The Central Service Technician works in hospitals and surgical centers and plays a critical role in preventing and controlling infection by sterilizing, cleaning, processing, assembling, storing, and distributing medical supplies. Central Service Technician have very little direct patient contact. Work in the sterile processing department entails cleaning and decontaminating surgical instruments where the technician is exposed to blood, bodily fluid, or harsh cleaning agents and often needs to wear personal protective equipment. The technician is tasked to carefully inspect instruments which requires a high level of concentration, and to distribute supplies throughout the facility which can involve heavy lifting.
The Central Service Technician program teaches the student the principles and methods of infection control. The student will review types of surgical instruments, their use, and how to clean and decontaminate them. They will learn how to inspect instruments, and how to assemble, package and safely transport them throughout the healthcare facility. At the end of the program the student will be eligible to sit for the national CRCST certification exam administered by the HSPA.
Students entering this program need to be dedicated to their studies, attending all in-person classes and have computer and internet access for their homework. The Central Service Technician needs to be able to stand or sit for long hours while constantly being focused on the task at hand. The technician needs to have a high level of work ethic since failure to perform according to protocol can have far-reaching consequences for the patients.
Central Service Technician have an excellent career outlook. Demand for certified technicians has been consistently high with new technologies expanding the tasks of the sterile processing department.
Upon successful completion of this Continuing Education Workforce Certificate, students will be able to:
- meet the eligibility requirements to sit for the certification exam administered by the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA; https://myhspa.org) to become a Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST);
- pursue employment options in all states of the US that require certification for Central Service Technicians; and
- perform standard duties in all areas of a hospital’s sterile processing department including decontamination, sterilization, inspection and packaging of surgical instruments.
Health Professions Pathway. Pathways are designed to help you meet your academic and career goals by aligning related courses and programs. Pathway students participate in a variety of activities that help explore career opportunities in their field of study. You can meet with a CCBC advisor who help align — or realign — your educational plan with the Pathway that best supports you and your goals.
Students will earn a CCBC Continuing Education Workforce Certificate and will have access to a Continuing Education academic record (transcript).
The Central Service Technician Training Series is designed to meet the requirements of the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA). Students will be eligible to take the national certification exam to become a Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST).
Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA)
Financial Aid and Payment Options
We offer financial aid by packaging public and private funding options to those who qualify, in select Continuing Education courses and programs. Additional opportunities for financial support include partial payment options through Nelnet Business Solutions and tuition waivers for those who qualify. Resources outside of CCBC may also be available through employer/sponsor paid tuition, the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), and your local office of workforce development.
Length of Training
An Information session will be scheduled in regular intervals. Please email CEHealth@ccbcmd.edu for dates and location.
A High School Diploma or GED is NOT required for program entry, but may be required for employment.. All students must be computer literate and have Internet access.
This program is not eligible for Baltimore County Public School Blueprint funding.
Student must be able to work a minimum of 24 unpaid hours per week during the daytime for 10-20 weeks in a local hospital to obtain their 400 clinical hours.
Students must be able to pass a background check.
Students must have the following paperwork uploaded to https://discover.castlebranch.com by the end of the Central Service Technician Classroom class. Students will receive instructions on how to upload documcents to CastleBranch on their first day in class.
- Medical Exam Report signed by your physician
- Negative Tuberculosis test (PPD or blood test) or negative chest x-ray (not older than one year)
- Measles, mumps, rubella, varicella vaccination or positive titer
- Current flu vaccination
- Hep B vaccination or declination form
- Tetanus shot (less than 10 years)
- Covid-19 vaccination
- Health insurance card
- CPR for Healthcare Providers verification
- Drug test
- Background check
- Valid government issued picture ID
To apply, go to www.ccbcmd.edu/apply and complete the CCBC Continuing Education Workforce Certificate program application. An email will then be sent with program information and any additional requirements necessary to apply for the program.
Open Entry – No screening or documentation required.
Prior Learning Assessment
This program has potential options for waiving select courses based on previous coursework or articulated coursework from an approved curriculum, or successful completion of a CCBC placement or challenge exam. A maximum of 37 program hours may be earned from prior learning.
Program Course Sequence
It is highly recommended that students complete Medical Terminology BEFORE starting Central Service Technician Classroom.
Registration information for the four CST Clinical classes will be distributed at the end of the Central Service Technician Classroom class.
CPR and First Aid classes REQUIRE 100% attendance. Students arriving late to class will not be admitted. Late arrival to or early exit from class will also result in a failing grade and no refund. Students will then be required to retake the class at their expense.
(approximate cost; subject to change)
Medical Terminology for Health Occupations
Medical Terminology for Health Occupations ONLINE
Programmed Learning Approach to Medical Terminology, Third Edition
Price is $91.95
T- $99/F - $230
CPR for Health Care Providers
|Textbook provided on first day of class, included in program
T- $33/F- $76
||Central Service Technician Classroom
||Textbook provided on first day of class, included in program
T- $231F- $538
||Central Service Technician Clinical I
T- $99/F- $230
||Central Service Technician Clinical II
||Central Service Technician Clinical III
||Central Service Technician Clinical IV
||Fee for CRCST certification exam included in class
| Program Series Total:
All courses must be finished for successful completion
CastleBranch service, including drug test and background check approximate cost $107.50. Cost of medical exam and vaccinations/titers required for clinical placement can vary widely depending on provider and insurance. These possible additional expenses could range from $50 - $500.
Medical Terminology and CPR for Healthcare Provider may be waived upon providing suffcient documentation. Please contact CEHealth@ccbcmd.edu to discuss.
Students may have the opportunity to move into a position that is more material/inventory related, specialize in certain fields (for example endoscope processor), teach, or become supervisors in central processing departments. Membership in the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA) is recommended.
Research your career interests, explore live job postings, take a career assessment, discover which companies in the Baltimore region are hiring, and more. View a brief tutorial video on how to use Career Coach at https://youtu.be/C7KpznbPYfA. Explore career and training opportunities at https://ccbcmd.emsicc.com/.
Technical Standards for CCBC’s Central Service Technician Training Series
The primary goal of The Community College of Baltimore County’s Central Service Technician Training Series is to adequately prepare students for an entry-level position in the sterile processing department functioning as a central service technician. The duties of a CS Technician require the ability to stand or sit for long hours while constantly being focused on the task at hand. They need to exercise safe practices while exposed to unpleasant sights, odors, materials, and communicable diseases. Their duties also require them to be detail oriented and to work accurately and quickly. A high level of manual dexterity, psychomotor skills, and integrity are vital.
Central Service Technicians (CSTs) are responsible for processing surgical supplies and equipment. CSTs provide support to patient care services in a health care facility. Their tasks include decontaminating, cleaning, processing, assembling, sterilizing, storing, and distributing medical devices and supplies.
The following is a partial listing of the types of skills typically required for adequate job performance:
A. Sufficient strength and mobility to:
- Lift or otherwise maneuver large instrument trays weighing up to 30 pounds
- Stand or sit in one area for long periods of time
- Work quickly to meet deadlines and/or production requirements
B. Fine motor coordination sufficient to perform precise tasks such as:
- Handle delicate surgical instruments
- Safely handle sharp instruments
- Handle instruments and equipment that may be costly to replace if damaged
- Perform basic repairs to instrumentation
- Clean and assemble instrumentation
C. Adequate vision to:
- Read and interpret digital or paper displays on machinery
- Adequate distinction of colors to read and interpret sterilization indicators
- Read instruction sheets and computer screens
D. Sufficient hearing to:
- Hear and understand verbal instructions in person and over the telephone under noisy conditions from masked personnel
- Hear alarms and operating noises of equipment
Interpersonal Skills and Professionalism:
A. Have the ability to:
- Work in a professional manner under sometimes extremely stressful situations
- Pay close attention to detail and recordkeeping
- Commitment to learning and understanding new technologies, instrumentation, and procedures
- Commitment to following approved standards, guidelines, policies, and procedures
- Interact in a professional manner with many personalities and attitudes and with people from many different backgrounds
- Respect and protect patient rights and confidentiality without regard to personal beliefs and judgments
- Maintain proper certifications required to perform the duties of the profession
- Accurately utilize all resource material available to remain current in the profession, including attending departmental in-service training
- Maintain a surgical conscience/professional morality in the application of infection control techniques
- Willingness to precept (train) others
- Commitment to working shifts as assigned, which may include on-call, holidays, and weekends
B. Sufficient communication skills to:
- Give and receive accurate written and verbal instructions
- Carry out all written and verbal instructions
- Follow proper channels of communication
- Communicate in a calm and professional manner
- Communicate clearly and effectively to any team members regarding issues that may be difficult to address (i.e. problem with machinery that could affect sterilization; admission of own errors, etc.)
Intellectual Ability and Emotional Stability To:
- Apply critical thinking and problem solving skills
- Exercise independent judgment to properly perform tasks at hand
- Accurately utilize all resource material available to perform the task at hand
- Work calmly and efficiently in a fast-paced, stressful environment
- Maintain calm during emergency situations
- Perform duties while exposed to communicable diseases and unpleasant sights, odors, and materials
- Accept feedback from others in an open and positive way
- Learn from mistakes
- The central service technician profession involves risks and/or discomforts that require special safety precautions including, but not limited to:
- Wearing gowns, caps, masks, gloves, and eye protection
- Working in an environment that is often noisy
- Working in an environment that exposes one to potentially hazardous materials, such as cleaning agents, chemicals, and blood-borne pathogens
- Providing proof of recent immunizations against infectious diseases such as measles, mumps, and rubella
- Receiving Hepatitis B vaccine and annual testing for exposure to tuberculosis
- Submitting to periodic drug screening