Take online classes in sterile processing and prepare for success in your new career
- Diploma program length: as few as 8 months (32 weeks)
- 100% online classes you can take right at home
- Prepare for your first entry-level SPT job and the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) certification exam
- Earn college credit you can potentially transfer into a Surgical Technologist degree program in the future—and greatly decrease the time needed to advance your career
Sterile processing program classes & curriculum details
Our curriculum is designed to prepare you to quickly begin practicing as a sterile processing technician and build a strong foundation to continue pursuing your educational pathway and expand your area of expertise.
All lecture classes are delivered online (285 hours), including 150 lab hours to help you develop practical experience you can take into your first job.
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*Average number of months for students to complete the program attending full-time
Get educated, get certified, and thrive
Graduates are eligible to take the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) certification examination through the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management.1
You can take the exam following 400 hours of professional experience. Your experience must be completed in a Sterile Processing/Central Service department, as a paid employee or volunteer. View the IAHCSMM website to find more details about eligibility for the exam.
Your best prep for passing the exam and becoming certified is your education!
Tuition & Cost
Our goal is your career advancement. That’s why we are always working to improve our curriculum and processes to make our sterile processing program as affordable as possible while preparing you best for success in your work.
With Herzing University, you are never alone, and we offer many options to help you invest in yourself, earn college credit and take the first step down your new career path.
Opportunities for financial aid include:
Sterile processing program enrollment requirements
Prerequisites to enroll in the Herzing University Sterile Processing diploma program include:
- Completion of a high school diploma, GED or equivalent
- Meet and interview with a Herzing University admissions advisor
- Complete an enrollment application
Begin a new career path in healthcare
Specific job titles in sterile processing will vary by hospital or other types of medical facilities. Potential job titles include:
- Sterile Processing Tech/Technician (SPT)
- Central Service Technician (CST)
- Central Sterile Supply Technician (CSS Technician)
- Central Processing Technician (CPT)
- Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician (SPD Tech)
These departments may utilize a hierarchy of SPTs. Entry-level positions may be regarded as “SPT 1” while more experienced SPTs can ascend to SPT 2, 3 or higher.
How can I advance my career? While you may be able to ascend the ranks in a central service department and potentially increase your responsibilities and pay, surgical technologist can represent an excellent next career step. You can transfer credit earned in our SPT diploma program into a surgical technology associate degree program, currently offered at our New Orleans campus.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of medical equipment preparers is expected to grow 6% from 2019-2029, faster than the average across all U.S. occupations.*
Begin earning an education today and position yourself to quickly join this growing field. Becoming a sterile processing technician represents a good entry-level job that can be a launching pad to many potential career paths in healthcare.
Frequently Asked Questions
Working as a traveling sterile processing can be a great opportunity to see new places, experience different cultures and meet new people—all while building your skills in a rewarding career.
Every job posting will come with their own unique requirements for traveling sterile processing technicians. Be ready with an updated resume and immunization and health records. Getting certified is very important; these positions can be competitive and you’ll need every advantage you can get in the application process.
You may choose to sign up with a healthcare staffing agency to help you find the types of travel jobs you’re looking for.
Both certificate and diploma programs are field-specific credentials that do not include general education courses required in a degree program. Each can typically be completed faster than an associate degree program.
Certificates are typically the least comprehensive programs, providing the minimum career-focused training necessary to perform a certain type of job.
Diploma programs tend to be more in-depth than certificates, and can include hands-on experience to best prepare you for a wider variety of jobs in the field you’re pursuing.
Herzing University’s diploma programs exist to help you build the foundation for a long career beyond your very first job. Our diploma programs are designed to help you begin and grow your new career.
According to IAHCSMM, out of 8,289 CRCST exams taken in 2019, 77% passed the test. The exam is not a walk in the park! You’ll need to be well-prepared both academically and professionally to pass the exam and become certified.
The computer-based CRCST exam is 3 hours, containing 150 multiple choice questions testing your knowledge of cleaning, decontamination, disinfection, patient care equipment, sterilization process, and more.
Get educated, study hard, and you’ll be in the best possible position to pass the exam and become certified.
Our sterile processing program is designed to transition easily into a surgical technology associate degree program. Knowledge and skills learned in a sterile processing diploma curriculum closely applies to similar roles and responsibilities as a surgical technologist.
Every state has their own requirements, but in general surgical technologists typically have greater minimum requirements for education and certification. Earning an associate degree in surgical technology is considered the preferred educational model for entry-level positions by the Associate of Surgical Technologists (AST).
If you live in New Orleans, you can transfer credit earned in our diploma program into an associate degree in surgical technology, currently offered at our New Orleans campus.
Becoming a sterile processing technician begins by getting educated!
While formal education isn’t always required to earn your first entry-level job as a sterile processing technician, you will position yourself to flourish in the role—and open doors to future career possibilities—by building your knowledge and skills with the support of experienced faculty and staff dedicated to your success.
Here is the primary general distinction:
- Sterile Processing Technicians are responsible for sterilizing equipment needed for medical procedures. Their duties are primarily outside of the operating room; however, their job function is critical to the operating room.
- Surgical Technologists are responsible for aseptic technique, understanding surgical procedures and instruments, maintaining the sterile field, passing instruments during the sequence of the procedure, as well as many other duties. They function as the masters of aseptic technique in the operating room.
Job titles, duties and responsibilities can vary between different healthcare institutions. Different states might have their own unique restrictions for who is qualified to handle what responsibilities. Some states require that the surgical technologist have a current certification for employment. Some surgical technologists handle the sterilization of equipment as well.
Earning your associate degree and becoming a certified surgical technologist is your ticket to becoming an indispensable member of a surgical team, handle many different types of tasks and become highly valuable to employers.
Sterile processing techs ensure medical instruments are properly inspected, cleaned, and sterilized for use across a hospital, clinic, physician’s office or other healthcare institution.
Technicians typically work in a Sterile Processing Department (SPD) in a hospital, sometimes called a Central Sterile Services Department (CSSD) or Central Supply Department (CSD). Sterile processing is a fast-paced, technical and detail-oriented job requiring high focus and clear collaboration with other medical staff.
Techs must follow strict processes for different types of equipment, using computers to track progress and provide verification that all instruments are accounted for and properly serviced.
Sterile processing techs do not work directly with patients, but their work is imperative to ensure every patient achieves positive health outcomes.
This can be a great starting point for more introverted personality types looking to quickly begin a new career path, become comfortable in a hospital environment, build valuable skills, and truly help those in need.
Sterile processing represents both a good job option and potential springboard to a multitude of career possibilities. If you’re looking to get started fast in a new healthcare career path, sterile processing might be perfect for you.
According to 2020 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical equipment preparers earn an average annual salary of $41,070 per year ($19.75 per hour). The top 10% in this category can potentially earn a median salary above $59,000 per year ($28.54 per hour).*
Sterile Processing Degree Programs
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Accreditation & Disclosures
1. Certification in this program is not a state requirement.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2020. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.