A photo of a hand with a non-latex glove on, pushing in stacked trays of surgical instruments being put into an autoclave to become sterilized.


Provide Vital Support

Students who become Central Service Technicians are key to the healthcare system including hospitals and clinics throughout San Diego County. These professionals clean and sterilize vital instrumentation and equipment used throughout the healthcare facility for patient care.

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The Central Services Technology Program trains students in proper sterilization of surgical instruments and handling of medical equipment. Central Service Technicians work primarily in the Sterile Processing Department or Central Service Department and work with medical supplies, equipment, and processing of surgical instruments. Upon satisfactory completion of the program, the student is eligible for a Southwestern College Certificate of Proficiency and to take the International Certification Exam. The salary of a Central Service Technician ranges from $16 to $25 per hour and varies by experience.

The program requires that students have the ability to communicate effectively in the English language (comprehension, verbal and writing skills). This is based on requirements from the clinical facilities as English is the working language in San Diego healthcare facilities.

Course Description

The course covers introduction to central service. Topics include microbiology, aseptic technique, disinfection, decontamination, sterilization, and wrapping/packaging of surgical instruments; review of body systems and surgical instruments; medical terminology, safety, risk management, regulations, inventory management, ethical responsibilities, and communication skills. Laboratory experience supports the introduction to the hospital Central Supply Unit and the role of the Central Supply Technician.

The program consists of three courses. Each course is nine-weeks in length (for a total of 27 weeks) and is limited to 20 students per course.

  • ST-10A is offered two evenings a week (Tuesdays & Thursdays) 5:45 p.m. - 9:35 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. for nine weeks.
  • ST-10B & ST-10C courses are 200 hours each in the laboratory (hospital setting).

Admission Procedures

Submit a complete application packet based on the checklist provided. The application packet must include the physical exam and immunization forms filled out by your healthcare provider. Forms and copies of immunization records and/or titer (blood test) results are required for clinical placement in the program.

CST applications will be submitted online 
Link to Online CST Application is at the bottom of this page.
Do not mail-in a paper application packet

The CST Program accepts 20 students every fall semester. We will accept additional students as alternates (in case potential students from the accepted group are unable to participate). Accepted students will be notified via SWC email after the application period closes, and after all applications have been reviewed.

All accepted students are expected to meet on the first day of class. Students who fail to meet the class will have to re-apply for the next available course.

Fall 2023 Application Period: 

Submit your CST application packet online during the dates listed below.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at 8 am to Friday, May 5, 2023 at 4 pm

Submitting an application does not guarantee entry into the program.

Application Documents & Instructions

Before filling out the online application, gather all required documents and forms using the checklist: high school transcript (optional), social security card, driver’s license/state ID, CPR certification, physical exam/immunization forms filled out, immunization records and/or titers (lab work).

Download, print and fill out the physical exam and immunization forms (pages 1-7). Pages 1-2 are filled out by you. Your healthcare provider/doctor will fill out pages 3-4 (physical exam) and pages 5-7 (immunizations, TB test results, and flu shot form). Scan your forms (pages 1-7, filled out completely) and a copy of your immunization records and/or titers (lab work) for MMR, Hep B, Varicella, TDAP, including flu shot, and TB test results. Then, upload your documents and forms as attachments when you complete the Online CST Application using the button below.

Important note: Give yourself and your doctor/healthcare provider ample time to complete the physical exam/immunization forms. Most of the work in applying for the CST Program involves getting these forms filled out and providing copies of your records.

Update related to CoVid-19 vaccine: As of September 30, 2021, all major Healthcare Systems in San Diego County require students and faculty to be fully vaccinated for CoVid-19. Applicants to any Nursing and Health Occupations (ADN, VN-Step-up, VN, CNA, Acute Care CNA, Surgical Technology, Central Service Technician, and Operating Room Nurse) programs will be required to submit proof of vaccine status at time of application.

Online Application

IMPORTANT: You must be logged in with your MySWC Account to apply. If you're having difficulty, go to https://accounts.google.com/logout to completely logout of all of your G Suite accounts, then try logging in with your MySWC.

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