Mastering CRCST Exam Requirements: Your Path to Certification Success

Qualifying for the CRCST exam requires understanding the key criteria and necessary steps—this is exactly what you’ll find here. With a high school diploma or GED and 400 documented hours of experience, you can pursue CRCST certification. Our guide strips away the fluff and zeroes in on the technicalities of crcst exam requirements, from eligibility to exam scheduling, giving you a clear roadmap to certification. Read on for a concise, no-nonsense approach to prepare you for exam day.

Key Takeaways

  • The CRCST certification is globally recognized and signifies a professional’s proficiency in sterile processing, adhering to international ISO standards and ensuring patient safety.
  • Eligibility for the CRCST exam includes having a high school diploma or equivalent and documenting 400 hours of practical experience in various sterile processing functions within five years prior to application.
  • Maintaining CRCST certification requires annual renewal with the accumulation of 12 Continuing Education (CE) credits related to sterile processing and payment of a renewal fee.

Understanding CRCST Certification

Sterile Processing Technicians working in a healthcare facility

As a beacon of excellence in the sterile processing field, the CRCST certification program is designed to cater to both entry-level and seasoned technicians. It serves as a testament to your specialized knowledge, essential in managing the complexity of modern surgical instrumentation.

Aligned with international ISO standards, the CRCST certification enjoys global recognition, opening doors to opportunities both within the US and internationally. Obtaining a provisional certification can be a stepping stone towards achieving the full CRCST certification.

The Role of a CRCST

As a Sterile Processing Technician, you shoulder a significant responsibility in maintaining patient safety through meticulous sterilization processes. Sterile processing technicians are expected to adhere meticulously to manufacturers’ instructions for cleaning, handling, and sterilizing equipment. A thorough understanding of safety protocols, including the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and negative pressure requirements in decontamination areas, is also necessary. Being a member of a healthcare sterile processing association can provide additional resources and support in your role.

Why CRCST Certification Matters

The CRCST certification is a hallmark of expertise within the healthcare industry, showcasing your ability to manage intricate and evolving responsibilities. It signifies the importance of maintaining up-to-date knowledge and skills in your field.

Furthermore, organizations like HSPA are continually pushing for legislative and regulatory changes that recognize CRCST certification, a certified registered central service, as a critical standard for competent services in patient care and safety.

Eligibility Criteria for the CRCST Exam

Sterile processing technician gaining hands-on experience

Candidates must meet certain prerequisites to qualify for the CRCST exam. These requirements include educational qualifications and hands-on experience in specific aspects of sterile processing.

As a comprehensive assessment, the CRCST certification exam measures your understanding of complex surgical instruments, infection control practices, and patient safety.

Educational Prerequisites

The educational requirement for the CRCST certification exam is a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a General Education Diploma (GED). This stipulation ensures that candidates possess a basic educational foundation before tackling the complex subject matter of sterile processing.

Experience Requirements

Apart from education, the CRCST exam also requires practical, hands-on experience. The CRCST certification demands documentation of 400 hours of practical experience, gained within the five years prior to the application. This experience needs to be obtained in areas such as:

  • Decontamination
  • Preparation and packaging
  • Sterilization and disinfection
  • Storage and distribution
  • Quality assurance processes
  • Equipment handling

The CRCST Certification Process

The path to CRCST certification includes the following steps:

  1. Choose the certification type that best suits your career goals.
  2. Detail your hands-on experience in the field, whether on a paid or volunteer basis.
  3. Remit the application fee.
  4. Submit your application.
  5. Once approved, you will receive an email with instructions on how to schedule your exam.

Application Steps

The application fee for the CRCST exam is $140, which caters to processing the application and one exam attempt at a Prometric Testing Facility. If a retake is necessary, additional fees apply.

Preparing for the Exam

Sterile Processing Technician studying for the CRCST exam

Effective preparation plays a pivotal role in achieving success in the CRCST exam. This should involve:

  • Using up-to-date study materials specifically designed for the CRCST exam, such as the CS Technical Manual and AORN’s Guidelines for Perioperative Practice
  • Considering enrolling in comprehensive preparatory courses
  • Utilizing online practice exams to familiarize yourself with the exam environment.

Scheduling Your Exam Appointment

Upon approval of your application, a 90-day eligibility period is provided to schedule your crcst exam. The exam can be scheduled at any of the prometric testing centers or prometric testing facilities worldwide, and it is advisable to schedule within the first 45 days of eligibility for better seat availability.

Exam Content and Structure

Computer-based CRCST exam setting

As a computer-based test, the CRCST exam assesses a wide array of core knowledge areas essential for sterile processing functions. Candidates are given 3 hours to answer 150 multiple-choice questions, challenging them to demonstrate their knowledge effectively and efficiently.

Core Knowledge Areas

The CRCST exam tests a wide range of areas, including:

  • The sterilization process
  • Sterile storage
  • Inventory management
  • The care, handling, and distribution of patient care equipment
  • Infection control and prevention
  • Familiarity with various microorganisms and disease classifications.

Question Format

The CRCST exam consists of multiple-choice questions categorized into seven sections, each contributing differently to the final score. Each question is worth the same number of points, and there is no penalty for incorrect answers, allowing you to make educated guesses without harming your overall score.

Maintaining Your CRCST Certification

To maintain your CRCST certification, you must renew it annually. This process involves accumulating 12 Continuing Education (CE) credits related to sterile processing over the year and remitting a $50 renewal fee.

Continuing Education

To ensure your knowledge stays current, CRCST certification requires you to earn 12 CE credits annually. These credits can be acquired through various avenues, such as:

  • HSPA’s educational offerings
  • Industry conferences
  • Seminars
  • Approved college courses

Renewal Process

You can renew your CRCST certification online via the HSPA website for immediate processing or send it by mail, which could take an extra two to three weeks. The annual processing fee for renewal is $50, covering all certifications held by an individual.

Additional Certifications for Career Advancement

Beyond CRCST certification, there are additional certifications, like the Certified Instrument Specialist (CIS) and Certified Healthcare Leader (CHL). These certifications can help you advance your career and secure higher-level positions in the Central Sterile Services Department, also known as the Sterile Processing department.

Tips for Success on the CRCST Exam

Sterile Processing Technician creating a personalized study plan for the CRCST exam

Securing success in the CRCST exam goes beyond knowledge, it necessitates a strategic study and test-taking approach. This includes:

  • Creating a personalized study plan
  • Identifying weaknesses
  • Setting realistic study goals
  • Leveraging active recall and spaced repetition techniques
  • Managing time effectively during the exam
  • Maintaining calmness and focus

By following these strategies and utilizing a practice exam, as well as taking advantage of practice tests, you can increase your chances of achieving a successful outcome in the CRCST exam.


To wrap things up, the CRCST certification is a significant accomplishment that can propel your career in the healthcare industry. It not only validates your expertise but also sets you apart as a professional committed to upholding the highest standards of patient safety. With the right preparation, perseverance, and commitment, you can conquer the CRCST exam and pave your way to success in sterile processing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you need to pass Crcst exam?

To pass the CRCST exam, you need to answer 70% of the 125 scored questions correctly out of a total of 150 questions. Good luck with your exam preparation!

How to get 400 hours for Crcst?

To get 400 hours for CRCST, you need to complete the hours in a Sterile Processing department on a paid or volunteer basis, either before testing or within six months of passing the exam. Start gaining experience as soon as possible to meet this requirement.

Is the Crcst exam hard?

The CRCST exam is challenging, as 75% of the 8,056 exams taken in 2021 were passed. It requires thorough academic and professional preparation to succeed.

Which states require Crcst certification?

The only states that require Crcst certification for SP technicians currently are Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

What is the CRCST certification?

The CRCST certification is a globally recognized certification for sterile processing professionals, ensuring they have the necessary knowledge and skills to maintain patient safety and adhere to regulatory standards.