Certified Sterile Processing Technician

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Grant Aldrich

If you’re interested in the sterile processing career you should try to become a Certified Sterile Processing Technician.

Certified Sterile Processing Technicians are the ones who have proved their skills through a certifying organization and are most sought after and respected. 

Now, you must have some questions like – who are they, are they different from the Sterile Processing Technicians, what do they do, why get certified, how to get certified, how long does it take, the eligibility, certification providers, and so on.

So, in this article, we’ll try to answer all of your questions. In the end, we’ll also share a training program that makes you certification-ready so you can enter the workforce faster.

Stay tuned –

What is a Sterile Processing Technician?

A Sterile Processing Technician is a healthcare professional who decontaminates, cleans, sterilizes, and organizes medical instruments and equipment.

They are very crucial in preventing the spread of infections in hospitals and other healthcare facilities they work in.

The career is very flexible as they can work in various healthcare facilities, like –

  • Hospitals
  • Surgical Centers/Clinics
  • Outpatient Care Centers
  • Dental Offices
  • Long-Term Care Facilities
  • Laboratories

Read -> What is a Sterile Processing Technician?

What is a Certified Sterile Processing Technician?

A Certified Sterile Processing Technician is a professional who has successfully passed a standardized certification exam, demonstrating their competence in sterilizing medical instruments, maintaining cleanliness, and managing sterile supplies.

This certification not only validates their expertise but also enhances their job prospects and earning potential. It is highly preferred by employers in healthcare settings.

How are they different from Sterile Processing Technicians?

A Sterile Processing Technician is a healthcare professional who can or is responsible for decontaminating, cleaning, sterilizing, organizing, and managing the inventory.

They don’t have any credentials yet. They must have just passed out from their training program and have begun to work.

This could be either to gain experience or the employer wants to fill up the workforce expecting they will be at par with their other techs.

On the other hand, a Certified Sterile Processing Technician is a professional who has credentials. They have passed a nationally recognized exam from a reputed certifying organization. And they have employers’ trust and respect.

The earning potential would also go in favor of Certified techs. They would also benefit from career growth opportunities and some other benefits like pay hikes and so on. More on that later.

However, the duties of Sterile Processing Technicians are the same, but it is the certified ones that will perform the most critical and important ones.

So, these are the differences, although basic, but if you consider the larger picture that is directly proportionate to job satisfaction.

Just like the industry veterans, Preppy strongly recommends you get certified if you want to start a successful career as a Sterile Processing Technician.  


-> Sterile Processing Technician Requirements

-> How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician?

Duties of a Certified Sterile Processing Technician

Certified Sterile Processing Technicians are responsible for a range of critical tasks that ensure the safety and efficiency of medical procedures.

Their duties include:

Cleaning and Decontamination

They meticulously clean and decontaminate medical instruments, removing any organic and inorganic residues.


They operate specialized sterilization equipment, such as autoclaves, to ensure instruments are free from harmful microorganisms.

Instrument Assembly and Packaging

They assemble and package sterile instrument sets according to strict protocols.

Inventory Management

They manage inventory levels of sterile supplies and instruments, ensuring that healthcare providers have the necessary tools for patient care.

Quality Assurance

They participate in quality assurance activities, such as monitoring sterilization processes and conducting equipment maintenance.


They work closely with other healthcare professionals to ensure the timely delivery of sterile instruments for medical procedures.

Read -> What Does a Sterile Processing Technician Do?

Certification Requirements

To become eligible for certification as a Sterile Processing Technician, you’ll typically need:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Completion of an accredited formal training program in sterile processing.
  • Or, verifiable work experience (1 to 2 years) as a Sterile Processing Tech practitioner
  • Some hands-on experience in a healthcare setting.
  • Adequate preparation for the certification exam, which covers various aspects of sterile processing.
  • You need to possess certain skills like attention to detail, communication, organization, teamwork, dexterity, and flexibility.

Also Read:

-> CRCST Certification

-> CSPDT Certification

-> Sterile Processing Technician Certification

How to become a certified Sterile Processing Technician?

Becoming a Certified Sterile Processing Technician involves a series of steps, including education, preparation, and certification.

This is a rewarding process that requires dedication and preparation. With it you can enhance your professional credibility and open up new career opportunities in the healthcare field.

Here’s a detailed guide to help you navigate the process.

Step 1 -> Meet Eligibility Requirements

Before you can become a certified Sterile Processing Technician, you need to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. Generally, this includes having a high school diploma or GED and completing a sterile processing technician program.

The sterile processing technician programs are mainly of 3 types –  

  • Associate Degree
  • Certificate or Diploma Programs
  • Online Programs

However, you need to ensure that the program is accredited by the CAAHEP or ABHES. Accredited programs are crucial to receive a quality education that meets industry standards.

The other thing that’s important about the sterile processing technician programs is their duration.

An associate degree typically takes about 2 years to finish. Certificate or Diploma Programs usually take around 1 year to complete. And the Online Programs are the fastest that can be completed in about 6 months.

So you need to smartly choose your sterile processing technician training program.

Step 2 -> Choose a Certification

The next step is to decide which certification to pursue. The Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) certification, offered by the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA), is one of the most popular certifications among students nationwide.

Step 3 -> Register for the Exam

Once you’ve chosen the certification, the next step is to register for the exam.

For instance, if you consider the popular CRCST certification, you need to visit the HSPA’s official website and create an account.

Then you need to fill out the required details and pay the exam fee of $125. This way you register for the exam.

Step 4 -> Schedule the Exam

After registering, you need to schedule your exam. Choose a date and time that gives you ample time to prepare, keeping in mind your personal and professional commitments.

Step 5 -> Prepare for the Exam

Preparation is key to passing the certification exam.

Here are some tips:

Review Your Program Materials: If you completed an online program, revisit the lessons and take advantage of any available review sessions.

Use Study Guides: Utilize study guides and practice exams to familiarize yourself with the format and content of the exam.

Join Study Groups: Connecting with others who are preparing for the exam can provide additional support and resources.

Step 6 -> Take the Exam

On exam day, ensure you’re well-rested and ready. The CRCST exam is a 3-hour, computer-based test consisting of 150 questions out of which 125 are only scored. Attempt all questions and stay calm throughout the exam.

For the 125 scored questions, you get 1 point for each correct answer and to pass the exam you need to secure 70%.

Step 7 -> Await Results

After completing the exam, you’ll need to wait for your results. If you pass, you’ll earn your certification and can officially call yourself a Certified Sterile Processing Technician.

But during the preparation process, your training program could help you a lot, and if it’s from an online platform, the path to certification is clear and achievable.  

Also Read:

-> Sterile Processing Technician Training Course

-> Sterile Processing Technician Programs and Schools

-> Sterile Processing Technician Certificate Program Online

-> Sterile Processing Technician Training Program Cost

Seven Reasons Certification is Crucial for Streile Processing Technicians

Sterile Processing Technician Training

Certifications play a pivotal role in the career advancement and professional development of Sterile Processing Technicians.

Here are several reasons why getting certified is essential:

Validation of Skills and Knowledge

Certifications provide formal recognition of your skills and expertise. By passing a standardized exam, you demonstrate that you have met the industry’s competency standards. This validation reassures employers that you possess the necessary knowledge and abilities to perform your duties effectively and safely.

Enhanced Employment Opportunities

In a competitive job market, certifications can set you apart from other candidates. Many healthcare employers prefer or even require certified Sterile Processing Technicians. Certification signals to potential employers that you are committed to your profession and have undergone rigorous training and assessment.

Higher Earning Potential  

Certified Sterile Processing Technicians typically earn higher salaries compared to their non-certified counterparts.

According to BLS data, certified professionals can command better wages due to their proven skills and reliability. For instance, the top certified Sterile Processing Technicians can earn around $60,000 a year.

This increase in earning potential makes certification a valuable investment in your career.  

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-> Sterile Processing Technician Job Description

Career Advancement

Certification opens doors to advanced roles and responsibilities within the sterile processing field. Certified Sterile Processing Technicians are often considered for leadership positions, specialized roles, and opportunities in training and quality assurance. This can lead to a more fulfilling and dynamic career path.

Professional Credibility

Being certified enhances your professional credibility and reputation. It shows that you are dedicated to maintaining high standards in your work and are committed to ongoing professional development. This credibility can be beneficial when seeking new job opportunities, negotiating salary, or aiming for promotions.

Compliance with Industry Standards

Healthcare facilities operate under strict regulations and standards to ensure patient safety. Certifications ensure that you are knowledgeable about these standards and capable of complying with them. This compliance is crucial for maintaining the quality and safety of healthcare services.

Contribution to Patient Safety

Certified Sterile Processing Technicians play a critical role in maintaining sterile conditions and preventing infections in healthcare settings. Your certification demonstrates that you are equipped to uphold these standards, directly contributing to patient safety and the overall quality of care.  

How Long Does It Take To Become A Certified Sterile Processing Technician?  

To become a Certified Sterile Processing Technician, you first need to complete an educational program and then pass a certification exam.

To complete your education you typically have 3 options and based on each option the time to be certified gets influenced.

#1 Associate Degree – it takes approximately 2 years to complete.

#2 Certificate or Diploma Programs – it takes about 1 year.

#3 Online Programs – this is the fastest route and takes around 4 to 6 months to complete.

Now, considering you have taken the fastest route. The next step is to obtain certification, and the CRCST certification is the most popular certification option.

To get certified, you need to prepare for the CRCST exam which typically takes between one to three months, depending on your study habits and prior knowledge.

Passing the exam is the final step. If you pass on your first attempt, you can quickly transition from being a graduate to a certified professional.

So, if you choose the online route and prepare efficiently for the certification exam, you can potentially become a certified sterile processing tech in less than 6 months. This timeline includes 4 months of education followed by 2 months of exam preparation.

Now, if you’re wondering if there exists any program that can finish in 4 months and make you ready for the CRCST certification exam so you become job-ready in less than 6 months?

Yes, there exists one such program –

Preppy’s Sterile Processing Technician Certification training program

Preppy’s Sterile Processing Technician Certification Program is a 100% online and self-paced accredited program.

You get a university certificate from the reputed, non-profit, 150-year-old, Auburn University after you finish your Sterile Processing Technician training.

They have a thorough curriculum so you can become ready for the CRCST Certification exam. 

You get an externship placement at a local healthcare facility close to where you live all over the US.

The program is self-paced and finishes Faster in as little as 120 Days.

As a bonus, you get a free laptop and it’s yours to keep even after you’re done with the course.

Preppy’s Sterile Processing Technician certification training program is insanely affordable and will cost you just $1599, all-inclusive. 

Ultimately, if you want to become a certified Sterile Processing Technician and start your career faster, then, Preppy’s Sterile Processing Technician Certification training program is all you need.

Check out our program.

FAQs – Certified Sterile Processing Technicians

What are the average Salary, and Job Prospects for Certified Sterile Processing Technicians?

According to the BLS, the medical equipment prepares earn a decent salary of $47,410 per year which is equivalent to $22.79 per hour.  

But the certified professionals can command better wages due to their proven skills and reliability. They can earn around $60,000 a year.

The job prospects for Sterile Processing Technicians are strong due to the increasing demand for healthcare services and the essential role these technicians play in maintaining sterile environments.

As per the BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), the projected employment growth for medical equipment preparers, including the SPTs is about 8.3% from 2020 to 2030.

Employment opportunities are expected to grow, particularly in hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, and other healthcare facilities.

Certification can significantly enhance job prospects and provide opportunities for career advancement.

Which certification is the best choice to get Certified as a Sterile Processing Technician?

The Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) certification is widely considered the best option for those looking to become certified Sterile Processing Technicians.

Offered by the HSPA, it covers a comprehensive range of skills and knowledge necessary for entry-level and experienced technicians, ensuring a high standard of patient care and safety.


To get certified as a Sterile Processing Technician is a strategic move. Mainly in the healthcare industry, where precision and safety are paramount, certification ensures that you are a trusted and competent professional, dedicated to patient care.

We hope this article enlightens you about certified Sterile Processing Technicians, how they are different from the Sterile Processing Technicians, their duties, the importance of certification, how to get certified, how long that takes, and much more.

In the end, if you are looking for an online, self-paced, accredited training program that makes you certification-ready at an affordable price and lets you enter the workforce faster, then check out our Sterile Processing Technician program.


-> Sterile Processing Technician Exam

-> Travel Sterile Processing Technician

-> Sterile Processing Technician vs. Surgical Technologist

-> How Long Does it Take to Become a Sterile Processing Technician?

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Grant Aldrich

Preppy was founded by higher education expert, Grant Aldrich, who’s work on college affordability and accessibility has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader’s Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.

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