Surgical technology programs are not available in fully online formats, due to the clinical training requirements. However, many schools offer these programs in hybrid formats with a combination of online and on-campus courses. Depending on the school, students may only be able to complete general education requirements online and then they must attend campus for all surgical technology courses. Similar certificate programs, such as medical assisting, are rare, but available as fully online curricula.
Certificate programs in surgical technology most often require clinicals in a hospital setting, in addition to on-campus attendance. Most programs also require applicants to have CNA certification and CPR credentials.
Some distance learning education programs in surgical technology may allow students to complete a few surgical technology courses via distance learning but still require some courses to be taken on site. Additionally, clinical rotations at hospitals are often integrated into the program. Course topics could include the following:
- Medical vocabulary
- Introduction to safe patient care
- Pharmacology for surgical technology
- Microbiology for the surgical technologist
- Techniques for operating room work
- Instrument preparation
- Sterilizing techniques
- Health care law and ethics
About Online Learning
Online learning typically allows students to complete studies at their convenience and pace, though assignments often have deadlines. Web-based courses provide training via virtual learning platforms. Students may be required to login a certain number of times per week and contribute to online discussion forums. Learning aids often include textbooks and video lectures. In addition, students are often able to communicate with instructors and peers through e-mails and chats.
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Overview of Schools
Hutchinson Community College
Hutchinson Community College in Hutchison, Kansas, offers a 10-month certificate program that includes a combination of on-campus, online and hybrid courses. Applicants must have current CPR and CNA credentials. The school has a high job placement rate, with more than 90% of graduates from the last five years actively employed in the surgical technology field.
Sussex County Community College
This New Jersey school offers a 12-month certificate program in surgical technology that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The program only accepts 12 students each year, and some of the courses are available in online and hybrid formats.
Career Information for Graduates
The goal of these programs is to train competent, multi-tasking surgical technologists. Surgical technologists provide surgical assistance to medical doctors and nurses. Their duties include preparing the operating room for surgery, communicating procedures to patients and helping patients get into position for surgeries.
Students seeking distance learning opportunities in surgical technology should be prepared to take hybrid classes that require both on-campus and off-campus training. Common courses may include medical terminology, pharmacology, and health care law. Fully online training in related fields such as medical assisting is also available.