What Education Do I Need for an Operating Room Technician Career?

Surgical technologist training programs will help prepare you for a career as an operating room technician. For this career, you'll need a diploma, a certificate, or an associate's degree. This article details the skills learned in a surgical technology degree program and the types of programs available. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Operating room technicians, also known as surgical technologists or scrubs, provide support to surgical assistants and surgeons throughout a surgical procedure. They are responsible for preparing the operating room, assembling and handling surgical tools, and cleaning the room after surgery. A related profession, that of the sterile processing technician, involves decontaminating and sterilizing surgical equipment and tools.

Important Facts About Operating Room Technicians

Online Availability Degrees not commonly offered online due to hands-on component
Degree/Certificate Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent
Degree Fields Surgical technology
Median Pay (2018) $47,300
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 12% increase in employment (faster than average)
Work Environment Most work in hospitals; many employed in outpatient care centers or physicians' offices; work can be physically demanding: required to stand for long periods, may need to lift and move patients. Evening, weekend, and holiday work common

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education

Operating room technicians are educated through training programs offered by vocational schools, universities, hospitals, and junior colleges. Entry into these programs, which award a certificate, diploma, or associate's degree, generally requires a high school diploma. If you're planning to enroll in an operating room technician training program, the best preparation in high school would include classes in health, biology, mathematics, and chemistry.

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org) accredits 466 schools offering surgical technologist programs. The most common type of education program, offered at 249 schools, results in an associate's degree. Slightly fewer schools offer certificate programs, and 124 award diplomas for operating room technicians.

Curriculum

Operating room technicians need to understand how they can best ensure that surgeries proceed safely and cleanly. Training programs reflect the need for this specialized vocational knowledge. An Associate of Science in Surgical Technology program provides two years of instruction in medical terminology, pharmacology, pathophysiology, and surgical practice. Some operating room technician programs, including those affiliated with the Mayo Clinic, may also provide you with clinical experience.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Independence University

    Independence University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Independence University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Northern Illinois University

    Northern Illinois University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northern Illinois University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available