Sterile Processing Certificate Programs

Sterile processing certificate programs are available at community colleges and health service organizations. Curriculum consists of classroom lectures and laboratory courses covering sterilization procedures.

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Essential Information

Sterile processing certificate programs typically take no more than 36 credit-hours to complete. Enrollees learn about the importance of sterilization in the operating room while studying infection control, microbiology and human anatomy. A practicum may be required. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, proof of immunizations and a health clearance form.

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Sterile Processing Certificate

Students in a sterile processing certificate program develop an understanding of the specific techniques involved in decontaminating and sterilizing surgical instruments and equipment. Other common course topics include:

  • Sterilization processes
  • Decontamination techniques
  • Medical terminology
  • Physiology

Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide specific data for sterile processing technicians. However, it reported information on medical equipment preparers, and their job duties include sterilizing medical tools. In 2015, the BLS stated that medical equipment preparers earned $33,330 as a median annual salary.

Professional Certification

The Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) offers certification for sterile processing technicians. As of 2010, the CBSPD reports that it is the only organization in the field to be accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. Individuals who have completed a certificate program can take an exam to gain certification. The board also offers textbooks and workbooks for those interested in gaining certification.

In sterile processing certificate programs, students explore topics like medical terminology, equipment prep and stocking, and infection prevention. Graduates are qualified to work as sterile processing technicians; they can pursue voluntary certification as well.

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