Do you aspire to be a Surgical Tech? Great! Because you could grasp such a rewarding career even without a degree.

You know the hassle of a degree program, the cost, the effort, and the time. But to become a Surgical tech, you can just enroll in an Online Program and within a few months you are job-ready.

But wait! It’s not that easy. What if you fall for the wrong program? Your hard-earned money, time, and effort – WASTED. Your heart and dreams – SHATTERED

Don’t worry! We ain’t gonna let that happen. 

In this article, we are going to help you choose the right program, and recommend you an ideal online surgical tech program that we have vetted for in 2024.

Let’s explore –

Accredited Online Surgical Tech Programs

How to Choose an Online Surgical Tech Program?  

Choosing an ideal online surgical tech problem could be tricky if you don’t know the basics. By basics, we mean, what exactly the program should offer. God forbid, but if you fall for the wrong one, you’ll not only lose your hard-earned Dollar, but your Time, and Effort would also go in vain.

What exactly could go wrong, you might be wondering. Consider this, what if post-completion when you apply for certification the provider rejects your application, the employers question you about the program you have undergone for they have never heard of it, or you haven’t learned a thing?   


-> What is a Surgical Tech?

-> What Does a Surgical Tech Do?

-> How to Become a Surgical Tech?

Would that fulfill the purpose? No! So, what should you really check while choosing a surgical tech program for you, let’s find out.

It should be Self-Paced & 100% Online

Some programs market themselves as fully online but actually offer a hybrid solution. Although, you can attend some classes online, while for others you need to attend scheduled classes on campus. If you are fine neglecting your convenience, that’s perfectly okay. But for many, the convenience of 100% online classes is unparalleled. So should be for you!

With 100% online courses you can learn from the comfort of your home. If you really need to visit the campus what’s the use of taking online programs? 

So before finalizing on a program the first thing you need to check is, if the program is 100% online, you can learn from your home, and from any devices; or else that is not recommended.

The other aspect you should check is if the program is offering self-paced learning. There are many programs that are 100% online but come with fixed scheduled lectures, just like your school classes. It’s like taking school classes from home. Where, if you miss any lectures, you have missed it and can get it only when the teacher reschedules it again for you. 

So, we recommend you take up self-paced, on-demand programs to negate the fear of lagging behind or missing any lectures. With these features, you can learn when you want, how you want, and resume from where you left off.  

Check #1 -> Only Opt for 100% Online Programs with On-Demand Classes and Self-Paced Learning feature.

Read More:

-> Surgical Tech Schools Online

-> Surgical Tech Classes & Courses

-> Surgical Tech Program & Training

You Should be Prepared for National Certifications

For the entry-level roles, the employers know they won’t get experienced professionals so they seek professionals that have proven their knowledge and are tested.  For that, there is a set parameter – being a Certified Surgical Tech. 

To become certified, you need to clear an exam conducted by various institutions like NBSTSA, NCCT, or NCST by AAH. Once you have passed the exam you become nationally certified surgical tech. 

We suggest you choose an online training program that prepares you for the national certification exam. Most online students go for the NCST certification exam offered by the AAH. Since this exam is more beginner-friendly. With experience, you can later acquire any other certifications like NBSTSA or NCCT. 

Check #2 -> Choose Programs that Prepare you for National Certification.

You May Also Like: 

-> Surgical Tech License

-> Surgical Tech Certification

-> How to Become a Certified Surgical Tech?

-> Can You Be a Surgical Tech Without Certification?

Opportunity for Clinical Experience

Surgical Tech Major

You have undergone online training but you are going to work in the operating room setting with surgeons and surgical professionals. Well, the last thing you want to happen on your first day at the job is passing a blade when they ask you for a scalpel. To avoid such moments, you want to have some clinical experience under your belt.

During the externship period, you’ll understand the instruments, the sterile techniques, surgical techniques, how to pass the instruments, anticipate the surgeon’s needs, and how to conduct and prepare the operating room.

Therefore, we suggest you choose online programs that offer you clinical experience opportunities so that you don’t feel nervous about the job and can conduct yourself in the OR. We feel it is the responsibility of the program providers to mandatorily provide externship opportunities for the students.

Externships are opportunities provided to students to work in healthcare settings for 3 to 4 weeks under experienced surgical techs and in OR settings so that they can gain some hands-on experience and learn things practically. Also, this experience is something you can show off in your resume and it does loads of good for your application. 

Check #3 -> A Big NO to Programs that Don’t Offer Externships.

Read More:

-> Surgical Tech Salary

-> Surgical Tech Requirements

Training Should Be From An Accredited Source

The important aspect to check before finalizing your online program is to check if the program is accredited or not. You must have come across courses from some random YouTubers or private organizations that are not accredited by CAAHEP or ABHES.

In such cases, your time, money, and effort would go in vain. Employers too would not take your certification and knowledge seriously because they never heard of that program. You can’t fool them as they know exactly which are accredited programs, and that might raise instant red flags.

Check #4 -> Say Yes to only CAAHEP or ABHES accredited programs. 

Now, we hope, you have developed a clear idea of how to choose the right program for yourself, what to check, and what to avoid. We understand how difficult it could be to research and find the ideal programs that tick all the boxes, so we have vetted one program for you. Probably the best we have in 2024. 

Also Read:

-> AST Surgical Tech 

-> NCCT Surgical Tech

-> Surgical Tech Study Guide

Recommended: Online Surgical Tech Program –> Preppy

Preppy is an organization committed to making career certifications easier to acquire. We talked about the features your Surgical Tech program must have; Preppy is the one that ticks all the boxes. 

Here’s what you get with Preppy’s Surgical Tech program –

100% Online & Self-Paced

We hope you by now understand the convenience of 100% Online, On-demand, and self-paced features in a surgical tech program. With Preppy, you get all of that.  

Take your lessons from anywhere, anytime, from any device with no schedules or fear of lagging behind. Also, you can learn at your pace and learning style.

Prepares You to Be Certified

Certifications are formal credential that enhances your career prospects by validating your competence in the field. They are important and valuable.

Preppy prepares you for the NCST certification exam conducted by the AAH. This means you are certification-ready faster than the rest. Once certified, you are job-ready.  

Also Read:

-> AST Surgical Tech 

-> NCCT Surgical Tech

-> Surgical Tech Study Guide

University Certificate

We all desire a university certificate. The prestige and recognition it adds are priceless. What if we told you, that you could obtain one without attending a university campus and paying those high tuition costs? 

Yes! Preppy offers you a university certificate of completion from the renowned, 150-year-old, non-profit university – Auburn University.

Externship Opportunity

We discussed the importance of getting clinical experience through externships. This would help you add weightage to your resume since externships count as experience.

Preppy offers you an externship opportunity in a nearby facility after you complete their surgical tech program. Gain some real-world experience, learn from the best, and set foot in the OR with confidence.


Preppy’s programs are affordable, as in cheaper. You get stress-free learning, without falling for the student debt trap. Unlike traditional Surgical Tech programs, you also don’t need to invest around $20,000, but get it for just – $1599.

Finish Faster 

Preppy’s Surgical Tech program doesn’t need years to complete as you can finish in just 4 months depending on your pace and by dedicating 3 to 4 hours out of your busy schedule.  

Bonus -> Laptop

At the time of writing this article, there is a bonus offered by Preppy if you choose the $1599 plan you are eligible to get a free laptop. Well, the laptop is for you to keep even after you have completed the program. You can then take other courses, binge-watch, and do whatever you like. This is an exclusive bonus to make education better accessible.


Pros And Cons Of Being A Surgical Tech

Which Certification is Best for Surgical Techs?

There is no such metric to decide whether any certification is the best. There are 3 main widely recognized certifications – NBSTSA, NCCT, and NCST by AAH.

For entry-level roles, you can acquire any national certification and employers are happy with that. But for online students, we recommend you to go for NCST by AAH because that is beginner-friendly and quite easy to pass.

As you gain experience, you can then acquire other certifications like NBSTSA or NCCT as per your need at that point in your career.  

How Long does it take to complete an Online Surgical Tech Program?

Most Surgical Tech programs take from 6 weeks to 2 years to complete. But we feel an ideal Surgical Tech program should be of a duration of 4 to 5 months to ensure you have grasped all the topics and have developed a clear understanding of the career.  

Here is a clear picture –

  • Associate Degree – 2 years
  • Certificate Programs – 1 year
  • 6-week Programs – 6 Weeks
  • Online Programs – 3 to 6 Months
  • Preppy’s Surgical Tech Program – 4 Months

Can I become a surgical tech without being Certified?

No. It’s not recommended. 

Certifications are formal credential that enhances your career prospects by validating your competence in the field. They are important because –

  • They enhance your credibility.
  • Increases job opportunities.
  • Makes you eligible for higher earning potential.
  • Encourages ongoing professional development through continuing education requirements.

If you are an aspiring Surgical Tech, you should consider certification. There are 3 widely recognized national certification options – NBSTSA, NCCT, and NCST by AAH.  However, we recommend the NCST certification offered by AAH, as discussed above.


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About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.