What Does a Sterile Processing Tech Do?

A sterile processing tech, also called a SPD tech, is a medical professional who cleans, disinfects and sterilizes surgical equipment.

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Introduction

A Sterile Processing Tech, or Central Service Technician, is responsible for the cleaning, decontamination, assembly, packaging, and sterilization of medical instruments and devices used throughout the hospital. They work closely with nurses and doctors to ensure that surgical instruments are properly sanitized and ready for use. Without sterile processing techs, surgeries would be unable to take place.

Sterile processing techs typically work in central sterile processing departments or surgical supply rooms within hospitals. They may also work in outpatient surgery centers or dental offices. Most techs work full time, but some may work part time or on call. Many techs are required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays.

What is a Sterile Processing Tech?

A sterile processing tech, also known as a SPD technician, is a medical professional responsible for ensuring that surgical instruments and equipment are properly sterilized. SPD technicians work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities, and their duties include decontaminating, cleaning, assembling, testing, and packaging surgical instruments. They may also be responsible for managing inventory and sterilizing medical devices.

SPD technicians must have excellent attention to detail and be able to follow instructions carefully. They must also be able to work well under pressure and handle delicate equipment with care. To become an SPD technician, one must complete a certificate or diploma program from an accredited institution. Some programs may require clinical experience in addition to coursework.

The Job Description of a Sterile Processing Tech

A sterile processing technician, also known as a SPD tech, is responsible for the cleaning, decontamination and sterilization of surgical instruments and equipment. In most cases, SPD techs work in hospitals, but they may also work in outpatient surgery centers, dental offices or other medical facilities.

SPD techs typically have an associates degree in sterile processing or a related field, although some jobs may only require a high school diploma or certification from a professional organization such as the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD).

The job duties of an SPD tech vary depending on the size and type of facility in which they work, but all SPD techs are responsible for ensuring that surgical instruments and equipment are properly cleaned, decontaminated and sterilized before being used again. In larger facilities, SPD techs may specialize in one or more areas of instrument processing, such as decontamination or packaging.

In addition to their primary job duties, SPD techs may also be responsible for infection control measures, maintaining inventory levels and providing customer service to surgeons and other medical staff.

The Education and Certification Needed to Be a Sterile Processing Tech

To become a certified sterile processing tech, you need to have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete an accredited certification program. You can find certification programs at community colleges, technical schools, and some hospitals. Once you have completed a program, you will need to pass an exam from either the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) or the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM). After you have passed your exam, you will need to renew your certification every three years by completing continuing education credits.

The Salary of a Sterile Processing Tech

A sterile processing tech, also called a SPD tech, is an important member of any medical team. A SPD tech’s job is to clean and sterilize all of the equipment that is used in surgeries. This includes scalpels, forceps, and other instruments. They also sterilize the operating room itself before surgery begins.

SPD techs must have excellent attention to detail and be able to follow directions precisely. They must also be able to work well under pressure, as they often have to sterilize equipment quickly and efficiently.

The salary of a sterile processing tech can vary depending on experience, location, and employer. In general, sterile processing techs earn a median salary of $43,000 per year. The top 10% of earners make more than $61,000 per year, while the bottom 10% make less than $30,000 per year.

The job outlook for Sterile Processing Techs

Like many other healthcare support roles, the job outlook for sterile processing techs is positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of jobs in this field will grow by 11 percent between 2018 and 2028, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

A major factor driving this growth is an aging population. As people live longer, they are more likely to need medical procedures that require sterile equipment. In addition, new technologies and surgical techniques are being developed all the time, which also increases the demand for sterile processing techs.

If you’re interested in becoming a sterile processing tech, you’ll need to complete a postsecondary training program. These programs typically last between one and two years and result in a certificate or associate’s degree. Once you have completed your training, you will need to pass a state-level certification exam in order to work in most states.

Conclusion

A career in sterile processing can be very rewarding. It is a critical role in the healthcare industry, and one that comes with a great deal of responsibility. If you are interested in a career in sterile processing, it is important to do your research and make sure you are prepared for the challenges that come with the job.

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