What Are the Duties of a Sterile Processing Technician and What Are Their Job Perspectives in California?
When people hear the job description sterile processing tech, they often imagine some biology specialist who works in a laboratory. Actually, the truth is quite different. This technician is mainly responsible for cleaning and sterilizing medical instruments in hospital surgery rooms and other medical facilities. Their duties involve:
- manual instrument cleaning before sterilization
- placing the already manually cleaned instruments in sterilizers (such as autoclaves)
- starting and carefully monitoring autoclaves during their operation
- testing autoclaves
- examining doctor’s equipment for defects and reporting any detected issued during the inspection
- assembling trays loaded with instruments before a surgery
- distributing sterile supplies
- checking whether sterile supplies in hospitals are within their expiration date
In order to learn how to do all this, these specialists need to attend sterile processing tech schools. Sometimes a high-school education may be enough to become a sterile processing technician, but many hospitals require a special certificate for central service issued by a community college. There are most commonly options for a 1-year certificate program but some schools offer a more convenient 1-semester course.
Specialty training in this field involves obtaining knowledge about aseptic techniques, sterilization, equipment management, and medical terminology. It also includes some lab training and computer testing. Except from sterile processing tech schools in Riverside, CA, such certification can be issued by IAHCSMM ( the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management) and CBSPD (the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution).
The good thing about sterile processing tech schools like Central Sterilization Solutions is that they give you the opportunity to gain actual work experience during the period of education. Every certified sterile processing and distribution technician needs at least 400 hours of practice before being certified and being hired on a tech position. For more information on this subject, call us at (855) 234-6770! We will be happy to answer all of your questions free of charge!
Keep in mind that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the expected employment of sterile processing technicians is projected to grow 7,5%-12,5% from 2008-2018. Most employment options are with dental clinics, hospitals, outpatient care centers, and colleges.