How to Become an Operating Room Technician

It takes a team to perform surgery.
i Jochen Sands/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Most doctors and health care providers need help in a variety of ways. In the operating room, the O.R. technician is the in-house gopher. An operating room technician, also referred to as a surgical tech, is the helper who preps the room, sterilizes and gets all the instruments together, brings in the patient and serves any other needs nurses and doctors have during the surgery. From 2010 to 2020, the need for surgical techs should grow by about 19 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Step 1

Take science and math courses while you’re still in high school to prepare for the continuing ed you’ll need to become an operating room technician. Schools look for a concentration in chemistry, biology and health when vetting program candidates.

Step 2

Enroll in an associate degree program for surgical techs at your local community college or vocational school. It could take anywhere from nine months to two years to earn a certificate or degree, depending on the program.

Step 3

Gain experience in the field and meet the graduation requirements of your program by performing an on-the-job internship or clinical rotation at a local hospital or outpatient surgical facility.

Step 4

Apply for a job at local hospitals and clinics or talk directly with surgeons, who often hire their own surgical team that follows them from one procedure to the next. Dentists who perform oral surgery also hire surgical technicians.

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