Schools for Aspiring Central Sterile Processing Technicians

Central sterile processing technicians play a crucial role in containing infections and pathogens and keeping the surgical room hygienic. Graduates of central sterile processing technician certificate programs may continue their education through associate degree programs in surgical technology or a bachelor's degree program in health sciences.

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How to Select a School for Central Sterile Processing Technician Training

Central sterile processing technicians decontaminate, prepare and store surgical supplies. Those interested in working in the surgical and sterilization fields can enroll in central sterile processing certificate programs. 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.

Across the U.S., community and technical colleges offer central sterile processing technician certificate programs, as well as associate degree programs in surgical technology. Students who wish to earn a higher degree can enroll in a bachelor's degree program in health sciences at a 4-year college or university.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Course offerings
  • Practical experience opportunities
  • Certification preparation and professional development courses

Course Offerings

The role of sterile technicians is crucial for maintaining a safe, clean environment for surgery. To understand what they are protecting against, it can be helpful for aspiring technicians to take courses in microbiology and infection control. Additionally, because technicians are required to package the sterilized instruments, prospective students may consider programs that offer courses in instrument identification and inventory techniques.

Practical Experience Opportunities

Programs that provide professional development, such as internships and preparation courses can help students prepare for the work environment. Students may look for programs that offer practical experience in the sterilization department of hospitals.

Certification Preparation and Professional Development Courses

Certification can prove proficiency to potential employers. As a result, individuals can look for programs that place an emphasis on preparing students for the IAHCSMM certification exam. Additionally, courses in professional and interpersonal communication skills can be beneficial after graduation because they include interviewing techniques, professional attitude and resume development.

Central Sterile Processing Technicians Program Overviews

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. Prospective students can also expect to take courses in:

  • Decontamination
  • Human anatomy
  • Medical terminology

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. Students gain practical experience and take courses in:

  • Patient care
  • Microbiology
  • Pharmacology

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 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 career advancement. Students in these programs may be required to complete a senior capstone project. Topics explored in coursework include:

  • Human diseases
  • Health promotion
  • Medical ethics
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