Overview on How to Earn a Certificate in Sterile Processing Technology
Mar 15, 2015 | 11:00 am
A key function of Sterile Processing Technicians (SPTs) and Registered Central Service Technicians is keeping equipment clean and functioning properly. Whether it involves sterilizing, packaging and testing surgical tools or preparing instrument trays and surgical carts, understanding sterile processing technology is vital to patient safety and career success.
If you want to advance your career or become more valuable to hiring organizations, earning a certificate in sterile processing technology is a great place to start!
First Step: Sterile Processing Technology Education
After earning a high school diploma or GED, students can enter a certificate program in sterile processing found at community colleges, career colleges or hospital training programs. These specialized programs usually take less than one year to complete and include several externships, or short opportunities to gain experience and practice before entering the field.
Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland, for example, offers one required classroom course—called Central Sterile Processing Technician—followed by four externship courses. In the externships, students work hands-on with sterile processing technology in different settings, including hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices and surgical centers.
A sterile processing technology program teaches you the following skills needed for success in your upcoming career:
•Taking inventory of tools
•Sterilizing and decontaminating equipment and instruments
•Preparing surgical carts with supplies and instrument trays
•Ensuring cleanliness and safety of operating rooms
•Maintaining records associated with medical equipment
•Understanding federal and state regulations and standards
The Medical Career Institute in New Jersey notes that upon completing their course in sterile processing technology, students will receive their certificate of completion, or diploma, and be eligible to take the credentialing exam.
Second Step: Certification in Sterile Processing
With the educational requirements met, it’s time to sit for the certificate exam, which is required in most states for employment. Passing this exam certifies that you have the knowledge and competency in sterile processing technology to do the job well.
Two associations can certify you in sterile processing technology: The Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution and the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management. Ensure you have a legitimate certification program and credentialing exam.
Once you have your certificate in sterile processing, it’s time to seek entry-level employment and begin earning experience. From there, advancing your career is possible with continued education and more specialized certificates. Good luck!