What is the role of sterile processing certification? Sterile processing technicians are medical professionals who ensure that all surgical tools are free of germs, bacteria and other organisms prior to use. Have you consider entering the medical field with a sterile processing training? Sterile Processing Technicians have one of the most important positions in all areas of medical care. They are members of the medical team who are responsible to see that all surgical and medical tools and equipment are sterile and free of germs prior to use.
Sterile Processing Training and Courses
Because of their responsibility, technicians have to have training in all areas of sanitation prior to receiving a Sterile Processing Certification. In order to enter a program to achieve this certification, one must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Applicants, in many of the programs, are also expected to show strong skills in chemistry, biology and other sciences. Skills in public speaking and creative writing are also encouraged. Sterile processing programs focus on practical skills that are used in operating rooms, hospitals, doctors’ offices and medical clinics, where students learn about the methods used to clean, sterilize, store, inspect and present equipment used to in surgery.
It is through the work of people in this field that doctors and nurses are able to work in an operating room and other areas without fear of contamination from something that is not sterile. Their job is to see that only sterile products are used in connection with patients and that hazardous materials are disposed of.
There are many areas of work with sterilization technician training hence one can specialize in a desired division of health care. Under this program a person is taught such things as microbiology, infection control, decontamination, sterile storage, human anatomy, inventory control, manual and mechanical cleaning, disinfections and sterilization in addition to many other things. Courses may include:
- Medical Terminology
- Sterile Processing Technologies
- Chemical Disinfection
- Sterile Storage
- Infection Control
Sterile processing classes include lectures, demonstrations, discussions, speakers and visiting various facilities. During this time instruction regarding handling hazardous waste, sterile and non-sterile products, and infection control are demonstrated.
Upon completion of the program, the student receives a certificate, which makes them eligible to take the National Technician Examination for certification. However, one should check with their state requirements, as many states do not require this certification. If a person receives certification it is good for five years and continuing education must be shown before it will be re-certified.
Sterile Processing Careers
There are many positions open in the medical arena for people who complete these programs. Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and many other places, that deal with people who are ill, need technicians on their staff who are aware of the importance of keeping things sterile and germ free.
Upon graduation and attaining sterile processing certification, a student might work entirely in surgery situations, preparing instruments and equipment for operations. They might work in a hospital nursery with newborns or in a doctor’s office alongside other medical assistants. Keeping things sterile is the basic necessity of health care and being educated in that area makes a person invaluable.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
The current salary reported for this position ranges from $11.24 to $15.31 per hour. When bonuses were added in it equals $24,186 to $33,984 per year. The salary varies according to the position held and the state. For example, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics states that those working in the surgical area had salaries ranging from $33,090 to $55,620 with an average of $40,710. For 2012, the average salary for sterile processor jobs is $28,000.
As people are aging it is expected that more and more people, trained in this category will be in demand. In addition, many people who have worked in the field for a number of years are retiring which opens even more opportunities for advancement. Currently it is expected that the demand for Sterile Processing Technicians will increase by at least 15% over the next few years. However, in order to practice in the profession, remember it is important to attain sterile processing certification.