourly wage of about $24). Surgical technologists that earned in the 90% percentile made more than $73,000 per year.
Best Industries for Surgical Technologist Jobs
The employment level for surgical technologists can vary depending on the industry in which they decide to practice or whether certification is earned. Here are the top five industries for surgical technologists in terms of employment:
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
- Employment: 76,770
- Annual Salary: $51,270
- Hourly Wage: $24.65
- Offices of Physicians
- Employment: 11,140
- Annual Salary: $51,330
- Hourly Wage: $24.68
- Outpatient Care Centers
- Employment: 10,860
- Annual Salary: $53,690
- Hourly Wage: $25.81
- Offices of Dentists
- Employment: 2,980
- Annual Salary: $48,080
- Hourly Wage: $23.12
- Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals
- Employment: 1,860
- Annual Salary: $54,900
- Hourly Wage: $26.39
Best States to Find a Job as a Surgical Technologist
Surgical technologist employment can also vary by geography. For instance, here are the top 5 states for surgical techs based on employment level:
- Employment: 10,680
- Average Annual Salary: $49,860
- Average Hourly Wage: $23.97
- Employment: 9,140
- Average Annual Salary: $64,570
- Average Hourly Wage: $31.04
- Employment: 7,720
- Average Annual Salary: $46,710
- Average Hourly Wage: $22.46
- New York
- Employment: 5,510
- Average Annual Salary: $59,380
- Average Hourly Wage: $28.55
- Employment: 4,080
- Average Annual Salary: $47,890
- Average Hourly Wage: $23.02
Our rankings are based primarily on the number of surgical technologist jobs in each of these metropolitan areas. In addition, they include a review of the average annual salary, cost of living, and highlights of the city’s features and lifestyle. All employment, wage, and salary disclosures are based on BLS data for May 2020. Our rankings were based on Employment Level, which is the number of surgical technologist jobs currently held in the respective city.
The Best Cities to Find a Job as a Surgical Technologist
Here are the 25 best cities for Surgical Technologists to find a job in 2021 based on employment level data provided by the BLS.
1. New York, New York
For this ranking, the New York City metro area includes Newark and Jersey City, NJ.
Average Annual Salary: $60,910
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $81,510
Average Hourly Wage: $29.29
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 187.2 (National Average: 100)
With more Surgical Technologists jobs than any other metro area, New York City tops our list for best places to work as a surgical tech. With approximately 23 million people, New York City is the most populated city in the U.S. In addition, up to 63 million tourists visit annually. New York features 62 acute care hospitals, many renowned nationally, including three hospitals ranked top 20 in America by U.S. News.
New York is the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world. The city offers numerous world-famous tourist attractions, including the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, the Broadway Theater District, The Empire State Building, and Central Park. In addition, New York is unmatched for restaurants, entertainment, colleges and universities, and museums and cultural activities. With services provided 24/7, New York has been nicknamed the “City That Never Sleeps.” It is also the most photographed city in the world.
With millions and millions of active people, there is an enormous need for medical services, including surgeries, in the New York area. That means high demand, the fourth-highest average salary, and job security for surgical technologists. At the same time, New York is a desirable area to live in, with many unique amenities, spectacular attractions, and non-stop activities.
2. Los Angeles, California
For this ranking, the Los Angeles metro area includes Long Beach and Anaheim, CA.
Average Annual Salary: $59,880
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $80,740
Average Hourly Wage: $28.79
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 173.3 (National Average: 100)
The second city on our list is also the second-largest metro area in the United States, with about 13.1 million residents. Los Angeles is known for its sunny climate, cultural diversity, Hollywood entertainment industry, and sprawling metropolitan area.
Los Angeles is home to numerous attractions, including Hollywood Sign, Griffith Observatory, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Boulevard, and the USS Iowa battleship. In addition, there are 841 museums and art galleries in the LA area, more museums per capita than any other city. The metro area is served by an extensive network of freeways and highways, though traffic congestion is among the highest of any metro area.
With millions of active people, the need for healthcare and surgical procedures is high in Los Angeles. As a result, demand for surgical techs is also high. Los Angeles is the seventh-highest paying metro area. Add to that the year-round sunshine and numerous amenities and attractions, and Los Angeles is a great place to live and work as a surgical tech.
3. Houston, Texas
For this ranking, the Houston metro area includes The Woodlands and Sugar Land, TX.
Average Annual Salary: $54,240
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $69,970
Average Hourly Wage: $26.08
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 96.5 (National Average: 100)
Houston is the third-best city in America for employment as a surgical tech. Houston is also the fifth-most populous metro in America, with about 7 million residents. Considered a global city, Houston is a major hub for culture, medicine, and research. Houston is recognized worldwide for its energy industry, biomedical research, and aeronautics. The city is also the seat of the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest concentration of research and healthcare institutions.
Nicknamed “Space City,” Houston is home to NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Many annual events celebrate the diverse cultures of Houston, including the largest and longest-running livestock show and rodeo, Houston Gay Pride Parade, Houston Greek Festival, and Houston Auto Show. The Houston food scene has been called “a Wonderland of Strange and Diverse” by Anthony Bourdain. A study released by The Zebra in 2020 named Houston the city that gives you the most house for your dollar. Houston Independent School District has earned many accolades and was honored by US News Best High School report.
With plenty to do and see, exceptional neighborhoods, a rich culture, and a relatively low cost of living, Houston could be the right location to launch your career in surgical technology.
4. Chicago, Illlinois
For this ranking, the Chicago metro area includes Naperville and Elgin, IL.
Average Annual Salary: $53,020
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $72,690
Average Hourly Wage: $25.49
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 106.9 (National Average: 100)
Chicago is the third-most populated metro area in the U.S., with about 9.5 million residents. It’s also the fourth-best market for employment as a surgical tech. Chicago is recognized as an international hub for finance, culture, commerce, industry, education, technology, telecommunications, and transportation.
Chicago has been voted the best largest city in the U.S. for four years in a row by Condé Nast Traveler. The city was also ranked first out of 32 cities for urban quality of life. In fact, it’s been called “the world’s number one city for having fun and enjoying life.” The city offers numerous award-winning restaurants, shopping, entertainment, sports, nightlife, and cultural events. Despite not having a coast, the Chicago lakefront offers beaches, waterfront restaurants, and no shortage of recreational activities.
With high demand for surgical techs, a desirable lifestyle, and a very reasonable cost of living, Chicago could be the ideal setting for your future.
5. Dallas, Texas
For this ranking, the Dallas metro area includes Fort Worth and Arlington, TX.
Average Annual Salary: $52,140
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $71,670
Average Hourly Wage: $25.07
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 101.6 (National Average: 100)
Dallas is the fourth most-populated metro area in the United States, with about 7.5 million residents. The Dallas economy is diverse and thriving. The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area is host to 33 Fortune 500 companies, including American Airlines and ExxonMobil.
The city offers an assortment of family-friendly suburbs and young professional neighborhoods, excellent schools, and many exciting and noteworthy attractions, art museums, restaurants, shops, parks, and more. The city is also home to a diversity of ethnic and religious backgrounds and one of the largest LGBT communities in the U.S. Summers can be hot and humid in Dallas. Still, winters are cool to mild, with occasional cold spells.
With the fifth-largest employment number, Dallas offers plenty of opportunities, a competitive salary, and job security for surgical techs. The diverse population, cultural focus, moderate weather, and relatively low cost of living make Dallas an excellent location for happiness and a career as a surgical tech.
6. Atlanta, Georgia
For this ranking, the Atlanta metro area includes Sandy Springs and Roswell, GA.
Average Annual Salary: $51,290
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $65,790
Average Hourly Wage: $24.66
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 107.5 (National Average: 100)
Home to more than 6 million people, Atlanta is the ninth-largest metro in the nation. Atlanta’s economy is considered diverse, with dominant sectors including aerospace, transportation, logistics, professional and business services, media operations, medical services, and information technology.
Though Southern culture is part of Atlanta’s history, it has evolved into a very multicultural and cosmopolitan city. As a result, it has one of the largest LGBT populations per capita, behind San Francisco and Seattle. Experience adventure and fun with the city’s many parks, historic sites, museums, sporting events, outdoor activities, restaurants, and shops.
Plenty of employment opportunities, an enviable lifestyle, and a relatively low cost of living, make Atlanta an excellent choice for pursuing your surgical tech career.
7. Miami, Florida
For this ranking, the Miami metro area includes Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, FL.
Average Annual Salary: $47,180
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $63,840
Average Hourly Wage: $22.68
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 123.1 (National Average: 100)
Miami is the seventh-largest metro in the country and the seventh-best metro area for surgical tech jobs. A major center for finance, commerce, culture, arts, and international trade, Miami was ranked the third-richest metro in the world in 2018. PortMiami is the busiest cruise port in the world and refers to itself as the “Cruise Capital of the World.”
Miami is home to many historical and multicultural neighborhoods and numerous lively nightclubs, restaurants, and shops. Miami offers a wide range of museums, entertainment venues, sporting events, beaches, and parks. There’s always something fun to do. Miami is also the second-most popular tourist destination in the U.S., after New York City.
Miami could be the perfect city for your career as a surgical technologist, combining an active lifestyle, a reasonable cost of living, and high demand for medical services.
8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
For this ranking, the Philadelphia metro area includes Camden and Wilmington, PA.
Average Annual Salary: $48,500
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $63,750
Average Hourly Wage: $23.32
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 101.2 (National Average: 100)
Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love,” is the eighth-most populated metro in America, with over 6 million residents. Philadelphia’s growing economy includes financial services, healthcare, biotechnology, and information technology. A study in 2011 projected that 40,000 jobs would be added to the city within 25 years. Philadelphia is home to many national historical sites related to the founding of the United States, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed. In 2021, Philadelphia was ranked one of the top destinations in the world to visit by Condé Nast Traveler.
Philadelphia is culturally diverse and culturally active. The city contains many art museums, entertainment venues, renowned restaurants, and engaging attractions. In addition, Philadelphia offers numerous eclectic and unique neighborhoods ideal for families and young professionals. A variety of universities and colleges make Philadelphia a top study destination, as well.
With a high number of surgical tech jobs, an attractive lifestyle, and a relatively low cost of living, Philadelphia could make a wonderful life and career for a surgical technologist.
9. Detroit, Michigan
For this ranking, the Detroit metro area includes Warren and Dearborn, MI.
Average Annual Salary: $47,150
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $62,690
Average Hourly Wage: $22.67
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 87.6 (National Average: 100)
Detroit, also called “Motor City,” is the 14th-largest metropolitan area in the U.S., with more than 4.3 million people. Regarded as a major cultural center, Detroit is known for its major contributions to music, art, architecture, design, and automobiles.
Though the economy in the Detroit area has declined in the past and unemployment is higher than the national average, the economic outlook for the future is more positive. Over the next ten years, future job growth is predicted to be almost 30%, just slightly lower than the U.S. average of 33.5%.
With the average salary for surgical techs at $47,150, Detroit offers lower average salary than most cities on this list. However, the city’s cost-of-living index of 87.6 is much lower than most other cities on this list. Given the area’s positive outlook for the future and plenty of affordable housing, Detroit could be a smart and strategic location to start your promising career in surgical technology.
10. Boston, Massachusetts
For this ranking, the Boston metro area includes Cambridge and Nashua, MA.
Average Annual Salary: $59,540
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $82,060
Average Hourly Wage: $28.62
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 162.4 (National Average: 100)
The Boston area is home to 4.8 million people and ranks number 10 on the most populated U.S. metros list. Since the American Revolution, Boston has been an important port and manufacturing hub and a center for education and culture. Boston offers a world-class healthcare system, with more top-rated hospitals and doctors than most other cities, including four hospitals that have led the rankings by U.S. News and World Report.
Households in Boston claim the highest average rate of philanthropy in the United States, and businesses rank among the top in the country for environmental sustainability and investment. The city has one of the highest costs of living in the U.S. but remains high on world livability rankings. Because there are so many diverse subsections, Boston is sometimes called a “city of neighborhoods.” The Boston area offers all the amenities, activities, services, and cultural offerings you would expect from a major U.S. city but still maintains a family-friendly neighborhood feel.
The cost of living is higher average in Boston, but the average annual salary for surgical techs is the eighth-highest at $59,540. When you combine the salary with an outstanding healthcare system, diverse cultures, rich heritage, quality lifestyle, and caring, friendly people, Boston may be your kind of town.
11. Phoenix, Arizona
For this ranking, the Phoenix metro area includes Mesa and Scottsdale, AZ.
Average Annual Salary: $53,490
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $82,060
Average Hourly Wage: $25.72
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 103.7(National Average: 100)
The Phoenix metro area, also called “Valley of the Sun,” is the 11th-best location for surgical technologist jobs, and the 10th most populated metro in the United States, with approximately 5 million residents. The top five industries in Phoenix are real estate, finance and insurance, manufacturing, retail, and healthcare.
Phoenix receives the most sunshine of any major city on Earth, making it an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. All around the metro area are mountains, hiking and biking trails, lakes and rivers, golf courses, and spectacular desert scenery. At the same time, Phoenix offers all the amenities of a large city, including museums, entertainment, professional sports, fine dining, and shopping.
Phoenix should rise to the top of your list of locations for a surgical tech career with its combination of numerous job opportunities, desirable outdoor lifestyle, and relatively low cost of living.
12. Tampa, Florida
For this ranking, the Tampa metro area includes St. Petersburg and Clearwater, FL.
Average Annual Salary: $49.430
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $64,560
Average Hourly Wage: $23.77
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 100.1 (National Average: 100)
Tampa and the Tampa Bay area comprise roughly 3.2 million residents, making it the 18th-largest metro in the U.S. Finance, retail, healthcare, insurance, national defense, and tourism play vital roles in the city’s economy, and several Fortune 1000 companies are headquartered in this area. Tampa and its suburbs include over 20 hospitals, four trauma centers, and multiple cancer treatment centers. Three of the area’s hospitals were ranked among “America’s best hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.
The Tampa area is home to numerous museums, arts and entertainment venues, tourist sights, recreational activities, and diverse cuisines. Tampa’s climate generally features hot and humid summers and dry, mild winters. Though threatened by tropical storms and hurricanes, Tampa seldom feels any significant impact.
With a beautiful climate, strong economy, focus on healthcare, and desirable lifestyle—Tampa should make your shortlist of great places for a surgical tech career. Add to that a low (national average) cost of living, and it just might top the list.
13. San Antonio, Texas
For this ranking, the San Antonio metro area includes New Braunfels, TX.
Average Annual Salary: $42,780
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $61,070
Average Hourly Wage: $20.57
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 89.7 (National Average: 100)
The San Antonio area has about 2.5 million residents, making it the 24th-largest metro area in the country. San Antonio is home to four Fortune 500 companies and one of the largest concentrations of military bases in the U.S.
San Antonio’s economy is driven by the military, healthcare, government, financial services, oil and gas, and tourism. The city is also home to the South Texas Medical Center, a conglomerate of hospitals, clinics, research, and higher education. Over 20 million tourists visit San Antonio and its attractions, including The Alamo and the River Walk, every year. In addition, San Antonio offers a diversity of unique family-oriented neighborhoods of various socio-economic levels.
With the second-lowest cost of living on this list, a substantial healthcare industry, and many desirable features, San Antonio could be the right lifestyle for your rewarding career in surgical technology.
14. Seattle, Washington
For this ranking, the Seattle metro area includes Tacoma and Bellevue, WA.
Average Annual Salary: $63,320
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $82,060
Average Hourly Wage: $30.44
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 172.3 (National Average: 100)
The population of the Seattle metro area is about 4 million people, making it the 15th-largest in the United States. From 2013 to 2016, Seattle was the fastest-growing major city in the country. Seattle’s thriving economy is driven by the “new economy” of high-tech and internet companies. Large companies continue to dominate business in the Seattle area, including Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Costco, and Nordstrom.
A cultural center for the region and the world, Seattle offers an abundance of performing arts, musical venues, parks, sporting events, along with tourism and recreational opportunities. A 2008 census showed that Seattle had the highest percentage of college and university graduates of any major U.S. city. Three of Seattle’s most prominent medical centers are concentrated in a neighborhood nicknamed “Pill Hill,” including Harborview Medical Center, the only Level I trauma hospital in a region that includes Washington, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho.
With a large and well-respected medical community, an exceptional lifestyle, and the third-highest average salary for surgical techs on this list, Seattle offers an ideal environment for a rewarding career and a wonderful life.
15. Washington, D.C.
For this ranking, the Washington, DC metro area includes Arlington and Alexandria, VA.
Average Annual Salary: $61,400
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $82,660
Average Hourly Wage: $29.52
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 152.1 (National Average: 100)
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and also known as D.C. or just Washington, is the United States capital. The metro area is the country’s sixth-largest, with a population of 6.3 million. Not surprisingly for the nation’s capital, about 25% of the employees in Washington, D.C. work for the federal government. Historically, this fact has made D.C. somewhat protected from economic downturns and unemployment, as the federal government continues operations even during recessions. There are also 16 renown hospitals in the Washington D.C., including Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Washington, D.C. is divided into quadrants, all centered on the Capitol Building and more than 130 unique neighborhoods. The city is home to an abundance of national monuments, tourist attractions, museums, galleries, parks, entertainment, fine dining, sporting events, and numerous ongoing activities. The area has a very diverse and growing population.
The Washington, D.C. area has a lot to offer an aspiring surgical technologist, both professionally and personally. Although the cost of living is higher than most, so are the salaries. In addition, demand for surgical techs is relatively high, and job security is better than most.
16. Minneapolis, Minnesota
For this ranking, the Minneapolis metro area includes St. Paul and Bloomington, MN.
Average Annual Salary: $64,190
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $80,110
Average Hourly Wage: $30.86
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 106.5 (National Average: 100)
About 3.6 million people live in the Minneapolis area, making it the 16th-largest metro in America. Today the economy of Minneapolis is based in commerce, finance, rail and trucking services, healthcare, and industry. Minneapolis has eight hospitals, and four are ranked among America’s best by U.S. News & World Report in 2021.
Minneapolis residents live in a variety of diverse neighborhoods and enjoy a wide range of attractions, events, and activities. Minneapolis offers an unmatched selection of theatre, performing arts, museums, fine dining, and cultural attractions. The city is home to four professional sports teams. The Minneapolis park system has been called the best-designed, best-financed, and best-maintained in America.
With healthcare an important part of the economy, a relatively low cost of living, and the second-highest average salary on this list, Minneapolis is a desirable location for gainful employment as a surgical tech and an excellent community for a happy, fulfilling life.
17. Baltimore, Maryland
For this ranking, the Baltimore metro area includes Columbia and Towson, MD.
Average Annual Salary: $53,990
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $70,590
Average Hourly Wage: $25.95
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 88.2 (National Average: 100)
With a population of about 2.8 million, the Baltimore metro area is the 21st-largest in the nation. At one time, Baltimore was a predominantly industrial town, but has since shifted to technology. The tech sector is rapidly growing in Baltimore, and Forbes ranked the city fourth among America’s “new tech hot spots.” The Baltimore area is also home to many top-ranked hospitals, including Johns Hopkins Hospital and University of Maryland Medical Center.
With hundreds of unique districts, Baltimore has been dubbed a “city of neighborhoods,” many of which have rich histories. In fact, more than a third of the city’s buildings (over 65,000) are designated historic in the National Register, which is more than any other U.S. city. Baltimore offers many things to do and see, including parks, museums, sporting events, performing arts, fine dining, and shopping. Housing in Baltimore is relatively inexpensive for a large, coastal city.
Plenty of hip and historic neighborhoods, a relatively high salary, and a low cost of living make Baltimore a prime destination for future surgical techs to work, play, and live.
18. San Francisco, California
For this ranking, the San Francisco metro area includes Oakland and Hayward, CA.
Average Annual Salary: $79,230
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $103,390
Average Hourly Wage: $38.09
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 269.3 (National Average: 100)
San Francisco is part of the 12th-largest metro area in the United States, with 4.7 million people. It’s also the fourth-largest metro area by economic output. Highly diverse, San Francisco has a majority-minority population, with non-Hispanic whites comprising less than half of the population.
A popular tourist destination, San Francisco is known for cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic architecture, and famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, and the former federal prison, Alcatraz. In addition, the city, and the surrounding Bay Area, are home to a variety of prestigious universities, historic neighborhoods, world-class cuisine, and non-stop entertainment.
Though the cost of living is high, so are salaries for surgical techs. In fact, San Francisco offers the highest average salary of all cities on this list, about 23% higher than the next highest city (Minneapolis) and about 85% higher than the lowest-paying city (San Antonio). When you combine everything it has to offer, San Francisco could be your “Golden Gate City” for a career as a surgical tech.
19. Orlando, Florida
For this ranking, the Orlando metro area includes Kissimmee and Sanford, FL.
Average Annual Salary: $47,790
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $61,740
Average Hourly Wage: $22.98
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 104.1 (National Average: 100)
The Orlando metro area, which has a population of about 2.6 million people, is the 23rd-largest metro area in the U.S. The city is a major center for industry and technology, with a $13.4 billion technology industry employing 53,000 people. More than 150 international companies from 20 countries have facilities in the Orlando area.
Nicknamed “The City Beautiful,” Orlando is one of the most-visited cities in the world, primarily driven by tourism, major events, and convention traffic. The two largest tourist attractions are Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Florida. A very diverse city, Orlando is home to the largest population of Puerto Ricans in Florida, along with a large West Indian community. Orlando also has a large LGBT population and is recognized as one of the most accepting and tolerant cities in the U.S.
Suppose you’re looking for a city that offers a good salary for surgical technologists, a relatively low cost of living, and a great atmosphere for enjoying life. In that case, Orlando could be the perfect place for you and your family.
20. Denver, Colorado
For this ranking, the Denver metro area includes Aurora and Lakewood, CO.
Average Annual Salary: $57,170
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $78,220
Average Hourly Wage: $27.48
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 128.7 (National Average: 100)
Called the “Mile High City” because of its elevation, Denver is the capital of Colorado. Home to almost 3 million people, this city ranks as the 19th-largest metro area in the U.S. Major industries include aerospace, broadcast and telecommunications, healthcare and wellness, financial services, bioscience, energy, and IT software. The economy in Denver is strong and growing stronger. In fact, Forbes listed Denver as 4th in Best Places for Business and Careers.
There’s something for everyone in Denver. Neighborhoods are diverse in both people and architecture, including everything from skyscrapers to late 19th century homes to contemporary suburban developments. Here, you’ll be surrounded by mountains, outdoor activities, cultural attractions, affordable rents. Not to mention efficient public transportation, relatively uncongested traffic, and a crime rate way below the national average.
For a career as a surgical tech, the Mile High City offers opportunity, salaries, and a lifestyle that puts you way above it all.
21. Indianapolis, Indiana
For this ranking, the Indianapolis metro area includes Carmel and Anderson, IN.
Average Annual Salary: $49,690
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $63,390
Average Hourly Wage: $23.89
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 83.5 (National Average: 100)
Indianapolis is the 33rd most-populous metro area in the U.S., with about 2 million residents. The economy here is based primarily on finance and insurance, manufacturing, business services, education, and healthcare. The city is home to three Fortune 500 companies, two major sports clubs, four universities, and several museums.
Indianapolis is best known for hosting the world’s largest single-day sporting event, the Indianapolis 500. Naming 38 fun things to do, Travel + Leisure ranked Indianapolis 7th in America’s Favorite Cities. Because Indianapolis lacks historical, ethnic divisions and physical boundaries, neighborhoods are not as clearly defined as in other cities. As a result, most neighborhoods are subtle in their distinctions.
A big city with a small-town feel, a wealth of things to do, and a very low cost of living could have you racing toward Indianapolis to start your surgical tech career.
22. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Average Annual Salary: $47,540
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $62,720
Average Hourly Wage: $22.85
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 87.5 (National Average: 100)
About 2.3 million people live in the Pittsburgh area, making it the 27th-largest metro in the U.S. Pittsburgh is known both as “The Steel City” for its more than 300 steel-related businesses and as the “City of Bridges” for its 446 bridges. After its deindustrialization, Pittsburgh transformed into a hub for healthcare, education, and technology industries. Today, Pittsburgh is host to 19 hospitals, many of which are highly-acclaimed and feature numerous operating rooms.
Pittsburgh was named the second-most livable city in America from 2005 to 2018 by The Economist. The city offers a patchwork of neighborhoods that still retain the ethnic characteristics of their early history. These include German, Italian, Hispanic, African American, Jewish and Irish communities. Pittsburgh also offers a wide range of museums, entertainment, unique cuisine, parks, sporting teams, and a diverse cultural district.
With numerous hospitals, a high ranking for livability, and a very low cost of living, Pittsburgh makes an attractive location for your rewarding career as a surgical technologist.
23. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
For this ranking, the Milwaukee metro area includes Waukesha and West Allis, WI.
Average Annual Salary: $59,890
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $77,600
Average Hourly Wage: $28.79
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 84.9 (National Average: 100)
Milwaukee is the smallest metro area on this list by population. With about 1.5 million residents, Milwaukee is the 39th-largest metro area in the U.S. German immigrants heavily influenced the city’s history and it became well known for its brewing history. The town is home to several Fortune 500 companies, including Northwestern Mutual, WEC Energy Group, Rockwell Automation, and Harley-Davidson. There are 23 hospitals in the Milwaukee area, including five multi-hospital systems.
Milwaukee is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse cities in the United States. Major new additions to the city in the past two decades include Milwaukee Riverwalk, the Wisconsin Center, American Family Field, The Hop streetcar system. Milwaukee offers a variety of art museums, entertainment venues, sporting events, and concerts, along with Summerfest, one of the largest music festivals in the world.
Though it’s only the 23 on this list for job opportunity, the average salary for surgical techs is relatively high (sixth-highest on list), combine this with the second-lowest cost of living on this list, and Milwaukee has a lot to offer a current or future surgical tech.
24. Charlotte, North Carolina
For this ranking, the Charlotte metro area includes Concord and Gastonia, NC.
Average Annual Salary: $45,000
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $60,610
Average Hourly Wage: $21.63
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 99.2 (National Average: 100)
The Charlotte area is home to about 2.5 million people, making it the 22nd-largest metro in the United States. Between 2004 and 2014, Charlotte was the fastest-growing metro in the country. Charlotte’s notable attractions include NASCAR All-Star Race, the Wells Fargo Championship, NASCAR Hall of Fame, and the Charlotte Ballet. As of 2019, Charlotte had seven Fortune 500 companies, including Bank of America, Honeywell, and Lowe’s. In 2013, Forbes named Charlotte on its Best Places for Business and Careers list.
Residents of Charlotte are called “Charlotteans.” Those who live there say they enjoy the feeling of city living with a small-town flair. Their enviable lifestyle includes a variety of unique neighborhoods to fit your personality, great schools and universities, museums, gorgeous parks and outdoor venues, an amazing restaurant scene, and much more. Charlotte is home to several professional sports teams.
If you’re looking to move to a new job, Charlotte should be at the top of your list to consider. Though the average salary for surgical technologists in Charlotte is 24th on this list, it’s still a top 25 city, and it also has a cost of living that’s under the national average. A strong economy, plenty of job opportunities, and a desirable lifestyle make this city particularly attractive.
25. St. Louis, Missouri
Average Annual Salary: $45,670
Average 90th Percentile Salary: $61,640
Average Hourly Wage: $21.96
Overall Cost-of-Living Index: 81.3 (National Average: 100)
The St. Louis area is the 20th-largest metro in the U.S., with about 2.8 million residents. The city’s strong economy had an impressive metro GDP of more than $160 billion in 2017. The city offers growing tech, education, and healthcare industries and hosts an agglomeration of medical and pharmaceutical institutions. It is home to nine Fortune 500 companies, including Nestlé Purina PetCare, Anheuser-Busch, Anthem BlueCross and Blue Shield.
In 2019, St. Louis was ranked among the best places to live in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report. It was also named the best city for millennials by The Penny Hoarder. Among the city’s notable attractions are the spectacular Gateway Arch, St. Louis Zoo, and Missouri Botanical Garden, which is the second largest herbarium in North America. A family-friendly atmosphere, impressive school system, and an abundance of things to do and see (many of which are free), could make St. Louis the ideal lifestyle for you.
With plenty of job opportunities, a desirable lifestyle, and the lowest cost of living on this list, St. Louis has a lot to offer for your future as a surgical technologist.
About Brookline College
At Brookline College, our mission is to provide you with more than a degree or diploma. Our goal is to help you achieve your dreams for a brighter future. We offer an exceptional education in nursing, healthcare and business with on-campus programs in Arizona and New Mexico and online and hybrid programs. Our Surgical Technology program can be completed in about two years and provides the necessary training for entry-level positions as a surgical technologist. In addition, the program includes an externship where you will have the opportunity to experience the surgical tech profession first-hand by working closely with patients, doctors, administrators and other healthcare professionals. At Brookline College, your future starts now.