Sterile processing techs, also called central service technicians, are allied health professionals who specialize in ensuring medical and surgical equipment and tools are clean and functioning properly. SPTs are crucial members of any central services team and help maintain sterile environments and prevent patient infections. They typically work behind-the-scenes, making this career path ideal for those wanting limited patient interaction while playing an essential role in their well-being.
Sterile Processing Tech salary Indeed reported that the average annual salary of staff sterile processing techs was $58,303 in December 2020, which worked out to about $1,067 per week and $27.73 per hour. During this same period, sterile processing technician jobs on NurseFly paid an average gross weekly salary of $1,227. This included non-taxable compensations like housing allowances and meal and living stipends for allied health professionals who can claim a permanent tax-home.
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Sterile Processing Tech FAQs
What does a Sterile Processing Tech do?
There’s some crossover in the duties of SPTs and surgical technicians, but sterile processing techs rarely, if ever, work in the operating room. SPTs perform all their duties before and after surgical procedures. They’re responsible for maintaining sterile equipment and ensuring all equipment is functioning properly. Common duties include:
Cleaning and sterilizing medical instruments and equipment
Organizing and packaging medical instruments and devices
Storing and stocking surgical supplies and equipment
Checking sterile supplies to ensure they aren’t expired
Tracking distributed equipment, instruments, and supplies
Maintaining inventory records and re-ordering when supplies run low
Organizing and assembling surgical instrument trays or other sterilized supplies
Issuing and transporting surgical tools and equipment
Operating and maintaining steam autoclaves
Keeping records of sterilization history and maintenance procedures performed
Inspecting equipment for defects, irregularities, or other signs of disrepair
Testing sterilization machines and reporting defective equipment
Where do Sterile Processing Techs work?
Sterile processing technicians are essential to the sterilization, storage, distribution, and maintenance of medical instruments, so they can potentially work anywhere medical equipment is used. They’re frequently employed in the central supply or sterile processing departments at hospitals and surgical centers. Employment opportunities may also be found in outpatient clinics, diagnostic centers, physicians’ offices, dental practices, and other medical facilities.
What skills make a good Sterile Processing Techs?
Good SPTs are highly skilled at preoperative and postoperative sterilization of medical instruments and equipment inspections and maintenance. They have a solid understanding of microbiology, bloodborne pathogens, and infection prevention, always adhering to appropriate workplace safety procedures. Providing superior service requires strict attention to detail to keep detailed records of sterilization loads, equipment usage and maintenance, and inventory. Excellent reading comprehension, written communication, troubleshooting, and critical thinking also top the list of highly desirable skills for good sterile processing techs.
How to become a Travel Sterile Processing Tech
Prospective sterile processing techs must be high school graduates or have their GED, then complete a post-secondary sterile processing certificate program. These programs are available at community colleges and technical schools, but always confirm they’re accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Graduates can pursue certification through the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution or the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management.
Only certain states require certification, including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, but regulations are continually changing. Check with the state’s health regulatory agencies to confirm current requirements. Even if the state doesn’t require certification, many travel positions do. Travel job posters also often require a minimum of one-year STP experience.