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Online Operating Room Tech Training Programs

Although some training for operating room technicians - or surgical technologists - can be accomplished online, many of the programs are offered in a hybrid format because clinical requirements must be met. Read this article to find out more about online training programs, the curriculum and professional certification requirements.

Can I Complete My Operating Room Tech Training Online?

Programs for aspiring operating room technicians require lab and clinical components, so curricula aren't generally offered fully online. However, some schools offer degree programs in surgical technology in a hybrid format. You can take theoretical courses online and complete clinical practicum requirements at a local hospital.

Online AvailabilitySome programs are offered in a hybrid format, allowing you to complete some courses online while completing clinical experiences in person
Duration of ProgramAround 20 months
Common Course TopicsPhysiology, microbiology, medical terminology, surgical procedures, anatomy
CertificationAfter completing a training program, you are eligible to become certified through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA)
Median Salary (2018) $47,300 (for all surgical technologists)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 12% growth (for all surgical technologists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Training Programs are Available Online?

Training may be offered through public technical schools or private schools focused on online education and is accomplished through associate's degree programs in surgical or operating room technology. These degree programs prepare you for entry-level positions as part of a clinical team that ensures proper care throughout the operational procedure. Programs take about 20 months to complete and focus on the responsibilities and job duties of a surgical technologist, which include stocking the operating room for surgery, maintaining a sterile environment, passing instruments to doctors, cutting sutures, holding retractors and keeping track of instruments and supplies.

What Will I Learn in these Programs?

In a blended surgical technology program, you will be trained to use and maintain surgical equipment, work in a variety of surgical specialties and care for patients before and after their operations. You will also develop professional communication and computer literacy skills, as well as increase your understanding of human behavior. Along with general education courses and electives, you will study anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, general microbiology, medical terminology, pharmacology, surgical procedures and computer applications. Clinical labs and practicums provide hands-on training in an operating room.

Do Online Programs Prepare Me for Certification?

Blended programs in surgical technology may prepare you for certification through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). You must enroll in a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools if you plan to pursue certification through NBSTSA; graduation from an accredited program is necessary to sit for its examination. Although certification is voluntary, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers seek surgical technologists holding certification (www.bls.gov).