Sterile Processing Classes

Classes in sterile processing are available online and on-campus. Find out about training requirements, topics covered in most programs, as well as certification options. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Do Sterile Processing Courses Cover?

Sterile processing coursework teaches students how to handle contaminated medical and surgical tools and equipment safely. Programs may teach you how to decontaminate instruments using ultrasonic cleansers, assemble instrument sets in sterilization trays, and wrap instruments for sterilization. You might also study how to maintain records of equipment and supplies, ordering supplies as needed, identifying, reporting, and documenting equipment in need of repair, and more.

Some or all of the following classes are also covered in sterile processing programs:

Medical Terminology

Medical terminology is a vital part of the language used by healthcare professionals. Training in medical terminology teaches you definitions, pronunciations, and spelling of medical vocabulary and terms, and helps you analyze and interpret medical reports, and identify medical words and terms you may use as a sterile processing technician.

Anatomy and Physiology

Introductory anatomy and physiology classes teach you how the intricate functions of the human body work together in harmony. You will learn how muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems perform, the importance of cell structure, organs and tissues, and bodily functions like homeostasis, metabolism, and fluid balance.

Infection Prevention

Training in infection prevention includes understanding the importance of hygiene, the safe handling of medical and surgical tools and equipment, management of body fluids and blood, and sterilization procedures for equipment and work environments. You will learn about infection and its causes, how germs spread, how to fight infection and best practices for waste disposal.

Microbiology

Microbiology studies viruses and bacteria. Having a basic understanding of how to protect yourself and defend against the different types of bacteria is good to know when in less-than-sanitary environments and handling contaminated instruments. You will learn what bacteria are found in water, in bodily fluids, in blood, and on surfaces, how bacteria enter the body, and why proper sterilization of instruments and equipment is vital to patient health. You'll learn the difference between pathogenic microorganisms and harmless organisms, and much more.

Disinfecting and Cleaning

Surgical instruments and equipment must be thoroughly cleaned to ensure patients' safety from contamination. Cleaning and sanitizing foreign material, such as organic material and blood, can be accomplished by cleaning, high-level disinfection, and sterilization. You will learn the various steps and processes to remove and disinfect instruments, what automated methods are available, which detergents are used, how to test to ensure equipment is clean and much more.

At What Levels Are Classes Offered?

Most classes in sterile processing are offered at the undergraduate level and are commonly found in Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) surgical technology degree programs. Some schools also offer stand-alone online or on-campus certificate programs for aspiring sterile processing technicians. In addition to textbooks, many programs may require you to purchase additional supplies, such as medical scrubs and vinyl shoes and you may be asked to purchase malpractice insurance, complete a CPR exam, receive a hepatitis vaccine, and submit to a criminal background check.

Can I Take Sterile Processing Courses Online?

You can take classes in sterile processing online or onsite at a traditional college campus. Distance-learning classes are administered using virtual classroom software, which could include Internet-based discussion forums, online syllabi, and email communication. While some classes are synchronous (meeting with your professor at a certain time online), others allow you to study at your own pace.

What is Required to Become a Certified Sterile Processing Technician?

Certification is currently required in only one state; New Jersey. However, required certification is pending in New York and Pennsylvania. In all other states, certification is strictly voluntary. To earn your Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) or Certified Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician (CSPDT), you must take a set number of hours of online or in-class instruction and pass an exam administered by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). The Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) and the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM) also offer voluntary certification for sterile processing technicians. Once certified, you must renew your certification by accruing continuing education points at specified intervals.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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