Central Services Technology

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Program Spotlight

Central Service and Sterile Processing Technicians, process and distribute sterile equipment and other supplies throughout the medical facility.

In order to succeed as a Central Service Technician, students should be detail oriented, organized and possess strong communication skills in order to effectively work with medical facility patients and staff.

The CST Program at Skyline College

The CST Program consists of three semesters including a classroom course, a skills lab course, and an externship providing hands-on experience in a hospital setting. The externship will be offered to those successfully completing the classroom and lab classes. The hospital externship and the lab skills class are designed to provide the number of clinical hours required by the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA) to meet eligibility for taking the certification exam. Graduates will receive an industry recognized Certificate of Completion from Skyline College, which qualifies the graduate to take the CRCST certification exam.

Admission to the Central Service Technology Program is by Special Application only. The Special Application is available from July 1st - October 15th.

Career Outlook

Central Services Technology offers an interesting work environment where medical facilities rely on well-trained personnel to ensure all medical equipment is ready for optimal patient care. According to the Mayo Clinic website, Central Service Technicians will only grow in demand while the volume of surgeries increase. Average annual incomes for California in 2021 were $55,930 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Central Services Technicians can also undertake further training and education to advance to other health careers.

Skyline College Allied Health Sciences has a new Simulation Laboratory located in Building 7, Room 7-211. The lab features state-of-the-art Gaumard adult, infant and premie tetherless simulators. The lab also includes full patient monitors, beds, standard clinical supplies and a video recording system.

Patient simulators can provide all vital signs, including heart & respiratory rates, pulses, lung sounds, pupil response and oxygen saturation. The manikins are able to realistically simulate virtually any medical problem or condition, including cardiac, respiratory, neurological, musculoskeletal and metabolic issues.

The patient simulators provide a total hands-on experience in which students are able to see the results of their actions in real time. Currently, the Simulation Lab is used for training students in the Surgical Technology, Respiratory Care, Anesthesia Technology, and Central Services Technology programs.

If faculty at Skyline have any questions or would like to schedule some time in the lab, please contact Barbara Tovar, Lab Coordinator & Technologist at (650) 738-7928.

Upon completion of the program students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of sterile processing equal to an entry-level central service technician.
  • Demonstrate competence in clinical skills equal to an entry-level central service technician.
  • Demonstrate behavior appropriate for an entry-level central service technician.
Office Information

Location: STEM Division Office, Building 7 Room 7-130
Email: ranades@smccd.edu

Fall 2023 Courses

Type Status Title Days Time Instructor
Day Class   CLASS OVER SURG 441 - 89294 - Surgical Patient Care Concepts
Hours/semester: 88-99 lecture. Prerequisite: SURG 440 or equivalent. Corequisite: SURG 451.
Provides the student with a theoretical and practical understanding of the technology and practices used in caring for a patient undergoing a surgical procedure. Additional material covers the structure and function of a healthcare facility and specifically the Operating Room.
M T W Th 8:10am-9:20am Deal, F
Day Class   CLASS OVER SURG 446 - 91364 - Clinical Practice for CST
(Pass/No Pass.)
Hours/semester: 192 hours by arrangement in a clinical setting/semester. Prerequisite: SURG 448.
The third of three courses in Central Service Technology. Provides the student with supervised experience in sterile processing, supply distribution and inventory control.

M T W Th F TBA Shea, B
Day Class   IN
SURG 451 - 95487 - Surgical Skills Lab
(Pass/No Pass.)

Hours/semester: 264-297 lab/24-27 hours by arrangement.
Student practices the clinical skills required to demonstrate competency in the operating room. Skills include, but are not limited to, aseptic practices such as scrubbing, gowning and gloving, setting up the instrument table, positioning the patient, and passing instruments supplies and medications to the surgeon. Prepares the student for clinical internship.
TBA Deal, F

Thank you for your interest in the Central Services Technology program at Skyline College! The program begins once a year in January during Spring semester. Applications are accepted from July 1 - October 15.

Application Process

Admission into the Central Service Technology program is by special application only. The application is a 3-step process described below: Skyline College Application, Central Services Tech Application, and 1 reference letter. Twenty-five (25) applicants will be accepted each year.


There are no formal prerequisites, however:

  • Students must have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Since communication in the health care environment is of extreme importance, we recommend that applicants be eligible for English 846 or equivalent

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Central Service Technology Program requires the following application steps:

  1. Complete the Skyline College application
    • Make a note of your Skyline College ID (G#) when received via email
  2. Complete the Central Services Technology special application
    • Will be available from July 1 through October 15
  3. Submit one (1) recommendation letter. Applicants should download the Standard Form which describes what should be included in the letter. A general letter is acceptable addressing the qualities in the Standard Form. Please read the instructions on the Standard Form before giving them to the recommenders.

The following are suggested categories for recommenders:

  • Dean, Counselor, Principal, Teacher, or Instructor 
  • Employer or Supervisor 
  • Leaders of Community Organizations (volunteer, church, or club.)

Recommendations from close friends or relatives will not be accepted. Completed recommendation forms may be submitted directly to Shruti Ranade, Program Services Coordinator, at ranades@smccd.edu.

Ways to Submit:

  • The recommendation letter may be uploaded in Step 2, the Central Services Technology special application.
  • The recommendation letter may be emailed directly from the applicant to Shruti Ranade at ranades@smccd.edu. 

Please Note: Your application will not be considered COMPLETE until you receive verification that all three steps are complete.

Questions? Contact Shruti Ranade, Program Services Coordinator, at ranades@smccd.edu.


Students admitted to the program are required to complete a satisfactory physical examination, immunization documentation verifying freedom of communicable disease, a social security referenced background check, and drug test (at an additional cost) in order to officially secure their seat. All courses must be taken in sequence. A minimum grade of “C” is required in all Central Service Technology courses.

Clinical Affiliate Requirements

Clinical affiliates have several safety and health requirements to ensure patient safety. As such, these requirements are mandatory upon acceptance to the program. Students may need to complete these requirements multiple times throughout the program. Do not send any of these documents until requested to do so.

  • Evidence of good health in form of Physical Exam report signed by a practicing physician
  • Verification of all immunizations pertinent to health care personnel -- TB, Tetanus, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Hepatitis B, Chicken Pox, COVID-19
  • Cleared social security referenced background check
  • Cleared drug screen

The physical demands of a Central Service Technician can be challenging. The following required abilities are necessary:

  • Sit or stand up to eight (8) hours per day
  • Capable of lifting and carrying 30 pounds (13.6 kg)
  • Hear and communicate without visual cues
  • Practice in a confined space under stressful conditions

For further information, please contact:

Shruti Ranade, Program Services Coordinator | ranades@smccd.edu | (650) 738-4310


You must be a high school graduate or equivalent to enter the program. You will also be asked to verify that you are free from communicable disease and should be able to lift 30 pounds. It is highly recommended that you be eligible for English 846 or its equivalent.

Prior to starting classes, students admitted to the program are required to complete a satisfactory physical examination, immunization documentation verifying freedom of communicable disease, a social security referenced background check, and drug test. Typically, a student that has had a felony conviction in the last seven years would not be accepted for a hospital externship.

How to Get Started:

  • Complete a Skyline College Application.
  • Complete the Special Program Application
    • Admission to the Central Service Technology Program is by Special Application Only. All application materials must be returned during the open application period to be considered for the program. Notifications will be mailed within 30 days from the end of the application period.
  • There are no academic prerequisites, however, success in this field requires effective communication skills.


Total tuition for the whole program is $529. Note that other requirements, like the background check, drug screening, clinical requirement trackers, gas for travel, textbooks, and other supplies make the total cost of the program closer to $1,100.

Three semesters in length spanning just over 9 months. The first two classes are conducted at Skyline College with the final semester providing 192 hours of clinical practice in a hospital.

In the first semester, lectures and labs cover Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Sterilization and Disinfection, surgical instruments, safety, and regulations.

In the Second semester, you will practice procedures for instrument processing.

In the last semester, you will be assigned to a Central Service Department in a hospital or Surgery Center. In the CS Department, you will get practice in methods of Decontamination, Assembly, and Sterilization, as well as the Distribution of instruments, equipment and supplies. You will be expected to practice at least 6 hours per day, 30 hours per week so you will need to have flexible hours. Because the locations of the hospitals span the Bay Area, you will need reliable transportation.

The only formal educational prerequisite is a high school diploma or equivalent. However, since communication in the health care environment is of extreme importance, we recommend that applicants be eligible for English 846, about equivalent to a 10th grade level.

You will also need to pass:

  • a physical exam which would also show you are immune to Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR), Hepatitis B, Chickenpox, and show you are free of active TB.
  • a Social Security‐referenced background check
  • drug screening

These forms will given to accepted and waitlisted students at orientation.

Registration fees are approximately $529. Textbooks, travel, the Background Check and the Physical exam bring the costs up to about $1,100+/‐ for the whole program.

CSTs have the option of working in hospitals, clinics, ambulatory surgery centers, instrument repair, and even in the biotechnical industry.

Depending on the role you take on, salary may vary. In the Bay Area, CS techs can start at about $25 to $27 per hour. Within five years, CST’s can make over $30/ hour.

  1. Apply to Skyline College.
  2. Then go to the Central Service Technology application to complete and submit your application.

Twenty‐five students are randomly selected and another 15 are placed on the Waiting List. Notifications and the forms for the Background Check and Drug screening are given to accepted and waitlisted applicants at orientation.

Primary Contact

Shruti Ranade
Shruti Ranade (Program Service Coordinator)
Science|Math|Technology-STEM Division
ranades@smccd.edu More details »
Brian Shea
Brian Shea (Assistant Professor)
Science|Math|Technology-Surgical Careers (ANST|SURG)
More details »


Jing Folsom
Jing Folsom (Acting Dean of STEM)
Science|Math|Technology-Division Office
BLDG 7A-130A
More details »