A surgical technician career is fast-paced and hands-on which means your education will happen in the classroom. Currently there are no online surgical technician programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
However, if you're looking for an online program to get you started in the health care field, other options, including medical assisting and surgical assisting, are available. These can be solid jumping off points if you decide to enroll in a surgical tech program later.
Why Accreditation is Important
Most employers and some states require surgical technicians to be certified by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. In order to sit for the exam, you'll need to complete an accredited program. Upon passing the certification exam, you'll be able to use the title "Certified Surgical Technologist (CST)."
The National Center for Competency Testing also offers certification to those who pass an exam and have a formal education from an accredited school.
If you decide to enroll in another allied health program—online or not—you'll want to look for schools accredited by the appropriate accrediting body.
Whether you plan to earn a certificate or associate's degree, an online program in surgical assisting or medical assisting will require students to have the following:
- A reliable computer
- High-speed Internet access
- An email account
Your ability to communicate via the Internet will determine the success of your relationships with your instructors and fellow students. Make sure you're adequately prepared by familiarizing yourself with the following:
- The software that your online school uses for instruction
- The amount and method of communication that each instructor expects from you
- The online forums that will be used for group discussions.
The Successful Online and On-Campus Student
Surgical technicians need to be able to think on their feet during hours of intense surgery, and degree programs, online or not, are designed to prepare students for such demanding work. Here are some characteristics of a successful student:
Involved: Students enrolled in surgical tech programs have many opportunities for interaction with instructors and peers. Don't be afraid to call or email your instructor when you have any questions. You can find additional support in the form of study groups as well.
- Organized: Students who are organized are able to combat distractions when they are trying to study at home. If you think you are lacking in this area, set up a space and time that is reserved for your schoolwork only.
- Disciplined: While keeping up with required reading, completing homework and taking tests at your own pace online can be very liberating, the work can quickly pile up if you lack self-motivation. Students succeed in their classes when they use discipline to break work into manageable tasks and stick to a daily routine.
- Focused: If you have trouble staying focused, create a calendar detailing expected timeframes for completion of schoolwork. Refer to the calendar as often as possible in order to track your progress.