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Sterile Processing Technician

Sterile processing technicians are allied health professionals and essential members of the surgical team.

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What does a sterile processing technician do?

Sterile processing technicians play a critical role in preventing infection by sterilizing, cleaning, processing, assembling, storing, and distributing medical equipment and reusable surgical instrumentation. A sterile processing technician is responsible for and typically assigned duties performing decontamination, preparation, high-level disinfection, sterilization and distribution of surgical instruments and medical equipment throughout the surgery center, utilizing infection control and safety practices during all phases of the process.

Timeline: Most employers require a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Some require formal training with a reputable educational institution, which can range in time from ten weeks to two years.

Career pathway and advancement: Sterile processing technicians can become recognized through certifications such as Certified Registered Central Service Technicians (CRCST) or Certified Sterile Processing and Distribution Technicians (CBSPD). Over time, some can advance into leadership and also become instructors. Others may choose to continue with schooling to become Surgical Technologist. If you need additional assistance in locating a program, please look at our Resources page.

Outlook: Nationally, employment of sterile processing technicians is projected to grow 6 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations[1]. In California, sterile processing jobs are expected to grow 13.9% between 2018-2028 (an increase of 1100 jobs. Nationally, the median annual wage for sterile processing technicians was $38,220 in May 20211 and in California, the median annual wage in 2021 was $62,514.[2].

For more information about educational institutions, please visit our Resources page.

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