Interested in Sterile Processing?
Sterile processing is a rewarding career with lots of advancement opportunities. The core job responsibilities for a sterile processing tech include the decontamination, inspection, assembly, and sterilization of surgical instrumentation used in operating rooms and other procedural areas of a hospital or medical facility. This job requires the ability to memorize and identify hundreds of surgical instruments, stand for long periods of time, occupy exceptional attention to detail, and understand the knowledge and basic principles of sterilization. For those of you interested in the wonderful world of sterile processing and how to become a tech yourself, provided here is a comprehensive outline.
Training & Education
At many facilities, sterile processing is considered an entry-level job and sometimes little to no experience is required. Hospitals and medical facilities that are willing to hire and train on the job may require certification in a given timeframe from date of employment. However, for individuals that are unable to find hospitals that are willing to train, or live in a particular area that consists of more intense competition, there are dozens of schools, courses, and programs available to provide an individual with the
Schools and other training programs will provide you with the education you need to be successful in the workplace, while also preparing you to sit for the certification exam. Each school may be structured differently and programs lengths can vary, it’s important to do your research before deciding. While certification is not required in every state or by every hospital, becoming certified is very important and highly advisable. In recent years there has been a push to require certification by mandating that all individuals involved obtain the proper credentialing, currently 4 states have already adopted this requirement.
There are two organizations that offer sterile processing certification credentials, Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) and International Association for Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM).
Pay & Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for an individual working in the sterile processing field is between $24,600 – $52,240 annually, with an average hourly wage of approximately $17.00. Keep in mind these estimates include supervisors and specialists as well as geographical areas with higher costs of living. The job growth between 2016 – 2026 is estimated at 11%.
Getting the Job
Getting hired can be somewhat challenging for some. Depending on your location, background, experience, and determination the degree of difficulty will vary. Individuals that live in a larger market will have many more options; however, a lot of job seekers do experience difficulty landing a job in the state of California. In situations where you are facing difficulty, there are several things you can do to help you to increase your chances of getting hired.
Enroll in a training program, school, or online course
Successfully completing a sterile processing program puts you at a better advantage. Employers may be more inclined to hire someone that will require less training.
Take a different position
If you are finding it hard to get in, or jobs are scarce, it might be a clever idea to take another position in the hospital. When a sterile processing position comes available, you will have the ability to transfer internally. Because you already work for the hospital your odds of being selected will be increased.
Brush up on your interviewing skills
First impressions are important, so be sure you are on top of your game. Prior to an interview you should research your potential employer, practice some basic interview questions, and update your resume. It may also be helpful to print your resume on quality stationery of an off-white color. Finally, be sure to follow up your interview with a thank you card, a simple gesture like this will leave a lasting impression and keep your name fresh in your interviewer’s mind.
Don’t give up
Probably the most important of all, don’t give up! Persistence is key. Apply for several positions, if you don’t land one, then learn from it. What could you do differently? How can you position yourself at the top of the candidate list? Use your resources, network with others, and stay positive.