Sterile Processing and Distribution Certificate Program Information


Prepare to become a vital asset to patient care as a Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician. At Elgin Community College, the Sterile Processing and Distribution course (SGT 100) prepares students to perform Central Service departmental work in a hospital. You'll learn critical skills through classroom didactic, on-campus lab sessions, and clinical site training for maintaining sterile medical equipment and devices. ECC's Sterile Processing and Distribution graduates can obtain immediate employment in hospitals and surgery centers throughout the region looking for staff. Central Service Tech program graduates are also eligible to receive professional certification, which most medical facilities prefer.

Program Approval

Earn an industry-recognized credential that local employers highly value. Successful course completion and other requirements offer eligibility to take the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM) Provisional Examination and the Certification Board of Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician Certification Examination.

Course Information

The SPD course is a one-semester 5-credit Basic Vocational Certificate program consisting of classroom and on-campus lab time. The course also includes clinical hours where you can get hands-on experience at a local healthcare facility under the supervision of hospital staff, ECC instructors, and the program director. After registering for SGT 100, the ECC Health Professions office will email you about these requirements.

The SPD course covers cleaning, disinfecting, decontamination, inspection, tray assembly, sterilization, and distribution of surgical instruments, equipment, and supplies. The responsibilities of the Central Service Technician are paramount to quality patient care and patient outcomes.

How do I apply for Admission to the Sterile Processing and Distribution Program?

SGT-100 Sterile Processing and Distribution Admission Requirements

  • Proof of high school diploma or high school equivalency and one of the following within the last five years:
    • ECC Reading Placement Score of 95 or higher
    • ACT Reading Score of 19 or higher
    • SAT/PSAT Reading Score of 480 or higher
    • High School GPA of 3.0 or higher (unweighted, based on at least 6 semesters excluding summer)
    • Grade of C or better in RDG 091 or LTC 099
    • Grade of C or better in HPE 112

All students who register for SGT 100 must attend an information session and/or meet with the program director before the start of the actual ECC semester to learn strategies to succeed in the program.

The state of Illinois requires Health Professions students to have a social security number for a required background check at the start of the program. Students will also need to complete several other requirements, such as a drug test, providing current proof of immunizations, and a medical form to be able to attend class and clinical. 

What's the difference between a Central Service Tech and a Sterile Processing Tech?

The quick answer is...there is no difference. There are many names used to describe the duties and responsibilities of sterile processing, such as Central Sterile Service, Central Service, Central Processing Service, and even Medical Supply Services or Surgical Instrument Services. The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM) and the Certification Board of Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) recognize these titles. They offer many types of certification testing options. Central Service technicians are in high demand in the Northern Illinois region, and the hospital facilities regularly contact ECC with job opportunities.

What do sterile processing technicians do?

  • Operates sterilization equipment and inspects instruments, equipment, and containers to ensure cleanliness and proper functioning.
  • Clean, disinfect, and sterilize surgical instruments and trays for hospital departments. 
  • Responsible for the decontamination, processing, sterilization, and store procedure trays according to prescribed procedures.

Did you know that Sterile Processing and Distribution is part of the ICAPS program?

The Integrated Career & Academic Preparation System (ICAPS) enables students to earn a certificate while working to earn a high school equivalency or improve English language skills, reading, or math.

Learn more about the ICAPS support program.

Learn more about Basic Vocational Certifications in Sterile Processing and Distribution at ECC!

Earning a certificate that qualifies you to work in Healthcare Central Service can set your career in motion.

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