19 Reasons to Become a Sterile Processing Tech
You may know sterile processing techs by other names like:
- certified registered central service technician
- sterile processing and distribution technician
- instrument technician
- sterilization technician
- medical equipment preparer
- medical instrument technician
Whether you’re looking for a new career path or you’re a recent high school graduate, allied healthcare is a fantastic sector to start your search. What’s more, a profession like sterile processing deserves a closer look. Here’s a list of reasons why you may want to sign up for a sterile processing technician program.
1. You’re a Valuable Allied Healthcare Member
Sterile processing technicians be behind-the-scenes in the medical community, but they’re also a crucial part of eliminating infections and maintaining supplies in hospitals and clinics. In this allied health career, you’ll manually clean tools, monitor cleaning in autoclaves, and examine these instruments for flaws and irregularities. Techs may also be responsible for assembling surgical instrument trays and ordering supplies.
2. You’ve Got a Behind-the-Scenes Peek
When you start working as a sterile processing tech, you’ll frequent a lot of places around the hospital, from operating rooms to laboratories. While you might not be part of “the action,” you definitely get to see things that a lot of hospital workers don’t.
3. Find Sterile Processing Jobs Almost Anywhere
Medical instrument technicians are a hugely important part of patient care, so they’re not just found at hospitals. As a trained professional, you’ll be needed anywhere from outpatient care centers to dental offices to assisted living facilities across the country. Basically, wherever there are patients, your services are required.
4. Work on a Team and by Yourself
When you become a sterile processing tech, you’ll discover that there’s plenty of flexibility in this line of work – and you’ll be expected to manage tasks without a lot of supervision. That said, receiving orders from senior staff members is part of the job, so being able to take initiative (and constructive criticism) will take you far.
5. You Enjoy Solving Problems
When encountering tricky situations in your daily life, are you able to analyze the situation and come to a quick conclusion? Anyone in the medical field knows that things can go wrong at any time, but a calm demeanor and the ability to solve problems can help save lives.
6. You’ll Keep People Healthy
Though you might not have many (if any) patient interactions, that doesn’t mean you aren’t a crucial part of the allied healthcare community. As a sterile processing technician, you’re the linchpin between sterile tools and the professionals who use them. You’ll also catalog and inspect all materials used, so if something is broken or functioning improperly, you’re the one who catches it before it can cause possible harm.
7. You’ve Got a Critical Eye
Can you spot a needle in a haystack? Do you keep your desk or locker meticulously organized ? In this line of work, your ability to spot something slightly askew can mean the difference between life and death.
8. You’ve Got a Strong Stomach
When it comes to your daily job, you’ll encounter instruments that have been used on (or in) patients. Not to worry: You don’t flinch when it comes to surgical videos, and blood doesn’t even phase you.
9. Stability Without a Boring Desk Job
Sitting in a cubicle for eight hours a day doesn’t sound too appealing to most people. As a certified registered central service technician, you’ll be moving around your workplace to collect, decontaminate, and catalog tools, as well as package and deliver them to various rooms. While this isn’t an incredibly physical job, it certainly isn’t stationary either.
10. Find Working Hours That Suit Your Needs
If you’re hired in a dental office, you’ll probably work first shift (with some possibility for evening hours). If you take a position in a busy hospital, there may be a much wider variety of scheduling opportunities, including weekends, nights, and holidays.
11. Uniforms Make Getting Ready Easy
Knowing exactly what you’re going to wear every day makes mornings a lot easier. Scrubs and supportive shoes are the standard uniform for almost every allied healthcare professional, which is great since you prefer comfort and function over style anyway.
12. Choose an Educational Path That Meets Your Scheduling Needs
Many prospective students worry about meeting sterile processing technician certification requirements, especially if they have a family or a full-time job. Most schools understand this and offer daytime or evening classroom hours to provide a more flexible path for their students.
13. Hands-on Learning Is Key
Once you’ve passed your classroom training, you’ll be placed at a clinical internship with a mentor who’ll help you every step of the way. Here, you’ll build the practical skills you need to get ahead of the competition. It’s not unheard of for excellent, motivated students to be hired directly after gaining their certification.
14. Get Your Sterile Processing Certification Without Spending a Fortune
Obtaining a 4-year degree sounds great, but most graduates face enormous student loans and a precarious future. In healthcare certificate programs, you’ll have excellent entry-level positions to choose from – without collection companies hounding you for payments.
15. Opportunities Abound with Sterile Processing Certification
Because you’re going to school, it’s obvious you’re looking for more than ‘just a job’. If you’re successful, there’s plenty of upward mobility for sterilization technicians. With a window that allows you to peek into other medical careers, you’ll be able to whittle down what you’re interested in, as well as what you’re great at. Some instrument preparers learn that they want a more hands-on job and may later go back to school to become a surgical tech or an endoscopy technician.
16. Enter a Steady Workforce
The medical field is the fastest-growing sector in the country, and it’s set to increase by 20% through 2026. A lot of this comes down to the aging baby boomer population, as well as the spike in patients with multiple chronic conditions. The sterile processing sector alone is expected to see growth of up to 14%.
17. Join a Growing Team
The medical field is comprised of up to 60% allied healthcare workers, so you’ll regularly meet fellow professionals who you can exchange tips and stories with. You’ll always have someone in your corner, and will be aware of the latest developments in sterile processing technology.
18. Become a Leader in Your Field
Just like your internship mentors developed your personal skill sets, hospitals and clinics may rely upon you to train others. In addition to helping your employer, becoming an expert can help you work your way up the ladder to become, say, a sterile processing supervisor (which also comes with a much higher average salary).
19. Start Working in Less Than a Year
Most people don’t want to spend years getting their education. A major benefit of sterile processing programs is that they can be finished between 4 to 9 months, depending on your personal schedule. This is one of the quickest allied health training routes that gets you into an entry-level job fast.
Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician
Each school has their own requirements, so be sure to do some research about their application, financial processes, and their accreditation from a US Secretary of Education agency. Most programs require a high school diploma (or its equivalent) and have minimum age requirements.
Though few states require licensing, most employers prefer to hire certified sterile processing technicians. Therefore it is highly recommended that you take the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) exam offered by IAHCSMM.
Start Your Sterile Processing Tech Career Today
If you’re in the New Jersey area, contact an AIMS representative to discuss joining our exciting Sterile Processing Technician certification program!