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Central Service Instrument Technician (CSIT)

Become a vital part of the operating room team.

Every day, more people are in need of health care services—which means there are more career opportunities in the health care industry than ever before, too.

Central Service Instrument Technicians (also known as central service technicians, sterile processing technicians, sterile preparation technicians or surgical equipment technicians) offer crucial support in patient care services and in processing, cleaning, and dispensing medical equipment and instruments in hospitals and other medical centers. Not only are they tasked with being familiar with all of the tools used in an operating room, but they must also sterilize and package instruments used during surgery.

As the number of surgical procedures performed on our growing and aging population continues to increase, so, too, will the need for Central Service Instrument Technicians. Health care technology is also evolving, with increased use of fiber optics, laser technology, robotics, and interventional radiology—all of which will mean new surgical procedures and equipment.

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Central Service Instrument Technician (CSIT) Overview

Central Service Instrument Technicians, sometimes called central service technicians or sterile processing technicians, must ensure all instruments used by medical personnel in a hospital or other health care facility are sterile, clean, and ready.

As a Central Service Instrument Technician, you will offer crucial support in all patient care services and must be familiar with every tool used in an operating room. You will also be responsible for cleaning and packaging surgical instruments. In addition, you will sterilize, process, put together, store, and pass out medical devices and supplies, and keep records related to sterilization monitors, orders, and inventory.

Central Service Instrument Technicians take on a number of vital tasks, including:

  • Examining and cleaning tools and surgical equipment before sterilization.
  • Sterilizing equipment, and ensuring there are adequate surgical supplies.
  • Putting cleaned instruments in sterilizers like autoclaves.
  • Ordering, storing, and allocating medical supplies, devices, and instruments.
  • Keeping records related to sterilization monitors, orders, and inventory.
  • Reporting any possible equipment defects or problems to health care staff.
  • Making sure sterile supplies have not expired.

The Central Service Instrument Technician program at Glendale Career College is a career-based program that focuses on technical skills and offers the relevant hands-on training needed to start working in hospitals, surgery centers, medical facilities, and private practices where surgeries are performed.

*Glendale Career College cannot guarantee employment.

The Central Service Instrument Technician (CSIT) program can be taken at the following campuses:

Central Service Instrument Technician Careers

Work Environment

The Central Service Instrument Technician (CSIT) program at Glendale Career College offers the education and training required to start a career working in a number of different medical and health care facilities that use surgical equipment and perform surgeries. With technology for medical supplies, instrumentation, medical devices, and equipment advancing rapidly, there is increased demand for highly trained Central Service Instrument Technicians in hospitals and clinical settings. Graduates of this program can find jobs working in:

  • Hospitals
  • Surgical centers
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Doctors’ offices (for those who perform outpatient surgery)

Quick Facts about Central Service Instrument Technicians*

  • Employment of Medical Equipment Preparers (which includes Central Service Instrument Technicians) is expected to increase by 14 percent nationally from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.
  • Hospitals are the main employer of Central Service Instrument Technicians, although some increased demand is expected in doctors’ offices and clinics, including ambulatory surgical centers, along with nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
  • Central Service Instrument Technicians take on a vital role in patient care by preventing infections.

*Sources: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/about/data-for-occupations-not-covered-in-detail.htm; https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/31-9093.00 For more information, including average wages and the job outlook for Central Service Instrument Technicians in California, see the California Occupational Guide published by the State of California Employment Development Department. For the most current national information, please visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov/home.htm).

Central Service Instrument Technician Course Material

The Central Service Instrument Technician program at Glendale Career College is a career-based program that focuses on technical skills and offers the relevant hands-on training needed to start working in hospitals, surgery centers, medical facilities and private practices where surgeries are performed. The Central Service Instrument Technician (CSIT) program prepares students to gain the knowledge, skills, and experience required to function as a central service instrument technician.

This program is designed to introduce the many different procedures and processes used in the central service department of a hospital. It will prepare students to provide effective patient care and ensure the safety of the patient. Students will hone skills in variety of areas, including instrumentation, sterilization, chemical disinfection, decontamination, quality assurance, and inventory control.

Relevant job-related skills will be learned through a blend of program lecture, demonstration, discussion, and laboratory work in clinical site activities. After successfully completing the program, the graduate will be eligible to take the CRCST certification exam through the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM). A Central Service Instrument Technician program graduate could be employed as a Central Sterile Supply Technician, Sterile Processing Technician, Certified Registered Central Service Technician, Sterile Preparation Technician, Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician, Medical Supply Technician, Sterile Technician, Materiel Reprocessing Technician, or Surgical Equipment Technician upon passing the IAHCSMM Certification exam. This person may also find work in the Central Processing department of a hospital or in surgical centers.

The program is broken down into class course modules, including two clinical externships where students will apply the skills they learn in the classroom in actual health care practice settings.

Program courses include:

  • Seminar for Success – This is an orientation and success building course for Career Students. It contains a review of basic math, language, vocabulary, and writing skills. It also offers an introduction to core career classes, availability of community resources, outlining, summarizing, managing credit, and other life skills. Outside preparation and study time, in addition to regular classroom activities, is required to complete the class assignments. This outside preparation may include homework assignments, projects, reading, and required studying.
  • Medical Terminology – Medical terminology is the professional language used in the medical field. This is an introductory course to all allied health related programs and will equip students with the basic skills to communicate in the medical language. Outside preparation and study, in addition to regular classroom activities, is necessary to complete the class assignments. The type of outside preparation may include homework assignments, projects, reading, and required studying.
  • Anatomy & Physiology – The Anatomy & Physiology course offers an introduction to the complicated world of the human body. Students will have the opportunity to hear lectures on the organization of the body, cell theory, tissues, glands, membranes and the integumentary, skeletal, and muscular systems. The course will also cover blood, heart, blood vessels, lymphatic, nervous, sensory, endocrine, respiratory, urinary, digestive, and the reproductive systems. Outside preparation and study time, in addition to regular classroom activities, will be necessary to finish the class assignments. The type of outside preparation may include homework assignments, projects, reading, and required studying.
  • Microbiology – This course introduces students to the principles of microbiology and the study of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi, with emphasis on the nature and characteristics of microbes, along with their transmission in the environment. The fundamentals of Standard (Universal) Precautions and OSHA regulations are also highlighted. Outside preparation and study time, in addition to regular classroom activities, is necessary to finish the class assignments. The type of outside preparation may include homework assignments, projects, reading, and required studying.
  • Aseptic Technique – This course emphasizes the principles of asepsis and infection control measures in order to ensure a safe working environment. During this course, the fundamentals of Standard (Universal) Precautions and OSHA regulations continue to be covered with a focus on reducing the risk of transmitting infectious agents to patients. Outside preparation and study time, in addition to regular classroom activities, is necessary to finish the class assignments. The type of outside preparation may include homework assignments, projects, reading, and required studying.
  • Sterilization & Disinfection – This course will equip students with the skills needed to work in the central processing department of a hospital or a medical facility. Students will develop skills in the areas of decontamination and disinfection as well as high-and-low-temperature sterilization methods, materiel management, and the wrapping and storing of medical supplies. Outside preparation and study time, in addition to regular classroom activities, is necessary to finish the class assignments. The type of outside preparation may include homework assignments, projects, reading, and required studying.
  • Instrumentation – In this course, students will learn to identify and name basic surgical instruments, along with their application and use. They will also learn how to care for and maintain these instruments. Outside preparation and study time, in addition to regular classroom activities, is necessary to finish the class assignments. The type of outside preparation may include homework assignments, projects, reading, and required studying.
  • Distribution – This course will enable students to learn and apply basic concepts in inventory control and the distribution of surgical and medical supplies throughout a hospital or medical facility. It will highlight storage and space utilization skills as well as hospital requisitions and case cart distribution systems. Outside preparation and study time, in addition to regular classroom activities, is necessary to finish the class assignments. The type of outside preparation may include homework assignments, projects, reading, and required studying.
  • Quality Assurance, Risk Management, CPR – This course covers the Fundamentals of Basic Life Support and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) according to the guidelines of The American Heart Association (AHA). Students will continue to develop skills in the areas of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), work simplification, special handling, record keeping, and the Six Sigma concepts in quality assurance. The course material also emphasizes inventory management, human relations skills, and professional development. Prior to clinical experience, students will receive Job Preparation training designed to help them enter the workforce. Outside preparation and study time, in addition to regular classroom activities, is necessary to finish the class assignments. The type of outside preparation may include homework assignments, projects, reading, and required studying.
  • Clinical Experience I – The first week of Clinical includes an introductory hands-on experience through the central service and sterile processing departments of a hospital or outpatient facility. The student will be tasked with observing and performing the basic duties of a central service instrument technician under the supervision of a facility staff member, preceptor, or clinical educator.
  • Clinical Experience II – Clinical is a 9-week hands-on experience through the central service and sterile processing departments of an outpatient facility or hospital. The student will be responsible for performing the duties of a central service instrument technician under the supervision of a facility staff member, preceptor, or clinical educator.

Central Service Instrument Technician Course Activities

What Do Central Service Instrument Technicians Do?

Central Service Instrument Technicians (CSITs) offer crucial support in all patient care services and their work is vital to preventing infection. They are tasked with being familiar with all of the tools used in an operating room, along with sterilizing and packaging instruments used during surgery. Their role includes decontaminating, processing, assembling, storing and distributing medical devices and supplies, as well as maintaining records associated with sterilization monitors.

Central Service Instrument Technicians regularly perform these tasks:

  • Examining and cleaning tools and surgical equipment before sterilization.
  • Sterilizing equipment and ensuring there are adequate surgical supplies.
  • Putting cleaned instruments in sterilizers like autoclaves.
  • Ordering, putting away or passing out medical devices, supplies, and instruments.
  • Keeping records related to sterilization monitors, orders, charges to patients, and inventory.
  • Reporting any possible equipment defects or problems to health care staff.
  • Ensuring sterile supplies have not expired.
  • Keeping a sterile environment.

The Central Service Instrument Technician (CSIT) program is available at the following campuses:

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