A central sterile processing department (CSPD) is essential to any hospital or medical facility. Without a CSPD, surgeries and other medical procedures could not be performed safely and efficiently. If you’re interested in working in a CSPD, there are a few things you need to know. We’ll cover the education and experience requirements for working in a CSPD as well as the duties of this important position.  

Education and Experience Requirements  

Most employers will require that candidates for a CSPD job have at least a high school diploma or GED. However, some employers may prefer or require candidates to have completed a formal training program in sterile processing, which community colleges and technical schools typically offer. Many professional organizations also offer certification programs for sterile processing technicians.  

In terms of experience, most employers will require at least one year of experience working in a medical setting. However, some may prefer candidates with two or more years of experience. Experience working in an operating room, recovery room, or other medical sterilization environment is also helpful.  

Get Certified  

To get a job with SPD, you need to be certified by the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM). There are two levels of certification: Certified Central Service Technician (CCST) and Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST). To become a CCST, you must have worked full-time in a central service or sterile processing department for at least one year and pass an exam. To become a CRCST, you must have at least two years of full-time experience working in a central service or sterile processing department and passing an exam. If you are looking for a course to help you study for the exam, Premier Central Services offers these courses. 

Create a portfolio   

When you apply for a CSP position, your potential employer will want to see evidence of your previous work experience and technical skills. Creating a portfolio is a great way to organize your experience and highlight your accomplishments. Your portfolio can include items such as your resume, letters of recommendation, and samples of your work. If you have yet to gain experience working in CSP, you can include relevant coursework or training programs that you have completed.  

Find an open position  

Once you’re certified, you can start applying for jobs. Check out job boards like Indeed.com or Glassdoor.com and search for open positions in your area. You can also contact your local hospital directly and inquire about any open positions or upcoming job fairs.  


Research the Facility  

The first step is to research the facility where you would like to work. Most hospitals have a central sterile processing department, and each facility has its unique way of running the department. For example, some hospitals outsource their CSP services while others keep the department in-house. It’s important that you familiarize yourself with the hospital’s structure and policies so that you can be prepared for your interview.  


Attend a job fair  

If you want to increase your chances of getting hired as an SPD technician, consider attending a job fair specifically for this field. The annual Health Care Employment Services (HES) Job Fair is the largest event of its kind, bringing together over 1,000 hospitals and healthcare facilities from across the country with job seekers who are looking for employment in the healthcare industry. You can find more information about the HES Job Fair on their website.  

Job Duties  

As a sterile processing technician, your job is to clean and sterilize surgical instruments and equipment. This means that you will take the equipment apart, clean it using special cleaners, put it back together, and get it ready to use again. You will need to keep the sterilization equipment clean and working. This includes autoclaves. You might also need to restock things like gowns, gloves, and drapes in the surgical suite. 


A career as a sterile processing technician can be both challenging and rewarding. If you’re interested in pursuing this career path, check that you have the required education and experience. If you work in a CSPD, your main job will be cleaning and ensuring the surgical instruments are clean. You must also keep the surgical suite clean and stocked with supplies. 

William DeLuca, CRCST, CHL, CIS, is associate director of the sterile processing department at Mount Sinai West.