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Central Supply Technician Job Description

If you like cleanliness and order, then a career as a central supply technician may be the job for you. Central supply technicians are mainly responsible for the cleanliness and proper care of surgical equipment used in the operating room. They are an important part of any surgical facility because they are the first line of defense against transferable infection and faulty equipment. Central supply technicians can also be called sterile processing technicians depending on the facility in which they work. Job duties vary, but may include:

  • Checking equipment for leaks, broken or loose parts, or other defects
  • Purging waste from equipment and sterilizing all tools according to specific protocols
  • Organizing inventory and ensuring stock for proper tools for all procedures
  • Running autoclaves and other sterilization tools

Central supply technicians are trained to know all surgical equipment functions and uses. The job is important to facilitate the surgeons and make sure procedures run smoothly and as planned.

The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM)* and the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD)** offer voluntary central supply technician certification through successful completion of their examinations. While certification is not necessary, it may help further your career in health care.

Work Conditions

Typically, central supply technicians work in a separate area from operating rooms, sometimes known as central supply. Central supply would be a good place for you to work if you don't want to be in the actual operating room. It might also be a good environment for you if you like order because central supply is highly regulated to ensure safety.

Central supply areas are typically large and very busy, though this varies depending on where you work. Central supply technicians can be hired by hospitals, dentists' offices, doctors' offices, outpatient care centers or many other facilities. Most of the job requires standing and some heavy lifting, which is good if you are looking for an active job.

Job Outlook

There are many types of facilities you can work at as a central supply technician. O*Net shows that hospitals are the biggest employer of central supply technicians, followed by physicians' offices. As of 2010, 49,560 people were employed as central supply technicians and that number looks to grow by about 19 percent by 2020.***

Though hospitals will remain the main source of employment, the prevalence of jobs with other facilities may increase. Clinics and ambulatory surgery centers will be able to perform more medical procedures with higher frequency thanks to new technology, which in turn means more job opportunities.

* Source: http://www.iahcsmm.org/Faqs/faqcertification.html#pab1_2
** Source: http://www.sterileprocessing.org/instrument.htm
*** Source: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/31-9093.00


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