Sterile Processing

Our education system forces students into believing that the longer you spend in school, the more prosperous your life will be. While this may be true in many cases, this is a very primitive and one-dimensional way of thinking.

Indeed, there are numerous career opportunities which do not require multiple years of training, nor do they demand immense tuition fees. Such programmes can be completed with relative ease, and without the burden of paying off student loans, the return on investment is instant.

One such career that you can pursue is that of a sterile processing technician. Here is a brief outlook of what a career in this field would look like should you choose to opt into it.

What Do Sterile Processing Technicians Do?

The process of sterilization involves ridding any object of all forms of life. However, it is commonly used in place of disinfection to describe the process of killing disease-causing micro-organisms. Sterilization is a core component of any proficient healthcare setup.

Any medical or surgical tool or equipment in the structure must go through a comprehensive process of disinfection before it is brought to the physicians’ hands for future use. Mistakes are non-affordable as even a small mishap in the sterilization could lead to life-threatening infections to both the patients and the physicians using the instruments.

Only experts can be trusted with such a task- those experts are sterile processing technicians. While doctors and nurses work at the forefront, these are the healthcare professionals that make sure things run smoothly in the background. Without them doing their job, scores of people would die, and the hospital would be drowned in debts and lawsuits.

The actual job requires technicians to take part in cleaning and disinfecting surgical instruments. These are first rinsed and brushed to remove visible debris and blood. They are washed with specialized solutions and then packaged for the actual sterilization process which is done by an automated machine called the autoclave.

The technician is responsible for watching over this machine and ensuring nothing goes wrong. Other than instruments, the technicians are also required to disinfect operating rooms and tables, among other things.

Qualification Needed

Perhaps the best part of Sterilization tech is that the qualification process is far more comfortable and shorter than a medical school, for example: now I would not go so far as to say that no effort is required. The complexity of the job entails that a rigorous and thorough training programme is needed in which no stone should be left unturned. The outgoing graduate should be well-versed in the necessary tools he/she will need.

The exact qualification process varies from institute to institute; however, the basis of all programmes is a period of theoretical studying, followed by one of the hands-on training. Plans can range from 28 hours up to 200 hours. One can choose to physically attend a school or enrol in one of several online programmes.

After the diploma, technicians are expected to work as a trainee in a sterile processing department, such as one in a hospital. After about a year of this work, the technician can apply for a recognized sterile processing certification such as CRCST or CSPDT, which opens the door to better career opportunities.

Job Demand

In a world, where automation is decreasing the available jobs rapidly, sterilization tech is not going anywhere anytime soon. Not only is the field alive and well, but it is also growing at a rapid rate. According to the U.S.

Bureau of Labour Statistics, the job demand is expected to grow by 11 per cent from 2016 to 2026. That translates to at least 6,000 new jobs in this field. There are several reasons for this. The first one being that which automation may replace the job in the future, the tech needed to do so is nowhere near good enough to entrust human lives upon.

The ‘baby-boomer’ generation is now coming to an age where they need healthcare, adding to the need for sterilization technicians as a result. The rise of affordable healthcare and insurance policies also mean that more people now seek it leading to an increase in all related jobs.

How Much do Sterilization Techs Earn on Average?

As with most jobs, the simple answer is that it depends. The various factors that can influence the potential pay include the level of training and amount of expertise. A well trained and board-certified technician’s career’s prognosis is much better than one without these feathers in his/her cap — the salary changes considerably between different hospitals, areas and states.

A sterilization technician can expect to make between 28 thousand to 52 thousand dollars a year, with the average being close to 36.5 thousand dollars.

The highest of these salaries are often common in states such as Hawaii or Massachusetts. While this is a good salary, those ambitious individuals who choose to stay in the field long enough to gain enough experience may even rise the ranks to a managerial position- a job which pays 52 thousand to 109 thousand dollars with the average being roughly 80 thousand dollars.


Healthcare is a noble field that involves helping those in need. Many people want to be a part of this industry, but either does not want to or cannot afford to go through medical or nursing school. Becoming a sterilization technician is one of the best career options for such individuals. Not only can you make a change, but you can also do so with next to no investment of time and money and can earn enough to lead a comfortable life in the process. What more could a person ask for?

Author Bio:

Alma Causey is a Freelance writer by day and sports fan by night. She writes about Fashion and Tech. Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover. She is currently associated with CBSPD Team.