April 19, 2021

Purdue adds externship program to certification prep courses for health care central service technicians

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University is pairing its online courses to prepare health care professionals for the Certified Registered Central Service Technician exam with an externship program that gets them the 400 hours of experiential learning they must have to take the exam and become certified.

The externships are now available through a partnership between Purdue Online and the College of Biomedical Equipment Technology. CBET, based in San Antonio, is a 13-year-old accredited private college offering biomedical equipment and health care technology and management training aimed at meeting demand for trained personnel in the health care industry.

“Purdue well understands how partnerships with professional institutions and organizations like CBET can add value to our non-degree offerings for professionals,” said Gerry McCartney, executive vice president of Purdue Online.

CBET will work with its large network of health care organizations to place individuals in an externship site convenient for them, with a qualified externship supervisor and personal live support throughout the program. The externships give central service, operating room, infection control and material management employees on-site experience at an approved facility.

Purdue already offers online International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM) certification training. Purdue’s program covers central service, health care leadership and health care materiel management, including a Central Service Technical Training course and a Central Service Leadership course, along with online certification exam review courses.

“A student can go through the Purdue program and, when they're ready to serve their externship, we’re ready to arrange that,” said Matt Bassuk, CBET’s director of learning technologies and marketing.

The 400 hours of hands-on experience is required to sit for the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) exam from IAHCSMM. The gold standard for the field,  IAHCSMM certification helps central service technicians demonstrate that they possess the essential knowledge and skills necessary for managing critical duties safely, effectively and consistently. It also ensures that they’re current with evolving instrumentation, technology, standards and best practices.

CBET’s expertise in facilitating externships and job placement made for a “natural and nice alignment to add value to the certificate program Purdue currently has,” said Richard Gonzales, CBET’s director. “It’s also fantastic for our students to be exposed to Purdue programs and opportunities. There’s all sorts of pathways these students could move into.”

CBET announced the Purdue partnership during the MD Expo, an industry conference for health care technology managers, held Friday and Saturday (April 16 and 17) in Dallas.

Central service technicians, also known as medical sterilizers, are on the front lines when it comes to preventing infection and ensuring patient safety. Their role in sterilization of instruments and devices is a vital responsibility in hospitals and other health care facilities.

Because of their key role, central service technicians have a plethora of career opportunities. Trained and certified employees are needed in hospitals and clinics; surgery, ambulatory and outpatient centers; dentist offices; and more. Demand for these technicians routinely outstrips supply.

“The folks who graduate out of these types of programs are going right to work,” Gonzales said.

For more information about central service courses and externships through Purdue, visit the program website or email centralserv@purdue.edu.

Writer: Greg Kline, 765-426-8545, gkline@purdue.edu

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