In modern medicine, one of the biggest breakthroughs has been our ability to prevent infections. This is largely due to the careful work and vigilant eye of sterile processing technicians, health care professionals who sterilize each medical instrument and piece of equipment used in surgeries and other procedures. If you love working with your hands and want to help patients recover from their ailments, a career as a sterile processing technician may be the right choice for you.
Sterile processing technicians, also known as central service technicians, prepare and sterilize all the surgical instruments and other health care equipment that doctors and surgeons use in medical exams, tests, surgeries, and other clinical procedures. In addition, they ensure strict adherence to infection-control best practices, and they make sure that re-usable equipment is safe for the next patient. They usually work in hospitals, but they can also be found at clinics, doctor’s offices, and other settings that use medical equipment.
A sterile processing technician has to be highly organized in order to keep up with all the tasks that they are responsible for on any given day. They must clean, test, assemble, package, and sterilize all the tools that are needed for surgery. Moreover, they must keep up with the latest equipment and tools that are being introduced to the world of healthcare, because new instrumentation requires different reprocessing techniques.
Another thing that a sterile processing technician must do is prepare the instrument trays that are used by physicians and surgeons during a procedure. These trays are packed with all the medical supplies and instruments that a doctor needs to perform a certain surgery. Each tray is labeled so that the doctor knows what each item is and where it should go during a procedure.
It takes a lot of dedication and focus to become a sterile processing technician, but just about anyone who is willing to put in the work can start this fulfilling career path. The first step is to enroll in an accredited sterile processing program, such as the one offered by Brookline College.
Once you have successfully completed a sterile processing diploma program, you will be ready to start looking for a job. Many colleges offer job placement assistance for students who complete their diploma programs, which can be a great resource for a student starting out in an entirely new industry.
It is important to keep in mind that the salary for a sterile processing technician can vary widely depending on location, certification status, and facility type. For example, the median sterile processing certification in New York is $62,781, while the highest average yearly salary is in Bridgehampton at $74,237. This is a large jump in pay, but it should be remembered that only 6 cities out of the state’s top 10 salaries beat the New York state average. It is therefore crucial to factor in cost of living expenses when determining which location to work in as a sterile processing technician.