Online Surgical Tech Training Programs

Online Surgical Tech Training Programs

If you have ever imagined yourself working behind the scenes in operating rooms, assisting surgeons, doctors, and nurses with life-saving surgical procedures — this is the guide for you!

This guide provides essential information about online surgical training programs for prospective students.

Keep reading to learn what surgical technicians do, the benefits of taking online ST training programs, and which agencies offer CIS certification in the guide below.

Article Table of Contents

What is a Surgical Technician?

Surgical technicians (also known as Perioperative Technicians) are integral members of America’s healthcare teams.

They work in operating rooms, taking on a variety of surgery-related tasks to support surgeons and other healthcare providers on surgical teams by providing hands-on support during surgical procedures.

Surgical Technician Job Duties

The daily job duties of surgical technicians can vary by facility or employer.

Job duties described below are typical of ST working in America’s hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, and clinics:

  • Operation Room Prep: One of the most important tasks of today’s surgical techs is to ensure that operating rooms are cleaned, sterilized, and ready to receive new patients.
  • Patient Preparation and Support: Surgical technicians often prep patients for surgery by administering pre-surgical techniques and procedures needed for surgery.
  • Side-by-Side Support: A fundamental duty of perioperative technicians is to pass surgical instruments, tools, and supplies to surgeons during operating procedures.
  • Counting and Tracking: Surgical techs help surgeons and their teams keep track of how many surgical sponges are in use during procedures. They also monitor where surgical sponges and instruments are during operations.

Where Do Surgical Technicians Typically Work?

Hospitals: STs who work in hospitals play crucial roles as assistants to attending surgeons and surgery teams.

They prepare operating rooms and maintain sterile environments for impending surgical procedures:

  • Outpatient Surgery Centers: Patients who get surgery at outpatient surgery centers get hands-on support from surgical techs who prepare them for procedures and provide post-operative care.
  • Medical and Healthcare Clinics: Surgical techs work in medical clinics to offer hands-on support for medical procedures for pre-op and post-op patient care activities.
  • Universities and Medical Schools: Certified technicians assist students and faculty members with experiential learning activities through surgical simulations and lab exercises.

What Steps Are Required to Complete Online Surgical Technician Training Certification Online?

  • Research Accredited Programs
  • Evaluate Program Requirements
  • Complete Program Prerequisites
  • Apply and Enroll
  • Request Financial Aid

Benefits of Online Surgical Technician Training Programs

1. Flexible Scheduling

Taking online coursework provides flexibility for working students and those with other familial, medical, and parental responsibilities.

Online programs can offer students the option to take courses as self-paced options any time of the day, night, or weekend with 24-hour access.

2. Affordability and Cost Savings

Students who take online surgical technician training courses often find that web-based programs are more affordable than in-person learning options.

Online students can take advantage of reduced tuition and fees, which eliminate the need for travel-related expenses like gas and on-campus accommodations.

Buying online course materials and e-books is also usually cheaper than buying textbooks.

3. Convenience

The main reason most students take their certification classes online is because it is convenient.

Students who take online surgical technician courses appreciate the convenience of being able to log into their web-based classes anywhere they have internet access and a compatible device.

 4. Variety of Web-Based Formats Enhance Learning

Self-paced learning options offer always-on access to ST learning materials where students can proceed through assigned modules and coursework at their own pace.

There are also instructor-led training options where students engage with their instructors and classmates via internet-connected audio and video channels for real-time collaboration.

5. Access to a Variety of Online Resources

Online students have access to a comprehensive range of enriching learning materials and resources.

Having access to additional resources like interactive tutorials, multimedia presentations, and virtual simulations can give online students an advantage over traditional students without access to supplemental learning and enrichment materials.

Drawbacks of Online Surgical Technician Training Programs

While taking online surgical technician training programs has many perks, there are also a few downsides to getting ST education completely online.

The following are a few common examples of drawbacks faced by online students.

1. Limited Hands-On Support

A major drawback of taking ST courses entirely online is that students may lack immediate feedback from instructors and peers when they have specific questions or concerns about the material covered in the course.

Lack of direct support can limit student’s ability to identify and correct mistakes during training quickly.

2. Self-Discipline Can Become a Concern for Unmotivated Students

Students who take online surgical technician training programs must be motivated and able to complete their online coursework and modules without reminders.

Aspiring technicians struggling with self-motivation may find it difficult to complete coursework on time, which can lead to delays in completing online programs and missing deadlines.

3. Lack of Access to Immersive Clinical Experience

A lack of immersive clinical experience can be a significant downside of taking ST training programs online.

Students can resolve this issue by enrolling in programs that offer hybrid learning options where they can be locally assigned for experiential learning and on-the-job training opportunities.

4. Social Isolation

Students who enjoy banter and engaging with their peers may find taking online classes to be an isolating experience.

Online learning can offer limited opportunities for collaboration, team building, and forming lasting bonds with classmates.

5. Lack of Networking Opportunities

Many traditional brick-and-mortar schools that offer surgical technician training also provide networking events where students, instructors, and industry professionals can meet and discuss best practices and the latest techniques.

Online students may find fewer options for networking but can remedy this lack by attending virtual networking events online.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Surgical Technician Training Programs – Summary Table

Benefits of Online Surgical Technician Training ProgramsDrawbacks of Online Surgical Technician Training Programs
1. Flexible Scheduling1. Limited Hands-On Support
2. Affordability and Cost Savings2. Self-Discipline Can Become a Concern for Unmotivated Students
3. Convenience3. Lack of Access to Immersive Clinical Experience
4. Variety of Web-Based Formats Enhance Learning4. Social Isolation
5. Access to a Variety of Online Resources5. Lack of Networking Opportunities

What Courses Are in an Online Surgical Technician Training Program?

Online ST students will find a variety of healthcare-related courses included in their programs.

Web-based training programs teach students the fundamentals of human anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and pathology.

Students will also learn about ethical principles and legal standards they are required to adhere to as certified surgical technicians.

Following are examples of courses and course descriptions for classes typically offered in online surgical tech training programs:

  • Pathology: Online ST students are often required to take pathology classes to gain a basic understanding of disease processes that can affect the human body. Course variations can include cellular pathology, tissue pathology, systemic pathology, and related pathology courses.
  • Pharmacology: Technicians will learn about the general principle of drug actions, interactions, and drug reactions to understand how pharmaceutical drugs interact with the body as they provide support for surgical teams. Course variations may include drug classification, pre-operative pharmacology, post-operative pharmacology, dosage calculations, and route of drug administration.
  • Microbiology: Understanding how microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites affect the human body are some of the factors taught in microbiology for online surgical technician students. Course variations may include basic microbiology, pathogenic microorganisms, healthcare-associated infections, sterilization, disinfection, and anti-microbial agents.
  • Surgery and Surgical Procedures: One of the most important courses, ST students will teach the basics of surgical procedures for pre-operative and post-operative care. Students learn about critical surgical principles and techniques used in the operating room to provide patient care before, during, and after surgeries.
  • Equipment and Technology Maintenance: One of the critical duties of surgical technicians is to understand the different types of medical equipment used in operating rooms and surgery centers. Students will learn how to clean, sterilize, troubleshoot, and store surgical equipment and tools in hospitals, clinics, and outpatient surgery centers.
  • Legal and Ethical Considerations: Today’s surgical technicians are allied health professionals who are required to understand the legal, ethical, and professional obligations of their role. Topics covered may include patient confidentiality, patient rights and informed consent, professional conduct, and standards of practice.
  • Clinical Practicum: Surgical tech students are required to complete in-person clinical training where they get hands-on experience in their fields and earn program completion credits.

Students will apply theoretical knowledge to real-world patient care through experiential learning options recommended by program directors or by partnering with an approved local healthcare facility.

Can You Earn Surgical Technician Certification Completely Online?


In-person clinical experience is required to complete these programs to help students develop the necessary skills for providing error-free patient care as certified technicians.

How Long Does it Take to Earn Surgical Technician Training Certification Online?

The time it takes to complete an online surgical technician training program can vary between programs and students.

Most online students can complete the web-based portion of their training and their clinical Practicum within 2–4 years of enrollment.

Full-time students can complete most online programs within two years, while part-time students may take up to four years to meet all program requirements.

How Much Does an Online Surgical Technician Training Program Cost?

The costs of online surgical tech training programs can vary between programs.

Some programs offer complete learning packages starting at around $3,500.00.

In contrast, other programs charge as much as $19,000 for instructor-led online instruction with interactive classroom features, e-books, and unlimited access to online student resources.

The average cost of online surgical technician training programs falls between $3,500 and $19,000 per year.

Online students concerned about covering the cost of their training programs can reduce their online ST program costs by applying for financial aid grants and loans or taking advantage of low monthly payment options.

Schools Offering Online Surgical Technician Training Program

School Name Address
Health Tech Academy
Rasmussen University 16418 State Road 54 Odessa, FL 33556
Concorde Career Colleges 6701 W. 64th St. #200 Overland Park, KS 66202
Berkeley College 12 East 41st Street, New York, NY 10017
Madisonville Community College 2000 College Drive Madisonville, KY 42431
The University of Montana 1300 West Park Street Butte, MT 59701
Saint Paul College 235 Marshall Avenue Saint Paul, MN 55102
AMERICATION CAREER AND TRAINING SCHOOL 24 Commerce St, Ste 401 Newark, New Jersey 07102
North Central Texas College 1525 W. California St. Gainesville, TX 76240
Franklin University 201 S Grant Ave. Columbus, OH 43215
Midlands Technical College Columbia, SC 29202
HCC 3100 Main Street, Houston TX 77002

Types of Online Surgical Technician Training Program Certifications

The National Board of Surgical Technicians and Assistants provides professional certification credentials for students who have completed online or traditional surgical technician training programs.

The Certified Surgical Technologist Credential (CIS) is one of the most sought-after and highly coveted certifications in the industry.

Potential candidates should note that some states may offer their state-based certification options.

It is important for online students to do their research and check with the rules and regulations of your state to learn about certification options for graduating technicians.

4 Self-Study Tips for Online Surgical Technology Students

Taking web-based classes online is easier when you have a clear study plan and are committed to your success.

As such, students in training can prepare for success in online surgical technician training programs by following a few of the tips below.

Self-Study Tip #1. – Create a Dedicated Study Space

One of the best ways to set yourself up for success when taking online surgical technician training programs is to create a dedicated study space.

Organize your space to make sure your learning resources and job aides are nearby and within reach when you’re taking classes.

Self-Study Tip #2. – Develop a Consistent Study Schedule

Practicing consistency is another excellent way to prepare for working in the field as a certified surgical technician.

These allied health professionals are required to have above-average organization skills, meticulousness, and the ability to pay attention to minute details.

Developing a consistent study schedule will help you cement these skills by creating a daily or weekly practice of studying.

Self-Study Tip #3. – Seek Help When Needed

Many online students make the mistake of not reaching out to their online instructors or peers when they have a question.

Use your program-provided contact information to email or chat with your instructors to avoid making learning mistakes that can lead to a massive setback in your learning plan.

Self-Study Tip #4. – Set Realistic Goals

Being self-motivated and powering through your online coursework takes drive, dedication, and determination.

As such, it is crucial to set realistic goals for program completion to avoid making costly mistakes and burnout.

Start by setting small goals for completing online coursework and modules and adjust your goals according to your comfort level.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have an idea of what to expect in an online surgical technician program, the next step is to research available programs.

Choose programs that meet your learning style, lifestyle, and budget to begin your new career as a surgical technician online!

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