Oxnard Institute of Allied Health  & Clinical Laboratories 

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A sterile processing technician cleans and sterilizes medical instruments. The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are My Job Duties as a Sterile Processing Technician?

Your main responsibility is to ensure that instruments used by all medical personnel in a hospital or other healthcare facility are clean and sterile. This entails performing manual cleaning prior to sterilization, placing cleaned instruments in sterilizers such as autoclaves, and starting and monitoring autoclaves. You also examine equipment for defects and report problems to staff, test autoclaves and record the results, order supplies, assemble instrument trays, distribute supplies and ensure that sterile supplies are within their expiration date.

What Education Could I Access?

A high school diploma is often the only education you need to become a sterile processing technician, but more specific training is available. Community colleges offer 1-year certificate programs in central service and sterile processing. Some offer a 1-semester course. According to O*Net Online, 59% of technicians have a high school diploma and another 34% have completed some college courses (www.onetonline.org).

Training and educational courses in the field cover medical terminology, equipment management, sterilization and aseptic techniques. Other certificate programs might also include computer, professional development or lab courses.