Travel CVOR tech career guide

Midge Lee, BSN, RN.
October 11, 2023
Reading time:
5 min
Cardiovascular OR header

Travel CVOR techs, also known as travel cardiovascular operating room techs, are specialized surgical technologists. Travel CVOR techs assist medical professionals like surgeons in operating rooms during cardiovascular procedures like open heart surgery. Travel CVOR techs work in high-stress environments at a speedy pace. To be a successful travel CVOR tech, you must be able to function efficiently and precisely under pressure.

The outlook for CVOR travel jobs is bright, with demand expected to remain strong due to an aging population and the widespread prevalence of heart disease. The skills that travel CVOR techs have make them extraordinarily valuable to cardiovascular surgery teams.

What does a travel CVOR tech do?

Travel CVOR techs play a critical role in cardiovascular surgical teams. They work with healthcare professionals like surgeons, nurses, and other surgical staff, and prioritize patient safety by sterilizing surgical tools, maintaining a sterile field, and providing appropriate surgical tools and equipment in a timely fashion.

High-stakes precision and working quickly under pressure are the name of the game, and experienced travel CVOR techs execute on these flawlessly. In addition to patient care, travel CVOR have routine tasks they must complete throughout the day, including:

Surgery review

When a travel CVOR tech starts their day, they do so by reviewing their schedule of surgeries to know what type of surgeries they will be assisting in, and how many are scheduled for the day.

Operating room setup

Travel CVOR techs are responsible for setting up the operating room. During this process, they will set up sterile instruments being used for the surgery, setup surgical equipment, and check that the operating room is ready for surgery.


During surgery, travel CVOR techs anticipate the surgeon's needs by having the proper instruments ready and equipped for quick handoff to the surgeon.

Operating room cleanup

Travel CVOR techs are in charge of cleaning the OR and sanitizing surgical instruments in preparation for the next surgery.


Travel CVOR techs update patient medical records, document the use of surgical instruments in procedures, and any follow up on any other paperwork required.

How much does a travel CVOR tech earn?

Travel CVOR tech pay depends on many different factors including location, experience, facility demand, education, and certifications. The total weekly compensation for travel CVOR techs is $64 per hour, including a travel stipend.

How do you become a licensed travel CVOR tech?

Step 1: complete educational requirements

To become a travel CVOR tech, you’ll need at least a high school diploma before completing an associates or bachelors degree with an accredited surgical technologist program.

Step 2: pass certification exams and obtain certification

After your educational requirements have been fulfilled, you are eligible to take a certification exam from one of two primary certifying organizations such as the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) and the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). You can obtain your Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credential from NBSTSA, or opt for the Tech in Surgery - Certified (TS-C) credential from NCCT. Certification requirements may vary between state, so be sure to check with the state regulatory board of where you intend to work.

Step 3: get specialized training and experience

After you have become licensed as a surgical technologist, you can start the process of specializing in CVOR tech. To do this, you’ll need to gain hands-on experience training in cardiovascular procedures. You can also choose to take specialized courses or workshops. Alternatively, your facility may offer training programs or fellowships you can take advantage of to expedite your career as a travel CVOR tech.

How long does it take to become a travel CVOR tech?

The time it takes to become a licensed travel CVOR technologist depends on a few different factors. First, whether or not you earn a two or four year degree can make an impact on how fast you can start gaining work experience as a surgical tech. Secondly, being prepared for your CVOR tech exam can help ensure you pass the first time without delay. In general, it takes around two to five years to become a travel CVOR tech after completing a surgical technologist program, although everyone's career trajectory is slightly different.

Are travel CVOR techs in high-demand?

Yes, travel CVOR technologists are in high-demand because of the specialized nature of their skills. Travel CVOR techs are often hired by facilities that regularly provide cardiac surgical services. Their well-rounded cardiovascular surgery expertise makes them extraordinarily valuable to facilities with staffing shortages.

What certification do travel CVOR techs need?

Certifications are an excellent way for travel CVOR techs to show their expertise and increase their skills. Most of these certifications are awarded by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Assisting (NBSTA) and the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT).The requirements to practice as a CVOR tech varies by state and facility; be sure to check with each state’s regulatory board and facility requirements to be sure of what you need.

Certified Surgical Technologist (CST)

This certification is administered by NBSTA. Many facilities require and accept this certification for CVOR tech jobs.

Tech in Surgery-Certified (TS-C)

The certification is administered by NCCT. Many facilities and states may require and accept this certification for CVOR tech jobs.

Certified Surgical First Assistants (NBSTA-CSFA)

This certification is administered by NBSTA. Although this certification qualifies you to be a surgical first-assist, a few facilities may accept this certification for CVOR tech jobs.

Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification

Most hospitals and facilities require travel CVOR techs to be certified in basic life support in the event of an emergency situation.

Travel CVOR tech healthcare sources

  1. National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). (n.d.). Home. Retrieved from
  2. National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). (n.d.). Home. Retrieved from

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Author profile

Midge Lee, BSN, RN.
Midge is a registered nurse with eight years of clinical experience in ER, ICU, and home health. After travel nursing for a couple of years, she transitioned from the bedside to writing full-time. She’s passionate about diversity and trauma-informed care and will write hospital haikus if you ask nicely. Currently, she’s an SEO content writer at Nomad Health.
Published: Oct. 11, 2023
Modified: Oct. 11, 2023