Do you want to take this career path? Then you’ll enjoy your time here. This article will focus on how to become a sterile process tech.
In addition, we’ll talk about the duration of study programs and the average annual salary. But before we do that, let’s review their duties in the clinical sector.
Sterile Processing Technician Requirements
A career in sterile processing will be ideal for those interested in maintaining lifesaving equipment.
You’ll work alongside physicians in the surgical unit to provide outstanding patient care. Without the help of sterile processing technicians, the job of medical doctors is often not easy or successful.
Who is a Sterile Processing Tech?
This is simply a medical practitioner who disinfects equipment in an operating room. Besides sterilizing tools, they perform other critical clinical tasks within the industry.
These include preparing surgical units for scheduled and urgent surgeries and assessing a hospital’s hygiene resources.
Surgical processing techs often use their biology and infection control knowledge to maintain up-to-date skills for properly cleaning medical tools.
They can also remove hospital waste and ensure it’s disposed of properly.
Installing medical equipment, testing, calibrating tools, performing preventive maintenance, reviewing tech manuals, etc., are additional roles of these experts.
Their primary workplace is the hospital. But you can find them in doctor’s offices, medical labs, and clinics.
Sterile Processing Technician Education & Qualifications
Before we award you the title above, you must satisfy all academic, experience, and certification requirements.
The following paragraphs will enlighten you on these essentials before taking further steps. Let’s get on with our discussion right away.
Here is how to become a sterilization technician.
Get a High School Diploma or Equivalent
You must hold a secondary school certificate or GED to work as a sterile processing tech. Such education will prepare you for your target career.
During your studies, you’ll offer subjects like biology, medicine, chemistry, and other science-related classes. These classes will provide you with foundational knowledge and skills to work efficiently in the sector.
With a high school diploma, you can swiftly enroll in training or degree programs in the field. You can also qualify for entry-level jobs to gain more skills and experience in the field.
Finish a Sterile Processing Technician Diploma or Training Program
As with many clinical careers, having a high school diploma may not guarantee your success in the industry. You’ll need to advance both academically and experience-wise.
You can start this path by earning a diploma or finishing a training program at community colleges, training schools, or online.
Sterile processing tech programs will teach you how to select and use medical tools at work. You’ll also learn how to prepare surgical trays, move items from one location to another, and communicate with other clinical experts.
While engaging in coursework within your program, you’ll have the chance to participate in classroom learning, lab time, and hands-on experience.
Finishing a training program in this field takes around ten weeks to two years.
Some courses you will likely offer include microbiology, cleaning and disinfection, infection control & prevention, and inventory management. Others are anatomy and physiology, using and storing surgical instruments, decontamination and sterilization, etc.
It would be best to meet certain conditions before qualifying for the sterile processing program. These include providing proof of a high school diploma or GED and passing the entrance exams.
The test is set to evaluate your basic problem-solving skills and your capability to manage coursework.
Hands-on experience is another critical criterion for becoming an expert in this field. You can acquire such competencies while pursuing your education.
Most programs include internships in their study curriculum. They aim to help you develop skills learned in the classroom and apply your knowledge in a practical setting.
Some places you can finish your internships include the hospital or other health-related settings. A job offer can pop up after your internship if you’re lucky. This is possible for noteworthy hard workers.
Another way to gain field experience is to take entry-level jobs in a health-related facility. You’ll have the chance to learn from certified physicians and other clinical teams.
Moreover, you will be paid for your services.
Acquiring certification is an option for aspiring sterile processing technicians. However, the document is highly beneficial when seeking employment.
It will demonstrate your competence in the field to potential employers. Additionally, it will set you apart from other job seekers in a competitive labor market.
Before receiving either of them, you must meet certain conditions, including having work experience valid for five years.
You’ll be required to finish 23 months of full-time work as a sterile processing technician and six months of full-time experience in a clinical setting.
Moreover, you pass the professional exams with at least 70% and work for one year in healthcare product sales related to sterile processing equipment.
About the Professional Exams
The professional tests for experts in this field are intended to evaluate prospective technicians’ knowledge, skills, and experience.
You’ll be expected to answer an average of 150 multiple-choice questions in under three hours.
Areas where questions will be obtained include cleaning, decontamination, disinfection, sterilization processes, patient care equipment, etc.
Once you pass the test, you’ll be issued your certificate. However, you may be required to renew it after a certain period. When renewing this credential, there are set conditions you must fulfill.
They include paying a renewal fee and finishing some hours of continuing education.
Cost of Finishing a Sterile Processing Program
Before venturing into this career field, you must know how much is involved. This will help you decide whether or not it is the right career path for you.
Based on research, diploma courses in this field are around $20,000. Besides this amount, other expenses can add up to the overall cost. We are talking about necessities like books, lab fees, and more.
While true, certain factors can influence your time spent pursuing this career. Your choice of institution, specialty, residential status, and more are among them.
Before taking further steps, check with your desired learning facility for cost implications.
The steps to becoming a sterile processing technician are few. However, they may take your time, money, and effort. After taking all these steps above, you can enjoy a fulfilling and stable occupation.
According to reports, the average earnings of these workers are around $42,000 per year. The field is projected to open more work opportunities in a few years.