If you're looking for a job in the allied health fields working with surgical teams, you might want to become a sterile processing technician.

Sterile processing technicians ensure that instruments used by medical personnel are kept free of germs and other contaminants. This involves using dedicated equipment, such as autoclaves and gas sterilizers. They make sure an adequate number of sterile surgical instruments are ready for the use of hospital personnel. They assemble procedure trays, collect used equipment, and return sterilized equipment to its proper location. They are responsible for making sure that instruments remain uncontaminated during transportation and storage. Sterile processing technicians also take care of their decontamination equipment, performing routine maintenance and ordering supplies. They may also be responsible for sterile linens.

Most sterile processing technicians work in hospitals and medical centers (especially in operating rooms) but they are also found in private practices and public health clinics.

This is a career with ample job openings and mobility. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that openings for this type of position are expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. The number of surgeries is rising as baby boomers age and more surgical procedures are developed.

According to SimplyHired.com, the median salary for sterile processing technicians in the United States is $29,000 per year

Things You Will Need

* Ability to work on your feet for extended periods of time.

Step 1

Explore whether or not this career is right for you. Sterile processing technicians work with used surgical instruments, so you must be okay with the sight of blood. You will have to be able to lift moderately heavy objects, and have no problem with being on your feet for long periods of time. Visit SterileProcessing.org for career information.

Step 2

Get trained in sterile processing. A one or two year program at a community college or vocational school will prepare you. You may also be able to learn the job through an on-site training program.

Step 3

Obtain certification. This is a requirement in some locations, and will no doubt improve your employment prospects overall. The Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution accredits sterile processing technicians in the United States and internationally.


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