Central Sterile Processing Classes and Courses Overview

People interested in working in sterile processing can enroll in associate degree and certificate programs offered by a variety of community colleges and universities. In these programs, students learn to decontaminate, store and distribute surgical equipment and supplies.

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Essential Information

Courses for aspiring central sterile processing technicians can be found in associate degree and certificate programs, many of which prepare students for the International Association of Central Service/Material Management (IAHCSMM) certification exam. Coursework includes a lot of laboratory work, with courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology and pharmacology, along with an experiential clinical component.

List of Common Central Sterile Processing Courses

The following courses are available through associate degree and certificate programs in sterile processing technology.

Medical Terminology Course

Students learn common technical terms that pertain to medical procedures, equipment and diagnoses. Some programs combine this course with instruction in human anatomy, which includes physiological and biological terms used to describe the human body and its processes.

Introduction to Microbiology Course

Microbiology includes the study of various microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, viruses and other microscopic pathogens. Central sterile processing students are required to take this course in order to fully grasp the importance of the sterilization and decontamination processes in a surgical environment. Topics also include methods of controlling infection and microbial contamination. A laboratory component is included and provides students with experience identifying, handling and destroying microorganisms and pathogens.

Sterile Processing Procedures Course

This course teaches students to handle medical equipment in a safe and sanitary manner. Topics covered in the course include methods of sterilization, decontamination, storage, packaging, and distribution of both sterile and non-sterile medical instruments. Students learn to assess the condition of medical and surgical equipment for sterility and proper function, which can include removing instruments for maintenance or replacement.

Sterile Processing Laboratory Course

Students are usually required to complete a clinical practicum as part of their education. Clinical experience introduces students to sterility issues in various hospitals, outpatient centers and other medical facilities. Students in the course learn to perform various cleaning, wrapping and sterilizing procedures as well as gain experience with surgical setups, inventory control and quality assurance.

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