What Are the Requirements for Certification As a Sterile Processing Technician?

Certification is not required for employment as a sterile processing technician, but having it can improve your resume. Read on to learn what it takes to become a certified sterile processing technician. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Sterile Processing Technician Certification

The Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) and the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM) provide certification for current or aspiring sterile processing technicians. Each organization has its own certification requirements, but the basics are consistent: a certification exam and a fee.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Annual Salary (2014) $43,350 (for surgical technologists)
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 15% (for surgical technologists)
Work Environment Mainly hospitals and outpatient centers
Key Skills Attention to detail, dexterity, physical stamina, and integrity

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

CBSPD Requirements

According to the CBSPD, there are four ways to become eligible for its certification (www.sterileprocessing.org). You can work in a sterile processing technician-related field for a year, take the central service sterile processing technician training course, attend an allied health program related to sterile processing along with working as a sterile processing technician for six months, or you can work for a year in sterile processing services or sales. You must be able to verify your eligibility by providing proof of your work experience or training program completion.

CBSPD Exam Information

To take the CBSPD certification exam, you will pay a fee of $125. You'll take the exam at a testing center, where you'll have two hours to complete 100 questions. You will be asked an array of questions spanning from various subtopics such as:

  • Disinfection Procedures
  • Handling of Instruments
  • Sterilization
  • Ethics

CBSPD Recertification

Your initial certification is good for five years. Recertification qualification works on a point system. You receive points for things like full-time employment and continuing education courses. A fee is charged for recertification.

IAHCSMM Requirements

In order to become certified through the IAHCSMM, you'll have to become a member of the organization (www.iahcsmm.org). As a member, you'll have access to IAHCSMM training programs, which may be helpful to complete before taking the certification exam.

IAHCSMM Exam Information

When studying for the exam, you should make sure your materials cover subjects in both general knowledge and infection control. The exam is three hours in length and is composed of 150 multiple questions. Some of the test questions cover topics including the following:

  • Cleaning
  • Safety and quality control
  • Equipment Used in Patient Care
  • Sterilization
  • Customer Service and Interaction

IAHCSMM Recertification

You must renew your IAHCSMM certification on an annual basis. This requires taking continuing education courses and paying an annual fee.

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