Online Surgical Tech Certification

Surgical technology certification requires completion of an accredited training or degree program. Learn about program requirements, courses of study, certification exams, employment outlook and salary info for surgical techs. Schools offering Surgical Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Is Certification a Requirement for Surgical Techs?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), certification is voluntary, but most employers like to hire techs that are certified ( You can earn certification by completing exams administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). According to the NBSTSA, certification is used to verify that you have gained the knowledge and skills required to work as a surgical tech ( To be eligible for certification you will need to graduate from an accredited surgical technician program.

CertificationCertification is voluntary, though may increase your employability
Program TypesThere are both certificate and associate degree programs available
Online AvailabilityThe certification exam must take place on-site at a predetermined testing center; some programs will offer coursework online
Salary$43,350 median salary for surgical technologists in 2014

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Programs Prepare Me for Certification?

You can enroll in certificate and associate degree programs that provide you with the skills required to become a certified surgical tech. On-campus programs prepare you for your role in the operating room, working with surgeons and nursing staff. You can learn about aseptic surgical techniques, instrument preparation and pharmacology. In addition to lectures and classroom time, you can expect to complete a residency in operating rooms and clinical settings.

Can I Earn Certification Online?

You are required to complete the certification exams at on-site testing centers. You can schedule your exam appointment time online and find study materials online at the NBSTSA website. You may also find colleges that offer online certificate programs in surgical technology. Online surgical technology programs can be limited to students in a specific region or available only to students with prior training. These programs require you to gain clinical experience at participating health facilities.

What Can I Do Once Certified?

After you successfully pass exams and become a certified surgical technologist (CST), you can work in operating rooms, outpatient surgery centers or in maternity units. Your responsibilities may include maintaining the sterility of operating rooms, preparing instruments for surgery and monitoring patient vital signs during surgery. According to the BLS, 15% growth is expected in this field between 2014-2024. The BLS reports that the median annual salary for surgery techs in May 2014 was $43,350.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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