How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician

A sterile processing technician is an important role in the medical field. They are responsible for cleaning and sterilizing instruments used in surgeries. If you are interested in becoming a sterile processing technician, read this blog post to learn more about the necessary steps.

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Introduction

Sterile processing technicians, also called SPD technicians, are responsible for decontaminating, sterilizing and preparing surgical instruments and equipment for use in operating rooms and other medical settings. If you’re detail-oriented, have good manual dexterity and are interested in working in the medical field, becoming an SPD technician might be a good career choice for you. Earning a certificate or associate degree in sterile processing technology is the best way to prepare for this career.

What is a Sterile Processing Technician?

A Sterile Processing Technician is a healthcare professional who is responsible for the cleaning, sterilization and maintenance of surgical equipment. They work in operating rooms, clinics, doctor’s offices and other healthcare facilities.

SPTs must have a strong knowledge of infection control procedures and be able to work quickly and efficiently under pressure. Most Sterile Processing Technician programs take between one and two years to complete and result in a certificate or associate degree.

Duties of a Sterile Processing Technician

The duties of a Sterile Processing Technician depend on the size and type of facility in which they work. In larger hospitals, techs may specialize in a certain area, such as decontamination or sterilization. In smaller facilities, techs may be responsible for all aspects of sterilization. No matter the size of the facility, all techs must follow strict guidelines to ensure that infection control standards are met and that surgical instruments are properly sterilized.

Sterile Processing Techs are responsible for cleaning, disinfecting, assembling and packaging surgical instruments and other medical equipment for sterilization. They also operate steam autoclaves, gas plasma sterilizers and other types of sterilization equipment. In some cases, they may also be responsible for transporting medical waste to the appropriate disposal area.

Education and Certification

To become a sterile processing technician, you will need to complete an accredited Sterile Processing Technician program. These programs are typically offered at community colleges and technical schools, and take between 6 and 12 months to complete. After completing the program, you will need to earn certification from the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) or the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM).

Salary and Job Outlook

The median annual salary for sterile processing technicians was $37,520 in May 2019, which is lower than the median annual salary for all occupations of $39,810. Employment of sterile processing technicians is projected to grow 9 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects should be good due to the need to replace workers who retire or leave the occupation.

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