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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 or work in the field of Central Service Technology and are key to the healthcare system, including hospitals and clinics throughout San Diego County. These professionals work to clean and sterilize crucial equipment and supplies and are at the core of so many medical activities needed 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.

Central Service Technicians work 

  • primarily in the Sterile Processing Department or Central Service Department.
  • with medical supplies.
  • with medical equipment.
  • to process surgical instruments.


Enrollment is restricted to 20 students every fall semester. To be considered for the CST Program, students are required to submit a complete application, including a physical exam by your doctor and proof of having all required immunizations. Please reference the checklist that accompanies the application (click APPLICATION link below) to ensure you have all of the required materials before submitting your application packet. Applicants must submit their application packet to the Nursing Department in person (in Room 4502) or via U.S. Mail to: 8100 Gigantic Street, San Diego, CA. 92154.

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