How long does it take to get Crcst?

How long does it take to get Crcst? – Those looking to pursue a career in the healthcare industry usually know of professions such as doctors, surgeons or nurses. And while no one disputes that these are noble and respectable professions, few realize that these aren’t the only viable career options in this field. One alternative for those who want to be a part of this sector but do not want to go for the mainstream options is sterilization tech.

What is Sterilization Tech?

Sterilization tech is a field which involves the removal of all living things, (most specifically disease-causing micro-organisms) from any object. Sterile processing departments (SPD for short) are commonplace in all quality healthcare setups from big hospitals and to some clinics. These departments are responsible for the cleaning and disinfection of surgical and dental instruments.

Used equipment from all over the hospital is sent to the SPD. Here these tools are superficially washed, rinsed and packaged before going through a rigorous sterilization process. The finished products, free of all pathogens, are then available for reuse. The personnel who work in SPDs and are responsible for overseeing the entire process are called sterile processing technicians.

Many of the instruments are used in invasive procedures such as surgery. Even the smallest of mishaps in the sterilization process could result in contaminated implements which could infect the patient. As they are already in a vulnerable state, patients may even die because of such infections. This is why the job of a sterilization technician is of utmost importance.

Career Opportunities:

Sterile tech has a rapidly rising job market. Predictions by reliable entities such as the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics predict that the job in this field could increase by as much as 11 per cent between the years 2016 to 2026. That’s a total of over six thousand new posts opening for those looking to enter this field. Given the rapid increase in healthcare needs compounded by the fact that the precision of this job cannot be entrusted to automation mean that this trend is sure to hold up for years to come.  

Sterilization technicians can expect to make anywhere between 28 thousand up to 109 thousand U.S. dollars a year. The salary varies according to the amount of training and experience along with which hospital or state you work in. The lower end of the spectrum is more pertinent to newcomers in the profession whereas the highest salaries are reserved for those who stick around in the field long enough to gain enough experience to get a managerial post. Another way in which one could increase potential pay is by getting a recognized certification. (mentioned below)

Qualification Requirements:

One of the main deterrents for those who wish to be a part of the healthcare industry is going through medical school. Med school is a gruelling 4-year post-grad programme. Graduates are then expected to sit for licencing exams and then complete a 3 to 8-year residency programme before they can become fully practising doctors. To make matters worse, the expensive tuition fees of the med school put it far beyond an average person’s reach. Those who opt for student loans end up paying them off for years to come. Nursing school isn’t much better in these regards either.

Sterilization techs can be a part of this industry without having to go through such hassles. The training programmes vary from institute to institute in terms of courses and overall length. Most programmes last from a few weeks to a few months. Over this course of time, 28 to 200 hours of theoretical knowledge and hands-on training is imparted to trainees. At the end of the course, certificates or diplomas are handed out, and the technicians can now enter the professional world.

CRCST and Other Certifications:

After receiving their diploma, sterile technicians could opt to gain a universally recognized certification to open up better career paths. There are a few recognized certifications among which the main ones are CRCST and CSPDT.

CRCST (Certified Registered Central Service Technician) is provided by the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM). To apply a sterile technician needs to go through 400 hours of work experience after their diploma. This work experience needs to be completed before or within six months following the 3 hours long CRCST exam.

CSPDT (Certified Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician) or CBSPD certification (Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution) is another excellent option. To be applicable for its exam, candidates must have worked in an SPD for at least one year full time (or equivalent amount part-time). They must then study for and give the 2-hour exam to receive this qualification.

The total time investment from the start of training until recognized certification is roughly only one to one and a half year.


Sterilization tech is a low investment high reward career option, which is perfect for those who wish to play a role in the healthcare of the invalids but do not wish to do so as doctors or nurses. For those who are meticulous and committed in their work, the sky is the limit in this field with 6 figure salaries as a real possibility.

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