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Online Sterile Processing Technician Certification & Training Programs

Sterile processing technicians play a vital role in healthcare, as they are the ones who maintain sterile medical instruments and environments. Community colleges and some four-year schools offer partially-online training in this field, so read on to see details and get certification info.

Inside Online Training

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities place great emphasis on a safe and sterile operating environment because of the impact on patient health. Usually taking less than a year to complete, sterile processing certificate programs provide students with the skills needed to create safe and sterile environments before and during surgical procedures. These programs stress the practical skills used in operating rooms, hospitals, doctor's offices and clinics. Protocols used to clean, sterilize, store, inspect and present equipment during surgery are mastered.

Though 100% online training is not common, hybrid programs are available that enable students to combine online coursework with classroom interaction. Many programs provide students with hands-on experience prior to program completion. Program admission requires fluency in the English language - including speaking, reading and writing - as well as a high school diploma or General Education Diploma (GED) certificate. Successful program completion qualifies students to sit for sterile processing technician national examinations.

Common Courses

Mandatory coursework addresses the practical skills needed to sterilize medical equipment. Most students also must take classes in the natural sciences and medical software, which could be offered online. The following classes may be required in a sterile processing technician hybrid training program:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Communications and Interpersonal Skills
  • Infection Control Procedures
  • Medical Terminology
  • Surgical Instrumentation
  • Principles of Safety
  • Blood Borne Diseases, HIV/AIDS

Online Learning

The online portion of the program is typically available online for the student to access at his or her convenience, although coursework must be completed by a specific end date. Standard hardware, word processing and spreadsheet software and Internet access using a web browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox will usually be necessary. Hybrid programs combine online coursework with campus-based labs that provide hands-on experience and intense content review designed to help prepare students for certification examinations.

Professional Certification

After completing training in sterile processing, graduates may want to pursue professional certification through organizations like the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management. To qualify for the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) credential, applicants must complete 400 hours of hands-on experience in a lab or healthcare setting (www.iahcsmm.org). They then take an examination covering seven areas, such as sterilization methods, equipment, inventory management, record keeping and customer relations.

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