Preparation for this field is offered solely via certificate programs, which can take 2-3 semesters to complete. In central services technician certificate programs, students prepare for job responsibilities, such as the operation of sterilization machinery and the sterile storage of medical equipment. Course topics range from microbiology to inventory management and decontamination methods.
Programs require students to have a high school-level education in order to enroll. In addition, they must provide satisfactory ACT or SAT scores, as well as submit a current record of immunizations. Coursework will typically include hands-on activities and a clinical internship.
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Certificate Programs for Sterilizing Technicians
Students spend the same amount of time in the laboratory and in the classroom. Possible course options may include the following:
- Medical terminology
- Surgical technology
- Patient care
- Sterilization procedures/health safety
Salary Info and Employment Outlook
Medical equipment preparers such as central supply or central service technicians earned a mean annual wage of $34,950 in May of 2015 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment in this field is expected to increase by 14% from 2014 to 2024 with the majority of job opportunities occurring at dentist and physician offices or hospitals (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
After completing certificate requirements, students are prepared to pass respective certification exams. While certification for central service technicians is only required in New Jersey, certification credentials relay graduates' professionalism and field knowledge to future employers. Professional organizations granting certification include the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD). Graduates of a certificate program are qualified to take the board's multiple choice certification exam. The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management also offers a certification examination to technicians who have logged 400 hours of work experience.
Sterilizing technician education is available in certificate programs, providing information on different aspects of the human body and proper sterilization techniques for the various equipment used in healthcare facilities.