Sterile Processing Requirements & Technical Standards

In the Sterile Processing program, you must maintain academic and technical standards in order to maintain your seat and be successful in the Sterile Processing program.

The below sections outline those requirements; if you have any questions please contact Sterile Processing Staff. 

Program Requirements

  • All Sterile Processing certificate courses must be completed within three years from the initial entrance into the program.
  • All courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better or you will be academically withdrawn.
  • You must be 18 years of age before the second (Spring) semester of the program.

Technical Standards

In the sterile processing program, you must be able to:

  • Stand, bend, stoop, and/or sit for long periods of time in one location with minimal/no breaks.
  • Lift and hold waist high a minimum of 20 pounds such as an instrument tray while maintaining package integrity.
  • Refrain from nourishment or restroom breaks for periods up to the duration of your shift.
  • Demonstrate sufficient visual and tactile ability to inspect fine instruments with/without corrective lenses while wearing safety glasses.
  • Demonstrate sufficient peripheral vision to anticipate and function while in the sterile processing environment.
  • Hear and understand muffled communication without visualization of the communicator’s mouth/lips within the operating room suite (an operating room suite can be up to 300 square feet).
  • Hear activation/warning signals on equipment.
  • Detect odors sufficient to maintain environmental safety and patient needs.
  • Manipulate instruments, supplies, and equipment with speed, dexterity, and good eye-hand coordination.
  • Ambulate/move around without assistive devices and within confined spaces.
  • Assist with and/or lift, move, position, and manipulate, with or without assistive devices, the patient care equipment.
  • Communicate and understand fluent English both verbally and in writing.
  • Be free of reportable communicable diseases and chemical abuse.
  • Demonstrate immunity to rubella, rubeola, tuberculosis, varicella, mumps and hepatitis B or be vaccinated against these diseases.
  • Possess short- and long-term memory sufficient to perform tasks such as, but not limited to mentally tracking surgical supplies and performing anticipation skills.
  • Make appropriate judgments and decisions.
  • Demonstrate the use of positive coping skills under stress.
  • Demonstrate calm and effective responses, especially in emergency situations.
  • Exhibit positive interpersonal skills in patient, staff, and faculty interactions.
  • Demonstrate confidentiality by not sharing “world of the OR” with others including family members.
  • Take “call” leaving family and friends at inconvenient times and within a geographic area that allows a 20-30 minute response according to policies.
  • Must be able to wear a surgical face mask for the duration of your shift.

Adapted from the Association of Surgical Technologists

Need help? Contact Sterile Processing staff.