How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Georgia

Sterile processing technicians are a crucial part of most healthcare organizations. These essential technicians have the knowledge and training to decontaminate, clean and sterilize medical equipment, making it safe for re-use. As such, this career choice comes with a great deal of responsibility for the health and safety of both patients and staff.

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So, what exactly do sterile processing technicians do? The sterile processing department typically transports and receives equipment used in various procedures, cleans or sterilizers per hospital guidelines and returns it to inventory for use. In completing these tasks, technicians will need to be familiar with a variety of equipment, solvents and cleaning agents. In addition, technicians are involved with clerical duties and inventory control, making it an excellent career choice for the detail-oriented.

As most sterile processing technicians work in hospitals, the work can require long hours, overtime, off-shifts and on-call. It is not uncommon for a technician to be called in on a weekend or holiday following an emergency procedure. Sterile processing technicians should also expect to work primarily in a physical capacity, meaning good stamina is required.

Licensing in Georgia for Sterile Processing Technicians

Like many states, Georgia has no statewide licensing requirement for sterile processing technicians. However, the lack of statewide oversight does not mean the profession is unregulated. Sterile processing technicians need to follow numerous rules and regulations, which are strictly enforced by local health departments and healthcare accreditation agencies.

Sterile Processing Technician Programs in Georgia

Sterile processing technicians typically train in one of two ways: on the job or through a training course. In either case, acquiring a high school diploma or equivalent is required prior to job-specific training. For those who are interested in taking an educational course, there are several options in Georgia, including the following:

Gwinnett Technical College

Offers a certificate in Central Sterile Processing. The program length is one semester (excluding prerequisites) and students must be 18 years of age and pass a drug test to enroll.

Program Overview

  • Objective: The program aims to prepare students for a career in surgical technology, focusing on techniques to keep surgical patients safe, manage surgical equipment effectively, and assist surgeons during procedures.
  • Teaching Methods: The coursework includes classroom instruction, hands-on guidance in advanced labs, and clinical rotations in area hospitals.

Accreditation and Certification

  • Accreditation: The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Accrediting Review Committee on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARCSTSA).
  • Certification: The program boasts a high pass rate on the National Certification Exam since 2012, earning graduates the Certified Surgical Technologist credential awarded by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.

Program Options

  • Surgical Technology, AAS: An Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology.
  • Central Processing Technician, Certificate: A certificate program focusing on the central processing aspect of surgical technology.
  • Endoscope Reprocessing Technician, Certificate: A certificate program specializing in the reprocessing of endoscopes.

Curriculum and Skills

  • Key Areas of Study: The program covers the roles and responsibilities of surgical technologists, decontamination, disinfection processes, patient care equipment processing, anatomy/physiology, microbiology, infection prevention, preparation & packaging of instruments, types of surgical instruments and devices, sterilization, inventory control, storage & distribution, and sterile storage.

Cost and Financial Aid

  • Tuition: Gwinnett Tech offers affordable tuition at $100 per credit hour plus fees.
  • Financial Aid: Opportunities for scholarships and financial aid are available, including HOPE Grant, HOPE scholarship, and HOPE Career Grants.

Additional Information

  • Advisory Board: The program has an advisory board consisting of local subject-matter experts to ensure a relevant, industry-specific curriculum.
  • Information Sessions: Monthly information sessions are available for those interested in learning more about the program.

Central Georgia Technical College

Located in Warner Robins, offers an Advanced Central Processing Technical Certificate.

Program Overview

  • Objective: The Surgical Technology program at CGTC is designed to prepare students for careers in surgical technology, focusing on the skills and knowledge required to assist in surgical procedures and manage surgical environments effectively.

Career Opportunities

  • Field of Work: Graduates from the Surgical Technology program are prepared to work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, and specialized surgical facilities.
  • Roles: The program equips students to take on roles such as Surgical Technologists, where they are responsible for preparing operating rooms, arranging equipment, and assisting surgeons during operations.

Additional Information

  • Next Steps: Interested individuals are encouraged to contact the program chair for more information or to explore the CGTC website for details on admissions, program requirements, and other relevant information.

The Medical Institute of Northeast Georgia in Braselton offers a Certified Sterile Processing/Distribution Technician certificate. The program is 32 weeks in length with an externship for hands-on training.

The Healthcareer Group in Norcross offers a Certified Operating Room Surgical Technician course (See also In addition to cleaning and sterilizing equipment, surgical technicians assist in medical procedures and with keeping operating rooms stocked with supplies.

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.

Sterile Processing Technician Accreditation

Acquiring credentialing is a great way to energize your career and accelerate your future opportunities. There are many organizations through which sterile processing technicians can seek certification. As such, it may be necessary to research which ones are preferred by the organizations in which you hope to find employment.

Job Growth Outlook and Salary Expectations

As of 2022, Sterile Processing Technicians in Georgia earn an average annual wage of $38,630. The lower 10% of earners in this field make around $26,920, while the upper 10% can earn $54,020 or more. This places the mean annual salary for technicians in Georgia above the 2019 figures but still below the national average of $41,480. The salary range reflects the regional variances in the cost of living and market demand.

National vs. Georgia Salaries:

Percentile National Average Georgia
10% $31,570 $26,920
25% $36,240 $34,520
Median $41,480 $38,630
75% $50,300 $47,350
90% $62,960 $54,020

Salaries and Percentiles by Region in Georgia:

Region 10% Low 25% QL Median 75% QU 90% High
Albany, GA $28,630 $28,630 $34,620 $41,930 $45,930
Athens-Clarke County, GA $37,390 $37,390 $41,090 $44,570 $50,180

Medical Equipment Preparers Employment Trends in Georgia

In Georgia, the employment landscape for Medical Equipment Preparers, also known as Sterile Processing Technicians, is experiencing significant growth. In 2020, there were 1,620 individuals employed in this occupation. By 2030, the number of employed technicians is projected to rise to 1,950, marking a substantial 20% increase. This growth rate is expected to generate approximately 250 job openings each year over the decade, which includes new positions and replacements.

Comparatively, the national employment for this occupation is projected to grow by 5% from 2022 to 2032, which is faster than average. The United States is expected to have 66,700 employees in this field in 2022, with a projected increase to 70,300 by 2032, creating about 9,500 job openings annually.

Employment Trends for Medical Equipment Preparers

Employment (2020/2022) Projected Employment (2030/2032) Projected Growth (2020-2030/2022-2032) Projected Annual Job Openings (2020-2030/2022-2032)
Georgia 1,620 1,950 20% 250
United States 66,700 70,300 5% 9,500

Sources of Data:

  1. For Georgia-specific employment projections, the data is sourced from Projections Central, which offers the 2020-2030 long-term projections for state-level occupational employment.
  2. The national employment projections are obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides the 2022-2032 employment projections for various occupations across the United States.

Working as a Sterile Processing Technician in Georgia

Working as a Sterile Processing Technician in Georgia presents a growing opportunity within the healthcare sector. With a projected employment increase of 20% from 2020 to 2030, the state’s demand for these essential healthcare workers is on the rise. Sterile Processing Technicians in Georgia are responsible for the crucial role of sterilizing and preparing medical equipment, ensuring that instruments used in patient care are safe and free from contamination. The profession not only promises a stable and expanding job market but also offers a meaningful career contributing to patient safety and the overall success of medical procedures in various healthcare settings across the state.