Scrub Nurses are surgical nurses who assist surgeons during operations. They set up operating rooms and perform duties during surgical procedures, such as handing the doctor tools they request.
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Being a Scrub Nurse puts you in the heart of the OR, right alongside surgeons performing a wide range of procedures. You may be by their side as they remove a life-threatening tumor, perform back surgery, or operate on a child with a heart defect.
Scrub Nurses are slightly different from circulating nurses in terms of responsibilities. As their name implies, Scrub Nurses perform surgical scrubs before and during procedures, sterilizing the operating environment.
A Scrub Nurse stays in the operating room and provides assistance to the doctor and other Scrub Nurses throughout the procedure; circulating nurses work outside the operative site, recording processes, counting surgical instruments, and handling any specimens retrieved from the patient by the doctor.
If you are interested in a hands-on nursing career in the surgical field, a Scrub Nurse could be the ideal job for you.
This guide will show you what you can expect regarding pay, education, and training requirements.
A note about our data. We use the median of the data gathered from The BLS at data.bls.gov and other salary data sources such as Salary.com, Indeed.com and Zippia.com. We believe that this is the best average to follow, rather than the mean or mode. The mean will find the average of all salaries in each state; the mode will favor the most frequently reported salaries. However, the median will find the middle. All data in this report will favor the middle salary from all ranges, which means 50% will fall below and 50% will be above the salary data reported below. On another note, we have removed data from Puerto Rico, Guam, and The Virgin Islands from the data we have sourced as we have focused on the 50 US States plus The District Of Colombia.
Scrub Nurse Salaries in the United States
Scrub Nurses, also known as perioperative nurses, are a type of nurse specialists. They have completed additional training on top of their RN education to perform specific duties in the operating room.
As such, they have higher salaries than a RN or floor nurse. According to ZipRecruiter, Scrub Nurse salaries in the United States range between $74,000 to over $106,000 per year.
The highest earning Scrub Nurses in the US (90th percentile) earn over $100,00 per year, while the 75th percentile earns roughly $95,000.
Some of the lower-paying states pay Scrub Nurses in the 25th percentile between $40,300 $46,499 annually.
On average, you can expect to earn approximately $74,004 to $95,875 annually as a Scrub Nurse. This is equal to $36 to $45.22 per hour (Indeed).
How Much Does A Scrub Nurse Make In A Year?
According to the leading employment website statistics, the average Scrub Nurse salary in the U.S. ranges from $70,000 to $106,000 annually.
The exact salary each nurse earns will vary based on location and experience.
How Much Does A Scrub Nurse Make Per Hour?
The hourly pay for surgical nurses in America ranges from $36 to over $80 per hour. Starting hourly wages will be lower than those of nurses who have worked in the OR for years.
Hourly earnings vary by state, experience level, and location. Even two nurses in the same hospital can earn different hourly wages based on how long they’ve been in the field.
Scrub Nurses Salary by State
We compiled the average Scrub Nurse annual salary and hourly wage by state using Zippia and Indeed.
Combined, we calculated the average median U.S. Scrub Nurse salary and hourly wage.
According to our research, the median hourly pay for an operating room nurse is $35.27, and the median annual salary is $73,366.
Hourly median wage
Annual median wage
Compared To National Average
District of Columbia
Factors That Affect How Much a Scrub Nurse Makes
Scrub Nurses will have different earnings based on their years of experience, education, certifications, and job credentials.
Depending on your state, operating nurses will earn an average that is either on par with, above, or below the rest of the nation. This base figure will influence how much you earn overall in addition to any additional years or certifications.
How Quickly Can You Become A Scrub Nurse And Start Working?
Scrub Nurses are registered nurses who specialize in perioperative (operating room) care. They all begin their journey by earning a degree from an accredited school, followed by several years of experience and possible additional certifications.
You will often see jobs listed as “Registered Nurse - Operating Room” or “Registered Nurse - OR” for Scrub Nurse positions.
The minimum requirement for becoming a registered nurse in the U.S. is at least an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN).
All prospective RNs must also pass the national NCLEX exam before applying for their state nursing license.
Additional certification for Scrub Nurses includes the ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) and CNOR (certified perioperative nurse).
Scrub Nurse Career Path:
Earn your associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited nursing program in your state.
Pass the NCLEX and apply for a state license.
Earn certifications for operating room nurses, such as the ACLS, CNOR, CNFA (Certified Nurse First Assistant), and CMSRN (Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse).
While not all hospitals require additional certifications to work in the Operating Room, employers are becoming increasingly common to only hire Scrub Nurses with additional experience and training.
Earning specialized certifications in operating room nursing/perioperative care can qualify you for more jobs and increase your earning potential.
Scrub Nurse Earnings vs. Other Nursing Professions
Below are some comparisons between how much the average surgical nurse makes compared to similar nursing professionals.
Average Scrub Nurse salary: $73,366
Nurse Practitioner (NP): $116,358
Registered Nurse (RN): $76,944.90
Pro re nata Nurses (PRN): $51,102
CRNA Nurse Anesthetist: $140,357.71
Triage nurse: $69,283.65
Charge nurse: $73.298.27
Based on these figures, Scrub Nurses earn an average salary in the nursing field, but they do earn less than those with additional certifications.
Suppose you ever want to further your career. In that case, you can always return to school for a master’s degree or pursue additional certifications to become a nurse manager, CRNA nurse anesthetist, or surgical nurse practitioner.
Scrub Nurse FAQs
Am I Being Paid Fairly As A Scrub Nurse?
Scrub Nurses are all entitled to fair pay and overtime for their services. Mandatory overtime for nurses is prohibited in the U.S. except in cases of a declared emergency.
You can determine how fair your wage is by comparing it to the national average and the median earnings in your state.
If you find out that you earn far less than your colleagues or other nurses in your area, you should compile evidence and bring this up with your employer.
Are Scrub Nurses Paid Mostly Hourly Or Annually?
Most Scrub Nurses work eight to ten hours a day during operating hours, though some may work nights in emergency care or be on-call to assist in emergency surgeries.
It’s common for Scrub Nurses to receive hourly pay, but employers may offer some a full-time position and, as a result, a fixed salary with overtime and other benefits.
Do Scrub Nurses Get Paid Overtime?
Yes, Scrub Nurses receive overtime, which their employer sets. The legal overtime requirement is 1.5 the hourly wage, so if you earn $36 an hour, your overtime rate would be $54 per hour.
Because most Scrub Nurses work day shifts during scheduled operations, overtime is not as common. When it does occur, they are legally entitled to be fairly paid for working more than 40 hours a week, like any other healthcare professional.
Do Scrub Nurses Get Paid More Privately Or In Hospitals? Scrub Nurses specialize in operating room care, so they always work in hospitals, surgical centers, or ambulatory centers.
Nurses who want to deliver home healthcare may decide to specialize in post-operative care if they are interested in tending to patients recovering from procedures.
What State Pays Scrub Nurses The Most Per Hour?
Hawaii has the highest Scrub Nurse salary at $57.65 per hour, or $119,905. This salary is 63% higher than the national average for all Scrub Nurses.
Other states with high-paying Scrub Nurse positions include
California: $50.89 per hour (44% above national average)
Michigan: $43.04 per hour (22% above national average)
New York: $42.19 (20% above national average)
Massachusetts: $41.52 (18% above national average)
You can consider relocating to a state with higher pay for a full-time position, but this may also come with a higher cost of living.
States such as Hawaii, California, and New York are some of the most expensive to live in, so the higher pay helps balance the average cost of housing, food, and transportation.
If you are interested in earning more and traveling, you may look into becoming a travel nurse. This position would allow you to see different parts of the country and earn $2,800 or more a week for short-term assignments.
Can You Live Off a Scrub Nurse's Salary in The US?
The average Scrub Nurse earns $73,366.94, while the average salary for all occupations in the U.S. is $58,260 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021). $19 876.94 higher than the national average annual salary.
Given their earnings, most Scrub Nurses will bring home $6,113.91 per month before taxes and other deductions.
This amount should be enough for you to live independently on your salary as a Scrub Nurse in the U.S. However, this does depend on where you live and the lifestyle you have.
If you live in a state with a higher cost of living, you are more likely to be given a higher salary or hourly wage.
This high cost of living can “even out” your earnings, so they reflect the average compared to your state’s cost of living.