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Central Processing Technology Certificate


Central Processing Technology Certificate Courses and Requirements →

MassBay Health Sciences | Central Processing Technology | Information →


What is a Central Processing Technician (CPT)?

Central Service is the “Hub” of the medical care environment involving supplies and equipment needed for surgery and other patient care areas. The CPT provides key services to all departments, other healthcare professionals and patients in areas of materials management and with sterilizing and packaging surgical instruments. CPT’s assume an important role in patient care by preventing infections and the spread of disease. The lab will include campus and hospital-based practice settings. Through this practicum experience, you will become familiar with the central services of a hospital. The focus of this course is to provide you with comprehensive skills to perform competently and safely. You will have hands-on practice sessions to develop the skills and techniques required in performing various activities in the central services areas. The CPT is often held responsible for ensuring the cleanliness and safety of operating rooms, tables, and equipment. CPT’s also ensure that sufficient supplies of surgical needles, scalpels, and other surgical accessories are present in the operating room. CPTs may work in a number of different medical settings, including general hospitals, public health clinics, private doctors’ offices, and specialized surgical centers.


The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM) has produced a video titled “Central Sterile Supply Department: It All Starts Here”.

What is MassBay’s Central Processing Technology (CPT) Certificate Program?

This program meets one evening per week and begins at beginning of each semester (Fall, Spring, & Summer). The Fall & Spring classes occur over 15-weeks, the Summer semester is 10-weeks. The program consists of instruction in the basic sciences, medical terminology, instrumentation, sterilization, decontamination, disinfection, materials management and infection control. The clinical practice throughout the program is 200-hours and will be coordinated by the instructor at the college, and take place in various hospitals and ambulatory surgical settings throughout the greater Boston metropolitan area. Students are advised that the healthcare facilities to which they are assigned for clinical rotations may require that they submit to a criminal background check before beginning their clinical experiences. New students are accepted into the program on a rolling admission basis.

What Makes Central Processing Technology a good career choice?


  • Short-term Training: MassBay program is only one semester long, including both lecture and lab/clinical practice.
  • Solid Job Growth Prospects: In Massachusetts, this job is expected to grow 10% from 2008-2018.
  • Good Pay: Typical entry-level wage is approximately $16 to $20/hr. Median wage is approximately $18/hr (50% of CPTs earn less than this number, 50% earn more).
  • Room for Advancement: A CPT can move up to become a CPT II, then CPT III, and can advance to become a Supervisor or Manager.
  • Typical job benefits include medical and other insurance, 401(k) retirement savings plan, and some employers offer tuition reimbursement.



This course is based on the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM) training requirements and will prepare students to sit for the certification exam and receieve Provisional Certification.

What is Provisional Certification? Provisional Certification is attained when applicants choose to take the CRCST exam before they have completed their 400 hours of hands-on experience. It is NOT an exemption from the hands-on experience requirement. Whenever possible, applicants should complete their hands-on requirement before taking their CRCST exam. Doing so eliminates the risk of having to retake the exam if the hours requirement cannot be completed on time. Additionally, the experience is often very beneficial in helping applicants to better understand the key concepts and skills needed to excel in Central Service and on the certification exam. Individuals who attain provisional certification have six months in which to complete and submit documentation of their hands-on experience. If the experience is not completed and documented within the allotted six month period, the certification will be revoked and the individual will need to retest in order to regain certification. Applicants who attain provisional certification have 6 months to complete their hands-on experience component and submit proof of that to IAHCSMM Headquarters. If that is not completed in 6 months, the certification will be revoked and the person will need to retake the certification exam.


If you have any questions, please attend an upcoming health program information session. Check out our Info Session schedule. Or, contact Admissions at 508-279-4059 or