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Schools for Aspiring Central Sterile Processing Technicians

Across the U.S., community and technical colleges offer central sterile processing technician certificate programs. Graduates of central sterile processing technician certificate programs may continue their education through associate degree programs in surgical technology or bachelor's degree programs in health sciences.

How to Select a School for Central Sterile Processing Technician Training

Central sterile processing technicians decontaminate, prepare and store surgical supplies. Graduates who want to become Certified Registered Central Service Technicians are prepared to sit for the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM) certification exam. Certification can prove proficiency to potential employers. Other considerations to keep in mind when choosing a program include the following:

  • Programs that provide professional development, such as internships and preparation courses, can help students prepare for the work environment.
  • Students may look for programs that offer practical experience in the sterilization departments of hospitals.
  • Courses in professional and interpersonal communication skills can be beneficial after graduation because they include instruction in interviewing techniques, professional attitude and resume development.
  • Because technicians are required to package sterilized instruments, prospective students may consider programs that offer courses in instrument identification and inventory techniques.
  • Individuals can look for programs that place an emphasis on preparing students for the IAHCSMM certification exam.
  • The role of sterile technicians is crucial for maintaining a safe, clean environment for surgery, so students may want to ensure that programs include courses in microbiology and infection control.

Central Sterile Processing Technicians Program Overviews

Central Sterile Processing Technician Certificate

The length of certificate programs can vary from 36 hours to three quarters. Students can find programs that help them prepare for the IAHCSMM exam through studies in legal issues, basic sciences and equipment management. Clinical experiences are typically included. Prospective students can also expect to take courses in:

  • Decontamination
  • Human anatomy
  • Medical terminology

Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology

Surgical technologists, similar to sterile technicians, help to sterilize medical equipment in addition to setting up the surgical room, holding sterile supplies and passing instruments to surgeons. Students gain practical experience and take courses in:

  • Patient care
  • Microbiology
  • Pharmacology

Graduates are prepared to take national exams given by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) to become certified.

Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences

In some cases, associate degrees in surgical technology can be transferred to a health sciences bachelor's degree program. Some programs are aimed at the working professional and are offered online or part-time. Health sciences programs can prepare students for administrative positions or for career advancement. Students in these programs may be required to complete a senior capstone project. Topics explored in coursework include:

  • Human diseases
  • Health promotion
  • Medical ethics

10 Sterile Processing Technician Schools

College/University Institution Type
Baker College of Flint 4-year, primarily associate's, private not-for-profit
Baker College of Muskegon 4-year, primarily associate's, private not-for-profit
Western Technical College 2-year, public
Chippewa Valley Technical College 2-year, public
Minneapolis Community and Technical College 2-year, public
College of DuPage 2-year, public
Massachusetts Bay Community College 2-year, public
Fayetteville Technical Community College 2-year, public
Greenville Technical College 2-year, public
Waukesha County Technical College 2-year, public

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