Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician in Florida
Sterile processing technicians are essential members of the healthcare system. These healthcare workers are responsible for cleaning and sterilizing medical equipment and tools. Sterile processing technicians help prevent infectious diseases from spreading in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
To work as a sterile processing technician, you must know all the specific equipment used by medical staff, and you must also be familiar with cleaning and sterilization techniques. You will also need a keen eye for detail. Sterile processing technicians usually work long hours, but their job is also rewarding.
Florida Licensing Requirements for Sterile Processing Technicians
In Florida, a license is not required to work as a sterile processing technician. However, this job is usually overseen by a registered nurse or another licensed healthcare professional. And since specific techniques and healthcare guidelines and procedures must be followed, many sterile processing techs find it useful to complete a formal training program or obtain accreditation.
Sterile Processing Technician Education in Florida
Training can be done on the job, but if you are looking to get hired quickly, you may want to consider completing a sterile processing technician training program. Besides having a high school diploma or GED, there aren’t any other prerequisites to enroll in a sterile processing tech program in Florida. There are quite a few sterile processing tech programs in the state. Here is an overview of some of them:
- Florida Institute of Sterile Processing. Located in Miami, the Florida Institute of Sterile Processing (FISP) offers a course that teaches students the roles and responsibilities of a sterile processing technician, anatomy and physiology, decontamination infection control, sterilization and an entire workshop on surgical instruments. This course is taken on Saturdays for one month so that students who already work can fit it into their schedule. Space is limited, so a registration fee must be paid to secure a spot in the course. Study materials are included in the tuition cost, and students who take the course are eligible for certification.
- Eastern Florida State College. At Eastern Florida, students can take the sterile processing technician program, which is a part of the surgical services Associate in Science degree program. They can stop at the certificate or continue through the program and earn an associate degree in Surgical Services/Health Science. The certificate program consists of 30 credit hours and can be taken over 2-3 terms.
- Tallahassee Community College. Tallahassee Community College offers a Central Sterile Processing Technologist Certificate Program that teaches students how to safely assemble and disassemble surgical instruments, decontamination techniques, patient safety, sterilization and more. The program also prepares students to take the national certification exam. This 30-credit hour program is taken in the fall and spring semesters and is a limited program.
- Santa Fe College. Located in Gainesville, Santa Fe College also offers a two-term, 30-credit-hour certificate program. Like the other state programs, graduates of this program are eligible to take the national certification exam. The program coursework is like the others; however, these courses can be taken on campus, online or a combination of both. A clinical internship is also included in this program.
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.
Certification for Sterile Processing Technicians
The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materials Management (IAHCSMM) offers national certification to sterile processing technicians.
Certification is not required to work as a sterile processing tech, but it can help with career advancement and pay increases. You will also be more likely to get hired over someone who is not certified.
The IAHCSMM offers five certification levels: entry-level, secondary instrumentation, endoscope reprocessing, central service management and service vendor certification. Once you get the certification, you should renew it annually.
Salary and Job Outlook for Sterile Processing Techniciansin Florida
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Florida processing technicians made an average annual wage of $34,040 in 2019, or about $16 an hour. The average national salary for this field is $39,530, so Florida’s yearly average is slightly less. Salary also depends on experience. Entry-level sterile process technicians in Florida typically make an average of $23,050, while the top earners in the state can make as much as $47,990 annually.
Furthermore, job growth in the state is exceptional. The career of a sterile processing technician is growing at a national rate of 8 percent. In Florida, jobs in this field are expected to increase by 13.2 percent over the next few years. Over 400 new sterile processing technician jobs are anticipated to become available in the state between 2018 and 2028.
Sterile Processing Technician Opportunities in Florida
Florida ranks fourth out of all the states for the highest employment of sterile processing technicians. In the state, some of the cities where you might be most likely to find work include Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Gainesville and Jacksonville. Some of the top employers in Florida are UF Hospital, AdventHealth, Orlando Health and the NCH Healthcare System.