Sterile Processing Technician Certification
sterile processing technician certification clean and sterilize tools, devices and supplies that medical professionals use during surgery. These highly-skilled healthcare professionals work in a central sterile supply department (also called the central processing distribution area) of a hospital or other health care facility, and they are responsible for decontaminating, cleaning, inspecting, assembling, packaging, sterilizing and distributing medical equipment and instruments, especially those that are used to perform surgical procedures. They also assess a hospital’s hygiene resources, track inventory and schedule repairs as needed.
The job of a sterile processing technician is not for the faint of heart, as these health professionals often face challenges in the workplace, including working around blood, body tissues and fluids, electrical hazards, chemical and radiation risks, loud and unpleasant noises, and physically demanding activities. They must also be able to follow detailed and often complex processes, and have good communication skills to collaborate with other healthcare workers.
For those interested in a career as a sterile processing technician, educational options include community colleges, vocational schools and online programs. Each of these programs can vary in length and the amount of hands-on work included. Many offer evening and weekend training, so that students can continue to work full or part-time while pursuing their education.
Regardless of the program chosen, prospective sterile processing technician students should seek out an academic adviser to help them determine which path is best for their career goals. Advisers can answer questions about the program, provide additional information about courses and help students to secure financial aid, if necessary.
Once students have completed the didactic portion of the program, they can apply to take the Certification exam through IAHCSMM. This is a nationally recognized certificate that is required by many employers and demonstrates to potential employers the student has met a standard of excellence in the field of Central Sterile Processing/Distribution.
Upon completion of the program, students are eligible for a clinical externship with CCMCC or another reputable hospital in the area. This is an excellent opportunity to apply the skills learned in the classroom and gain practical experience in a real-world setting. Students must complete a list of immunizations and other requirements in order to participate in the clinical lab and externship.