Operating Room Technician Certification and Diploma Program Info

Apr 24, 2020

Essential Information

Operating room (OR) technicians, also called surgical technologists, assist surgeons, nurses and physicians before and during surgical procedures. They prepare the operating room, manage equipment and perform basic surgical tasks. Students need a high school diploma or GED, criminal background check, and a drug screening completed before beginning the certificate or diploma programs.

Certificate and Diploma Programs in Operating Room Technology

Many courses in a surgical technology program focus on actual operating room procedures; however, students also learn through lab studies and internships in hospital operating rooms. Examples of course topics include these:

  • Patient care techniques
  • Anatomy & physiology
  • Surgical procedures
  • Aseptic techniques
  • Infection and immunology

Popular Career Options

Employment opportunities for both certificate and degree holders include:

  • Surgical technologists
  • Surgical technicians
  • Operating room technicians
  • Scrubs

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that jobs for surgical technologists were expected to increase by 9% between 2018 and 2028. This is faster than the average job growth ( In 2019, the BLS reported that surgical technologists earned an average salary of $50,110.

Continuing Education

The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) offers voluntary certification for operating room technicians through its Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam. Eligible candidates must have earned a minimum of a certificate or diploma from an accredited program and must pass a certification examination. To maintain certification, candidates must complete 60 hours of continuing education.

The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) also offers certification to individuals who meet the requirements.

A certificate or diploma program in operating room technology prepares students to work with other medical professionals during surgical procedures. Students complete several courses ranging from patient care techniques to surgical procedures, as well as participate in an internship and lab studies to prepare them for the operating room.

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