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Sterile Processing Technician Job Description

Sterile processing technicians, also referred to as sterile techs or central supply technicians, are essential to a clean working environment and prevention of the spread of disease. Without them, patients would suffer from preventable infections and other complications. As a sterile processing technician, you will play a very important role in the surgical process. Sterile processing technician job descriptions may include:

  • Decontaminating tools using chemicals, machines and various other techniques to remove "bioburden" or waste from surgeries
  • Operating and maintaining steam autoclaves for equipment sterilization
  • Examining equipment for flaws or disrepair
  • Preparing tools for distribution to various operating rooms as necessary

As a sterile processing technician, you will learn familiarity of the tools used in the procedures and the proper techniques for cleaning these specialized tools. It is not necessary to become certified, though sterile processing technician certification is available through the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM)* or the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD).** Some hospitals and surgical facilities prefer to hire applicants with certification.

Work Conditions

In general, sterile processing technicians work in a centralized location outside of the operating room, though this varies by facility. If you work best under highly organized conditions, then central supply might be a good place for you to work. Jobs may require you to stand a lot, lift heavy objects and do repetitive movements.

The work environment is also good for you if you like a very active atmosphere with a lot of action. Central supply facilities can get quite busy depending on the facility that you work for.

Job Outlook

Sterile processing technicians remain an integral part of most medical facilities. O*Net reports that there were 49,560 sterile processing technician jobs as of 2010.*** They also project 16,200 new jobs will be created from 2010 to 2020 with 10 to 19 percent growth. This is faster than the national average for occupational growth. Employment opportunities are common at clinics, hospital, physicians' offices and many other facilities.

* Source: http://www.iahcsmm.org/Faqs/faqcertification.html#pab1_2
** Source: http://www.sterileprocessing.org/instrument.htm
*** Source: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-2055.00


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