The National Board for Certification in Medical Instrumentation (NBCMI) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that certifies individuals who work with medical equipment and instruments. It offers both sterile processing technician and central service specialist certification programs. Those who pass the certification exam and meet other requirements can earn a NBCMI CRCST credential. CRCSTs are responsible for the decontaminating, inspecting, assembling, disassembling, and packaging of reusable surgical instruments and supplies in healthcare facilities.
To become a crcst certification you must complete an accredited central service/sterile processing program or have equivalent experience. Once you have this background, you can take the international certification exam offered by IAHCSMM. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. You must score at least 70% correct to pass the test, so if you miss some questions, it’s best to make educated guesses. The IAHCSMM provides various study materials to help you prepare for the exam, including an online course and IAHCSMM CRCST practice tests.
After you pass the crcst exam, you must complete 400 hours of hands-on experience in a central services department. This experience can be completed either before testing, or within six months of passing the exam. The experience must include equipment storage, sterilization and disinfection, prep & packing of instruments, quality assurance, and decontamination. You can also document your experience by having a manager or supervisor write a letter of recommendation, which must be submitted to IAHCSMM along with the application for certification.
MVCTC’s AHE-299 course, which is offered every other spring semester, prepares students to take the international CRCST exam governed by IAHCSMM. The class is worth 6 Continuing Education Units. Students who successfully pass the exam are eligible for a provisional CRCST certificate, which is valid for six months. In order to become fully certified, you must pass the exam again and submit documentation of 400 hours of hands-on experience at an approved medical facility.
Once you’ve passed the exam, you can begin your career as a sterile processing technician. Some healthcare organizations prefer to hire only CCSTs, so obtaining your credential will give you a leg up when seeking employment. In addition, many employers offer financial incentives to their employees who obtain the CRCST credential.
The sterile processing technician job description is demanding and requires extensive hands-on experience. But the rewards of a career in the field of central sterile supply can be well worth the hard work. Whether you’re an entry-level employee or already working in the industry, you can build a successful career in this important healthcare field with the proper training and certifications. Then, you can focus on providing patients with safe and clean medical equipment in their time of need. Good luck!