Schools with Programs in Sterile Processing and Distribution

Sterile processing and distribution programs are offered on-campus and in hybrid formats combining classroom and online delivery. Students certified as Central Sterile Processing Technicians can pursue careers at doctors' offices, clinics, hospitals and surgical centers. There are also degree programs in surgical technology, which is a closely related field. Read on to explore your school and program options for sterile processing studies.

Selecting a School for a Sterile Processing and Distribution Program

A comprehensive sterile processing and distribution program prepares the student for the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) exam to become nationally certified as a Central Sterile Processing Technician (CSPT). Surgical technology programs prepare students for the Surgical Technologist Certifying Exam. Programs are available at various 2- and 4-year colleges.

List of Considerations

  • Option for high school students
  • Clinical experiences
  • Cost

Option for High School Students

Certain schools offer programs to high school students in which they can earn credits toward a certificate while still in high school. Candidates who are still in high school will want to investigate these programs.

Clinical Experiences

Schools that offer the student clinical experience at a sterile processing center, central service facility or hospital can help make the student a more attractive job candidate. Schools networked with hospitals and surgical centers can help students identify and apply for the right position once they earn their certificate. Students should check to see if the school they choose is a member of this type of network.


Costs for certificate, associate and bachelor's degree programs can include tuition, textbooks, uniforms and other school fees. Students usually also need to get insurance, a physical exam, immunizations and a background check. These programs can vary in cost based on the type of school and number of major courses or credits students need to complete.

Overview of Sterile Processing and Distribution Programs and Surgical Technology Programs

Sterile Processing Technician Certificate Program

A typical program takes from 20 to 36 hours to complete. The goal of the program is to prepare the students to pass the CSPT exam. Coursework focuses on:

  • Infection control
  • Surgical instrument processing
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Introductory computing
  • Medical terminology

Associate Degree in Surgical Technology

This 2-year associate degree program prepares students to work in surgical settings. Graduates are qualified to assist in operating rooms, delivery rooms, ambulatory surgical units and doctors' offices or wherever surgical procedures are performed. Students in this program will study:

  • Surgical procedures
  • Patient care
  • Surgical pharmacology

Bachelor of Science in Applied Health Studies - Surgical Technology

For students who are already certified or licensed health care practitioners, this program offers an advanced health sciences degree with a concentration in surgical technology. It offers the student exposure to business and administrative concerns in the health care setting, combining surgical technology expertise with management skills. It also includes core college courses to fulfill general education requirements for a bachelor's degree. Coursework includes:

  • Health care delivery systems
  • Medical ethics
  • Health issues and transitions
  • Health care public policy development
  • Senior capstone experiences

Related to Schools with Programs in Sterile Processing and Distribution

Search Degrees, Careers, or Schools