Central Services and Sterile Processing

Central Services and Sterile Processing Technicians are a vital support to all patient care services in many health care facilities. They are responsible for decontaminating, cleaning, processing, assembling, sterilizing, storing, and distributing the medical devices and supplies needed in patient care, especially during surgery.

Training includes preparing special packages of equipment for specialty procedures. Central Supply is also the main inventory storage area of the hospital and technicians are responsible for processing, quality assurance, and storing the equipment and instrumentation so that it is available when needed. Upon completion of the program students may expect to find employment in hospitals and various outpatient surgical centers.

Students require 400 hours of hands-on experience which allows the student to practice what they have learned. A portion of the hands-on experience will be completed within the program. The remainder must be completed within  6 months of passing the provisional certification.

Certification may be taken through International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM).

Degree Earned: Award of Achievement

Length of Program: 10-15 weeks

Credentials Earned: Certified Registered Central Services Technician (CRCST) following passage of the Central Service Technician Program and the Central Services Technician certification exam.

Financial Aid: This course may be taken for non-collegiate credit only (SUR 150. Central Sterile I). The course does not qualify for academic college credit and participants are not eligible to receive Federal Pell Grant Awards or federal student loans for enrolling in the program. Refer to the Estimated Cost Sheet for CRCST for an estimated cost of the program.

Admission and Clinical Requirements

Admission Requirements

Prospective students must submit a completed application to the program to the Health Sciences Division.  Application to the College is not required. Admission to the program is limited to the first 10 students who have paid tuition in full.  After written verification of admission to program, clinical requirements will be due.

Central Services Program Application

Clinical Requirements

(Required after admission to the program):

  1. negative drug screen ($33 - cost added to tuition. Will be performed by school-approved vendor after classes begin);
  2. liability insurance ($10 - cost added to tuition);
  3. clear criminal background check ($50 cost responsibility of student. Payable to school-approved background agency).
  4. verification of current CPR certification at the American Heart Association, Health Care Provider level ($30 cost responsibility of student. CPR available one time per month at SUSCC. See CPR schedule for available days and times);
  5. completion and documentation of all health requirements (at student's expense): a. Health Questionnaire signed by doctor, verifying state of physical and mental health such that the student is able to complete all program requirements without presenting undue risk/harm to the student or other person. (Requires physician/physician's assistant/nurse practitioner signature);
    • ability to meet Essential Functions requirements as specified by the program (form requires physician/physician's assistant/nurse practitioner signature);
    • results of Tuberculin (Tb) skin test within last year;
    • proof of current immunizations for MMR (two MMR's required);
    • proof of Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diptheria, pertussis);
    • proof of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine or results of positive varicella titer (blood test). If negative for chickenpox immunity, must take vaccine;
    • proof of annual influenza (flu) vaccination. Student must obtain vaccine from personal healthcare agent. Proof should be returned to school;
    • hepatitis B injections: a series of 3 immunizations is required. (First is required, second due 1 month after first injection, third due 6 months after first injection.)

Health Requirements and Forms

After admission to a program, students enrolling in health science courses must provide Southern Union State Community College with the required health care data by the scheduled deadline. Clinical agencies mandate that students provide information regarding their current health status (annual physical examination and essential functions) that may affect the safety of the student or the client in the clinical settings. Clinical agencies also require documentation of a clear criminal background check,  negative drug screening and specific immunizations. Students who do not have documentation of required immunizations must have blood drawn for a titer to determine if they are immune.  Various immunizations are required and are subject to change depending on the health care agency requirements. The student's health requirements must be on file in the Health Sciences Building before the student may participate in clinical experiences in the Central Services and Sterile Processing program.

Health Requirements Checklist
Annual Health Questionnaire
Essential Functions Form
CPR Registration Form and Dates
Clinical Backgrounds and Drug Screening

Clinical requirements must be kept current throughout the students'  tenure in the program. Clinical documents must not expire during the semester.

Course Description

SUR 150. Central Sterile I. 4 hrs.

Prerequisite: Determined by the instructor.

This course is an introduction to the field of Central Sterile Processing as a career.  Emphasis is on the role of a Sterile Processing Technician, care of surgical instruments, sterilization procedures, principals of asepsis, safety, and an overview of microbiology.  Upon completion, the student will be able to demonstrate knowledge of sterilization procedures and workplace asepsis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I consider the Central Services and Sterile Processing Technician program?

With the ever-expanding technological advancements in medical supplies, instrumentation, medical devices and equipment, highly trained individuals are needed in the field of central service. There is high demand today for the central service technician in the hospital and clinical settings. After completion of the Central Services and Sterile Processing program, students may wish to take the Certified Registered Central Services Technician Exam to become certified as a CRCST.

What will my job in the hospital consist of as a Central Services Technician (CST)?

As a central service technician, you will provide vital support in all patient care services and be responsible for knowing all of the tools used in an operating room, as well as sterilizing and packaging instruments used during surgery. You will also decontaminate clean, process, assemble, store and distribute medical devices and supplies, and keep records associated with sterilization monitors, orders, charges to patients and inventory. The work of a CST is essential for preventing infection.

Where will I be able to find a job as a CRCST?

Locations that perform surgical procedures such as hospitals, clinics and doctors' offices all require a central services technician.

Will financial aid pay for the program?

At this time, no financial assistance is available from Pell Grants or federal student loans. You may seek advice from the Financial Aid Office for other types of financial assistance.