What is a Sterile Processing Technician?  

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Grant Aldrich

If you aspire to get into healthcare without spending years in school, without a degree, or without student loans, then Sterile Processing Technician could be the career for you. 

The Sterile Processing Technicians are the defenders of the healthcare system as they clean, sterlilize, prepare, and manage the inventory of the laboratory or healthcare equipment.

So, in this article, we’ll discuss about the Sterile Processing Technicians, their duties, skills, work environment, earning potential, job outlook, education, certification, and everything that you need to know to start your Sterile Processing Technician career faster.

So, stay tuned –

What is a Sterile Processing Technician?

A Sterile Processing Technician is a healthcare professional also often referred to as a Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician (SPD Tech), Central Service Technician (CRCST), or Medical Equipment Preparers. 

They are responsible for cleaning, sterilizing, and preparing medical instruments and equipment for safe use in surgeries and other medical procedures.

A Sterile Processing Technician is They are a crucial member of the healthcare team who plays an important role in preventing the spread of infections in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Read -> Sterile Processing Technician Requirements

Now, there’s so much that you would like to know about the Sterile Processing Technicians, like what they do, the skills they have, the work environment, and why they are so important.

So, let’s discuss them below:

Where do they work? Work Environment

Sterile Processing Technician is a flexible career where you can work in various healthcare facilities. But within those facilities, Sterile Processing Technicians primarily work in sterile processing departments where they have access to the equipment and supplies.

The healthcare facilities where Sterile Processing Technicians can work are as follows:

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

What do they do? Duties

A sterile Processing Technician ensures that medical instruments and equipment are properly cleaned, sterilized, and ready for use.

Here’s an overview of the duties of a Sterile Processing Technician:

Cleaning and Sterilizing Equipment

They clean and sterilize surgical instruments, medical devices, and other equipment used in patient care. They use special techniques and equipment to ensure that everything is free from harmful bacteria and viruses.

Equipment Maintenance

Before sterilizing, they carefully inspect the instruments for any damage or for any wear or tear. They ensure that everything is in good working condition before it is used on a patient.

Assembling Instrument Sets

They assemble instrument sets for surgical procedures, making sure that all the necessary instruments are included and organized properly. This helps surgical teams work more efficiently during operations.

Inventory Management

They manage inventory, ensuring there are enough sterile instruments and equipment for medical procedures by tracking supplies and ordering as needed.

Adhering to Protocols

They follow strict protocols and industry regulations to maintain safety and sterility, using correct cleaning and sterilization methods to prevent infections and ensure patient well-being.

Read -> What Does a Sterile Processing Technician Do?

Skills of a Sterile Processing Technician

Sterile Processing Technicians play a vital role in maintaining the cleanliness and sterility of medical instruments and equipment. To excel in this important role, they must possess a variety of skills that contribute to their ability to perform their duties efficiently and effectively.

Here are the Skills of a Sterile Processing Technician:

Attention to Detail

Being attentive is crucial while cleaning, sterilizing, and handling delicate medical instruments to ensure they are properly sanitized and safe for use in medical procedures.

Technical Proficiency

Learning to operate and maintain sterilization equipment is essential for maintaining instrument sterility and ensuring the effectiveness of the sterilization process.

Organizational Skills

Managing inventory, tracking supplies, and arranging instruments systematically requires strong organizational skills. This ensures efficiency and smooth operations within the clinic or hospital.

Communication Skills

Clear communication with healthcare staff regarding instrument availability and any issues that arise is essential for seamless procedures and patient care.

Problem-Solving Skills

The ability to troubleshoot equipment issues and find solutions ensures continuous sterilization processes and smooth workflow for Sterile Processing Technicians.

So, if you want to become a Sterile Processing Technician, you need to hone these essential skills, to help you ensure the cleanliness and decontaminated environment of the healthcare setting.

Also Read:

-> Sterile Processing Technician Training

-> Sterile Processing Technician Programs

-> Sterile Processing Technician Certificate Program Online

-> Sterile Processing Technician Training Program Cost

Why are Sterile Processing Technicians important?

In healthcare, the costs of the medical instruments range from cheap to costly. But most of the instruments are generally on the higher side. So, obviously, you just can’t throw away the instruments after a single use. 

However, they can’t use those instruments on other patients as well. The reason is simple, because that is being used on one patient already, and it might have their blood, tissues, or other body fluids. So if they use the same instruments on all of their patients then the patients could have serious health problems. 

So what do the healthcare facilities do? They sterilize the instruments and reuse them, and that’s fully safe. 

Now, guess who does that cleaning and decontamination for the healthcare facilities? Yes, the sterile processing techs. 

Thus, they save a fortune for healthcare facilities. Thus they are a very crucial part of the healthcare team and thus they are very important. 

Career Details

This is the second section of this article, and we’ll discuss the career-related details of a Sterile Processing Technician, like their earning potential, job forecast, growth opportunities, and so on. 

Now, let’s take a closer look at what a career as a Sterile Processing Technician might hold for you.

Job Forecast

As per the BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), the projected employment growth for medical equipment preparers, including the Sterile Processing Technicians is about 8.3% from 2020 to 2030. In numbers, that’s about 7,900 new job openings each year. 

So, the demand for Sterile Processing Technicians will obviously grow in the coming years as the healthcare industry continues to expand. 

With advances in medical technology and an aging population, there will be an increasing need for qualified Sterile Processing Technicians to ensure that medical instruments are properly sterilized and ready for use.


The salary for Sterile Processing Technicians can vary depending on factors, such as location, experience, and the type of healthcare facility where they work.

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

However, the top 10 percent of the medical equipment preparers including sterile processing techs can earn up to $63,980. 

These figures reflect the importance of their role in patient care and overall safety. 

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-> Sterile Processing Technician Salary

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-> Sterile Processing Technician Job Description

Growth opportunities

As a Sterile Processing Technician, your career has opportunities for growth and advancement. With experience, you could see yourself as a – 

  • Medical Equipment Sales Representative
  • Infection Control Specialist
  • Lead Sterile Processing Technician
  • Sterile Processing Supervisor or Manager
  • Specialization in a particular area with further education 
  • Or, you could try out other similar professions like surgical tech, EKG tech, and so on. 

In the previous 2 sections, we hope we could enlighten you about this career. So, in this final section, we will try to guide you to start your Sterile Processing Technician career faster.

Let’s get started: 

How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician?

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a Sterile Processing Technician, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you start your career faster: 

Step 1: Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent

The first step to becoming a Sterile Processing Technician is to complete your high school education or GED equivalent. Considering you have that, let’s move ahead.

Step 2: Get some Formal Education

Well, enrolling in a training program is not something absolutely necessary, you could also get into the career by gaining relevant experience.

But since we are aiming to help you to start your career faster, getting formal training would be very ideal. For faster course completion you could consider enrolling in an online sterile processing training program.

Now, which online programs should you choose?

This is a daunting task, you search for the programs online, fill out the details form, wait for their sales team to call you, and this goes on till you actually find it.

To help you save time, here are some parameters that would help you to decide on your online Sterile Processing Technician training program

#1 Your training program should be from an accredited source. This guarantees you’ll have industry-standard education.  

#2 It should be online & self-paced, so you can learn from the comfort of your home even if you have a full-time job or a kid to take care of.

#3 They should give out a university certificate which enhances your chances of getting a job.

#4 The curriculum of the program should be thorough to make you ready for the certification exam.

#5 They should provide you with an externship opportunity where you could gain some real-world clinical experience.

#6 It should be affordable; the best price would be under $2000.

And finally, #7 It should finish faster; within 8 months.

If you find a program that gives out all of the above-mentioned things at an affordable price, then that’s your ideal Sterile Processing Technician training program.

If you feel like such a perfect program would never exist, well, we would love to prove you wrong.

Here’s Preppy’s Online Sterile Processing Technician Certification Training program, and with it you get all of the things that I’ve mentioned above, and you could start your career in as little as 6 months, at an insanely low price of $1599.

Click here to know more!

Step 3: Obtain Certification

While certification is not always required, many employers prefer to hire certified Sterile Processing Technicians. Considering certifications for Sterile Processing Technicians, the CRCST certification is the most popular one, or you could also try out the CBSPD certification.

Also Read:

-> CRCST Certification

-> CSPDT Certification

-> Certified Sterile Processing Technician

-> Sterile Processing Technician Certification

Step 4: Gain Hands-on Experience

Once you’ve completed your education and have applied for the certification exam, you need to get some hands-on clinical experience. 

This you can get through an externship. Gaining hands-on experience is essential for becoming a competent Sterile Processing Technician. 

This will allow you to apply your knowledge in a real-world setting and develop practical skills under the guidance of experienced professionals.

Step 5: Start applying for entry-level Sterile Processing Technician Jobs

Once you’ve gained the necessary education, certification, and experience, it’s time to start looking for employment opportunities as an entry-level Sterile Processing Technician.

Explore job openings at hospitals, surgical centers, clinics, and other healthcare facilities in your area. Tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your education, certification, and relevant experience, and be prepared to showcase your skills during interviews.

Read -> How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician?

So, these are the steps to start a rewarding career as a Sterile Processing Technician and play a vital role in ensuring the safety and effectiveness of medical procedures in healthcare settings.

And, if you want to start your career faster, at an insanely affordable price, then check out Preppy’s Sterile Processing Technician training program. 

In Conclusion, 

I hope this article stands in its promise to give you a good idea about the Sterile Processing Technicians, their duties, skills, work environment, earning potential, job outlook, education, and certification. 

Moreover, we at Preppy aim to give you quality education, accessible from the comfort of your home, at an affordable price, so you can start your dream career faster.

So, if you want to start your Sterile Processing Technician career in just 6 months, without going to school, or without any student loans, then you can check out Preppy’s Sterile Processing Technician Certification Training 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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