How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Connecticut

Every day, medical facilities across the U.S. rely on properly sterilized equipment and supplies to maintain their normal function. Multiple steps are needed to ensure that every item goes through the required sterilization process. The personnel who take responsibility for this process are known as sterile processing technicians.

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As in all states, a variety of facilities in Connecticut employ the services of these technicians. Members of the profession generally make good money from their abilities. They also belong to a larger employment category noted for its ongoing growth opportunities.

Interested in joining the ranks of Connecticut’s sterile processing technicians? Use the information in this brief guide to get started on a realistic, effective path to success.

Connecticut’s Rules for Sterile Processing Technicians

Many states do not directly govern the employment of sterile processing technicians. However, things are different in Connecticut. The state categorizes sterile processors as “central service technicians.” It also lays out specific requirements for working in this field. These requirements state that would-be technicians must do one of the following things:

  • Obtain certification from the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM)
  • Obtain certification from the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD)

However, you do not need to get certified right away. Connecticut law provides for a two-year grace period during which you can work without certification. After that period ends, you must either show proof you’re certified or stop working as a sterile processing technician. Periodically, you must renew your certification by taking continuing education classes.

As a rule, you must also meet other requirements to sit for a certification exam. First, you must hold a GED or high school diploma. In addition, you must be at least 18.

Featured School

Penn Foster College – Online Sterile Processing Technician Certification

Take the first steps towards a career as a sterile processing technician with Penn Foster’s Sterile Processing Career Diploma. As a student in the program, you’ll be prepared to sit for the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) exam through the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA). Call 1-800-851-1819 today.

In-State Training Options

To have a chance of passing a certification exam, you must possess detailed knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of sterile processing technicians. But how do you gain this knowledge? The most common option is enrolling in a training program that covers all of the information you need to know.

In Connecticut, a number of schools offer sterile processing technician training as part of their curriculum. Examples of these schools include:

Asnuntuck Community College

This Enfield-based institution combines classroom education and practical labs with on-the-job observation of currently employed technicians. All program participants must also undergo career development training. Graduates are prepared to sit for the CBSPD exam.

Program Description

  • Educational Content: Students will learn about the latest advancements in Sterilization, Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, instrumentation, decontamination, and infection control. The course covers various sterilization methods, including Steam, Ethylene Oxide, and Gas Plasma.
  • Practical Training: The course includes 60 hours of theory and 20 hours of clinical training at a medical facility. Completion of all 80 hours is mandatory to earn a certificate of completion. Students are responsible for their transportation to clinical training sites and must submit proof of immunization at the first class session.

Middlesex Community College

This institution also meets the exam qualification requirements of the CBSPD. Its program features 60 hours of lab and classroom instruction. In normal circumstances, participants must also complete a 20-hour clinical internship.

Educational Content: The program covers 60 hours of classroom instruction, focusing on decontamination and sterilization processing, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, infection control, and identification of surgical instruments.

Practical Skills: A 20-minute video produced by Dan Nocera of the Center for New Media, in collaboration with Sarah B. Cruz, sterile processing instructor at Tunxis Community College, is used to teach students. This video provides a comprehensive overview of the sterile processing skills, from decontamination to storage, and helps students understand their role in the healthcare team.

Certification: Upon completion, students are eligible to take the certification exam through the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution Inc. (CBSPD), which is mandatory for employment in this field.

Naugatuck Valley Community College

NVCC’s sterile processing technician program rotates between Danbury and Waterbury in alternating semesters. The program provides a total of 40 hours of training. Graduates qualify to sit for the CBSPD exam.

  • Course Content: The program includes 80 hours of classroom and clinical/skills experience, which can be completed online or on-ground. It covers topics like control and identification of surgical instruments, principles and methods of sterilization processes, and inventory control of sterile goods, instruments, trays, and equipment.
  • Practical Skills: Students are trained in cleaning, processing, packaging, distributing, storing, and inventory control of sterile goods and instruments. They also learn to keep records associated with sterilization monitors, orders, charges to patients, and inventory.

Additional Program Details

  • Certification: Upon completion, students are eligible for national certification exams, which are detailed in the class. Certification is a crucial step for employment in this field.
  • Prerequisites: Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. Although not required, Medical Terminology is recommended.
  • Textbooks and Materials: All required textbooks and materials are provided in class and included in the course cost.

Job Growth Outlook and Salary Expectations

In Connecticut, Medical Equipment Preparers, which include sterile processing technicians, have an average annual salary of $41,170. This is slightly below the national average of $41,480. The lower 10% of earners in Connecticut make about $36,500 annually, while the top 10% can earn $60,040 or more. Entry-level positions may offer salaries closer to the lower percentile, but with experience and time, salaries can rise significantly above the state average.

Salary Comparison between National and Connecticut

Location Annual Low (10%) Annual Median (50%) Annual High (90%)
United States $31,570 $41,480 $62,960
Connecticut $36,500 $41,170 $60,040

Salaries and Percentiles by Region in Connecticut

Region Annual Low (10%) Annual Median (50%) Annual High (90%)
Danbury, CT $32,920 $42,340 $56,640
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT $36,730 $41,160 $61,170
Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI $33,280 $40,050 $63,890
Springfield, MA-CT $35,660 $41,070 $65,520
Waterbury, CT $37,790 $39,520 $55,510
Worcester, MA-CT $35,890 $45,640 $59,660

Medical Equipment Preparers Employment Trends in Connecticut

The employment trends for Medical Equipment Preparers in Connecticut indicate a positive outlook. In 2020, the state employed approximately 600 individuals in this occupation. By 2030, the projected employment is expected to increase to 640 employees, representing a growth rate of 7%. This growth is slightly above the national average growth rate of 5% for the same period. Additionally, Connecticut is expected to have about 80 annual job openings from 2020 to 2030 due to growth and replacements.

Employment Trends for Medical Equipment Preparers

Location Employment (2020/2022) Projected Employment (2030/2032) Projected Growth (2020-2030/2022-2032) Projected Annual Job Openings (2020-2030/2022-2032)
Connecticut 600 employees 640 employees 7% 80
United States 66,700 employees 70,300 employees 5% 9,500

Sources of Data:

The data for the employment trends of Medical Equipment Preparers in Connecticut is sourced from Projections Central, which provides state-specific projections for the period from 2020 to 2030. The national data is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which offers federal-level employment projections for the period from 2022 to 2032.

Working as a Sterile Processing Technician in Connecticut

In Connecticut, a Sterile Processing Technician plays a vital role in the healthcare sector, ensuring that medical equipment is properly sterilized and ready for patient care. With an average annual salary of $41,170, these professionals earn close to the national median, reflecting the state’s commitment to competitive healthcare wages. The job market is also on the rise, with a 7% projected growth rate from 2020 to 2030, slightly higher than the national average. This growth suggests a steady demand for skilled technicians in the state. Sterile Processing Technicians in Connecticut can expect to find opportunities in various healthcare settings, from large hospitals to outpatient clinics, each offering the chance to contribute to high standards of patient safety and care.