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.
10 Sterile Processing Technician Schools
Sterile processing technician programs are offered at the institutions listed here.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition* (2015-2016)|
|Baker College of Flint||Flint, MI||4-year, primarily associate's, private not-for-profit||Certificate, Associate's||Undergraduate $8,640|
|Baker College of Muskegon||Muskegon, MI||4-year, primarily associate's, private not-for-profit||Certificate, Associate's||$8,640|
|Western Technical College||La Crosse, WI||2-year, public||Certificate, Associate's||In-state $3,779; Out-of-state $6,050|
|Chippewa Valley Technical College||Eau Claire, WI||2-year, public||Certificate||In-state $4,159; Out-of-state $6,085|
|Minneapolis Community and Technical College||Minneapolis, MN||2-year, public||Certificate||Undergraduate $5,366|
|College of DuPage||Glen Ellyn, IL||2-year, public||Certificate, Associate's||In-district $5,275; In-state $10,885; Out-of-state $12,985|
|Massachusetts Bay Community College||Wellesley Hills, MA||2-year, public||Certificate||In-state $4,496; Out-of-state $9,440|
|Fayetteville Technical Community College||Fayetteville, NC||2-year, public||Certificate||In-state $2,394; Out-of-state $8,538|
|Greenville Technical College||Greenville, SC||2-year, public||Certificate||In-district $4,224; In-state $4,584; Out-of-state $8,448|
|Waukesha County Technical College||Pewaukee, WI||2-year, public||Certificate, Associate's||In-state $4,250; Out-of-state $6,078|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
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School Selection Criteria
There are a number of things to keep in mind when choosing a program in this field.
- Programs that provide professional development, such as internships and preparation courses, can help students prepare for the work environment; students may also 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.
- 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 and because technicians are required to package sterilized instruments, prospective students may consider programs that offer courses in instrument identification and inventory techniques.
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.
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. 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.
Programs that prepare individuals for a career sterilizing surgical supplies can be found at the undergraduate level in many postsecondary institutions. It's possible to complete a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree in sterile processing, surgical technology or health sciences; all will provide the academic instruction needed to pursue a career in this field.