Want to Become a Sterile Processing Tech? What to Know - MedCerts

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Are you super-organized and always keeping everything around you disinfected and tidy? If so, you should think of how to turn those talents into a career. Not everyone has these qualities, and they could be the soft skills that lead to a career in healthcare as a perfect sterile processing technician.

Sterile processing technicians are important parts of surgical teams in hospitals and surgical centers around the nation. These professionals are responsible for ensuring the instruments that surgeons use are properly decontaminated, sterilized, ready and available when needed. Without these techs, emergency rooms and surgical centers simply wouldn't run smoothly.

SPTs are also often tasked with restocking, cleaning and maintaining reusable supplies, part of the thousands of instruments hospitals use each month. It's a customer-driven role, as the work performed each day makes it safe for individuals to receive the vital care they need from their doctors.

New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Tennessee require sterile processing techs to be certified as Registered Central Service Technicians, and other state legislatures are considering it. Meanwhile, certification makes every sterile processing technician more competitive and able to earn a better salary when starting their career.

Who Makes a Good SPT?

Along with having a passion for cleanliness and organization, people who are successful SPTs also enjoy the fast-paced environment of a hospital or surgical center. You'll be working with other medical professionals who rely on your work to help patients and save lives.

As an SPT, you'll be working in a hospital's central processing center. This puts you directly behind the scenes, where you'll collaborate with both vendor partners and medical teams who work more closely with patients. These sterile processing departments are buzzing 24 hours a day, so you may need to be flexible with your workweek.

SPTs also come in contact with blood and other bodily fluids as the sterilization process begins, so you must be comfortable and willing to use personal protective equipment (PPE). This may include gloves, gowns, and face masks.

What Is the Job Outlook for SPTs?

The demand for professional medical equipment preparers is growing dramatically across the country, and the trend is expected to continue. The 2018 median wage for this medical team member is $19.01 an hour.

Most sterile processing technicians work in hospitals, but about 13% work in ambulatory care or surgery centers, and 2.4% work in medical or dental offices.

What to Expect With a CRCST Training Program

To pass the exam to become a Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST), you'll need knowledge of medical terminology, disease processes, anatomy, and physiology. You also must have strong understanding of the following:

  • Customer service and communication skills
  • Compliance standards, including those from HIPAA, OSHA, CDC and other regulating agencies
  • Central service workflow protocols for sterilization and storage of instruments
  • Manufacturer's instructions for tool use, infection control and PPE
  • Quality control
  • Documentation

MedCerts Offers Remote Training

You can quickly join the Sterile Processing Tech industry by completing MedCerts 13-week online training program, which was developed in partnership with an industry expert, and former President of IAHCSMM – the certifying body and industry-recognized authority in all-things sterile processing (now known as Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA)). It also includes 3D learning opportunities and increased interactivity to prepare you to get hired right away.

To become fully certified as a CRCST, professionals must also complete 400 hours of hands-on experience.

To learn more about this career, connect with a MedCerts one-on-one mentor today.

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Published on November 25, 2020