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How to Become a Surgical Tech Online

Dec 13, 2019

Surgical techs assist surgeons, doctors, and anesthesiologists while in surgery. Find out more about the surgical tech career and steps you can take to prepare for this career online.

Surgical Tech Career Information

Surgical techs are mostly responsible for handing instruments and tools to surgeons in the operating theater. Surgical techs might also be responsible for anticipating what tools a surgeon might need, setting up the operating room before surgery, sterilizing tools, making sure all patient information is accurate, readying patients for surgery by cleaning incision sites, and cleaning out the room once the surgery is completed. Due to the specificity of training required for this career, it can be quite difficult to prepare for it online. Check out the table below for basic info on this career.

Required Skills Dexterity, eye for detail, communication skills, stress management skills
Job Growth (2018-2028) 9%*
Median Salary (2018) $47,300 *

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps for Becoming a Surgical Tech Online

Due to the fact that surgical technologists typically need to learn in hands-on environments, there are not a lot of options for preparing for this career online. That having been said, all of the following steps involve an online component that can help you prepare for this career.

Step 1: Complete an Entry-Level Certificate Program

Although rare, there are hybrid certificate programs in surgical assisting that you can enroll in to get started building the skills and knowledge you will need for this career path. These certificate programs can offer you online education in subject areas such as anatomy, pharmacology, surgical procedure, and different surgical specialty areas. These programs typically, however, include in-person work, such as lab instruction from educators as well as hands-on experience under a sponsoring surgeon.

Step 2: Earn an Associate's Degree

There are essentially two routes for earning an associate's degree in surgical technology. Fully online programs are typically only open to practicing surgical technologists who already hold industry certification and are looking to upgrade to an associate's degree. Still, there are also options for those who wish to enroll in an associate's degree program to prepare for career entry. However, these programs are typically hybrid programs that involve both in-person work and work that must be completed online, similar to a surgical technologist certificate program. Hybrid programs offer a way for you to earn a degree in the field and prepare for certification, while fully online programs can be a good option for those who are already certified as surgical technologists.

Step 3: Consider Certification

Certification isn't always required, but it could help your career prospects and make advancement more accessible in the future. The certification process often involves passing an exam once you've met education prerequisites, so study can be essential for earning your surgical technology credentials. Luckily, there are some online tools and guides available to you to help prepare for certification. The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting, for instance, offers a few different study resources for its examination, including a test outline, an official exam prep app, and an online practice test. If you have completed a hybrid associate's degree program, however, you might have received specific test-prep instruction during your study.

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