CERTIFICATE OF TECHNICAL STUDIES PROGRAM
DIVISION: ALLIED HEALTH
A Central Sterile Processing Technician is a medical professional whose main duty is to insure that instruments used by medical personnel are contaminant free. Students will be instructed on proper techniques to clean and sterilize medical instruments. Technicians will specialize in stocking, sterilizing, packaging, and preparing the tools and equipment that are used in surgical procedures. These technicians frequently take inventory of surgical tools and accessories and obtain additional supplies when necessary and are often held responsible for ensuring the cleanliness and safety of operating rooms, tables, and equipment. A proficient technician can greatly ease the burdens and stresses on surgeons and physicians performing difficult emergency procedures. Surgeons can be confident that their instruments are sterilized and supplies are well stocked at all times. A central sterile processing technician usually refers to a checklist to make sure that sufficient quantities of gloves, masks, scalpels, needles, and other surgical accessories are present in the operating room. When supplies run low, a technician retrieves them from storage or places orders from distributing warehouses.
Graduates of the Central Sterile Processing Certificate of Technical Studies program will be prepared for entry-level positions in a number of different medical settings, including general hospitals, physicians’ offices, inpatient and outpatient clinics, diagnostic centers, and specialized surgical centers. Many technicians work in highly specialized operating rooms where they take great care to sterilize surfaces and equipment. Professionals are essential in preventing infections and the spread of disease from dirty instruments. Technicians might inspect tools and equipment for signs of dirt or wear and use alcohol pads or other chemical cleaning agents to sterilize them. Some technicians clean and maintain very delicate computerized equipment, taking extra care to avoid damaging machines.
Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will be eligible to take a national certification examination, as administered by the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CSPD, Inc.).
To be eligible to apply to the Central Sterile Processing Program, students must meet the following criteria:
- Possess a high school diploma or eqivalent
- Score on the ACT, SAT, or Placement examinations sufficient to place the student in college-level English (ENGL 101) and college-level mathematics (MATH 120)
- Possess a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale for all college courses completed
- Be able to meet the program’s technical standards
The program in Central Processing Technician has developed competencies in physical functional ability as a core for performance standards. These physical competencies are considered predictors of success in the Central Processing Technician program and in the career workforce.
The functional abilities/core performance standards for the program are:
- Extended walking and standing daily
- Ability to grasp, push, and/or pull
- Ability to bend and stoop
- Moving quickly in response to an emergency
- Using upper body movements
- Ability to reach
- Carrying and moving equipment
- Reaching and/or lifting
- Vision that allows detecting physical changes
- Hearing that allows responding to physical and verbal cues
- A sense of touch that allows for assessment and palpation
All students are required to meet these functional abilities with or without accommodations to function safely and effectively in the professional setting. Adaptations most frequently reported as being used by health care workers include hearing aids, eyeglasses or contact lenses, adaptive phones or listening devices, and calculators.
Students who are interested in the Central Sterile Processing program and think they may need physical accommodations to successfully perform in the program are encouraged to contact the Allied Health Division Admissions Department early in the application process.
Student Learning Outcomes:
Upon successful completion of the Central Sterile Processing Certificate of Technical Studies program, the learner will be able to:
- Recognize the fundamental practices and procedures of aseptic technique (SLO #1)
- Identify common pathogens found in the medical setting and the precautionary measures healthcare workers take to minimize the risk of contracting disease (SLO #2)
- Prepare and package supplies, instruments, and equipment for sterilization (SLO # 3)
- Follow decontamination procedures (SLO #4)
- Maintain product sterility (SLO # 5)
- Distribute, inspect, and control inventory of supplies, instruments and equipment (SLO #6)
- Recognize quality assurance practices and workplace safety procedures (SLO # 7)