How Long Does it Take to Become a Sterile Processing Technician?

This article will answer the question, How long does it take to become a sterile processing technician?

Becoming a sterile processing technician is an excellent way to join the hospital’s surgical unit. You’ll be performing several integral tasks behind the scenes.

These include maintaining equipment to ensure it is safe for patient use. You’ll also assess contamination risks in surgical settings and provide means to keep patients safe.

Sterile Processing Technician Program Length

Becoming an expert in this field requires understanding the academic, training, and licensing essentials. This will enable you to learn whether it’s your right career choice.

  • Understanding a Sterile Processing Technician

This medical professional is essential to the care and security of surgery patients.

By checking, categorizing, and sterilizing all surgical tools, they spend their efforts preserving a hygienic surgical environment. They will inform a surgeon right away if problems or mistakes happen.

Furthermore, they can provide preventative care, record maintenance and repairs, test and calibrate medical equipment, and more.

You can work in hospitals, community clinics, outpatient centers, and other healthcare settings as a specialist in this area.

How Long Is Sterile Processing Tech Training?

Some career paths are quicker, requiring ten to two years of study, and are available online, offline, and at community institutions.

However, you must know that the specific amount of time you’ll dedicate to any career goal depends on several crucial factors. You choose the program and institution you wish to obtain such credentials from.

Please consider contacting your desired institution to determine which program will suit you. Interviewing professors and students is another way to get more details about the program.

Academic Essentials

To become an expert in this field, a high school diploma or equivalent is required, encompassing biology, chemistry, and medicine courses.

  • Certificate Programs in Sterile Processing Technology

Most employers prefer candidates with these academic qualifications. It’s also a swift way to enter this profession without committing donkey years, as in other fields.

While earning a certificate in this field, you’ll be equipped with the essential experiences, skills, and knowledge required to join the surgical team.

Moreover, you’ll be taught safe and efficient work practices to ensure that medical equipment is in excellent order.

Some areas of study include introduction to healthcare, central sterile processing tech, primary hygienic services materials and management, and introduction to healthcare labs.

  • Bachelor’s Degree 

Obtaining advanced credentials may be optional to enter this profession.

But it’s critical if you want to be qualified for advanced roles in the industry. We refer to positions such as surgical tech, central sterile tech, operating room tech, etc.

A bachelor’s degree in this field can be obtained at colleges and universities. Completing such studies typically takes four years, and advanced certificates like a master’s degree can also be pursued.

  • Field Experience

It may be challenging to step into a job without experience or a foundation of knowledge. The field is surrounded by high-tech instrumentation, equipment, and machinery.

You ought to be proficient with these devices to prevent any margin for error. In this regard, you’ll have to gain insightful experience in the field.

You can seek an apprenticeship during your studies or after your graduation. This program enhances school-based skills, enables practical application, and offers entry-level employment and on-the-job experience.

Certification for Sterile Processing Technicians

Although you can get employed without an attestation, getting one can be highly beneficial.

It will show recruiters you have fundamental knowledge and skills for your desired role. Moreover, it will give you a substantial leg up over other applicants.

Some attestations you can obtain include CSPM, CRSCT, CSPDT, CST, CIS, CPT, and level CST. Some recognized agencies, such as IAHCSMM and CBSPD, offer these credentials.

How long does it take to get a CRCST certification? You need 400 hours of practicals, with six months of provisional licensing.

Before you get these attestations, you’ll need to meet a few criteria. These include taking and passing occupational exams, work experience, academic qualifications, and more.

About the Certification Exams

The qualification exam is a multi-choice question covering some field areas.

Before sitting for the test, you’ll need to finish some hours of real-world experience in critical areas, including decontamination, sterilization, quality assurance processes, packaging tools, storage and distribution, etc.

The necessities for the exams rely on the type of attestation you wish to get.

However, most will prefer that you finish at least 12 months of full-time career experience and do well in your schoolwork with at least a 70% grade.

Every five years, it’ll be crucial to update your license.

While renewing your document, a few criteria must be met. These include covering a renewal fee and finishing some hours of continued education.

Cost Implication

Knowing how much you’ll spend to finish an educational program in this field is vital.

You can use such knowledge to promptly make informed decisions regarding your finances and adequate plans. Most tech programs in this field cost around $20,000.

You can spend more or less than this amount depending on critical factors such as your choice of institution, program, location, and residential status.

Moreover, there may be extra charges such as textbooks, lab fees, travel expenses, etc.

You can explore financing options if you can’t afford the mentioned price range. Some schools offer cheaper tuition and on-campus jobs. You can also use scholarships and student loans to cover your school expenses.

Salary of a Sterile Processing Technologist

You must also know how much you’ll earn after satisfying the academic and certification requirements. The BLS claims the region’s median annual wage for experts is $42,000 to $60,000.

However, this amount can vary based on some crucial elements. They include your geographical location, workplace, level of education and experience, and more.

However, this timeline can be driven by a few vital elements. These include your educational background, location, work setting, and experience level.

You can earn more than the above amount if you hold advanced certificates and have significant years of experience.

Becoming a sterile processing technologist takes little time. You can complete all academic and qualification procedures within two years of intensive training.

However, those who thirst for advanced studies must choose programs longer than two years. Use the information we’ve provided to help you choose the right program.