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.
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 a educational course, there are several options in Georgia, including the following:
- Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville 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.
- The Healthcareer Group in Norcross offers a Certified Operating Room Surgical Technician course (See also https://surgicaltechedu.org/ga/. In addition to cleaning and sterilizing equipment, surgical technicians assist in medical procedures and with keeping operating rooms stocked with supplies.
- Central Georgia Technical College in Warner Robins offers an Advanced Central Processing Technical Certificate. Students will be prepared for a career in sterile processing and distribution.
- 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.
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.
Sterile Processing Technician Projected Earnings in Georgia
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), sterile processing technicians in Georgia earned between $25,460 and $48,300 in 2019. In the same year, mean annual salaries for this field were $35,340, falling somewhat below the national mean wage of $39,530. However, it should be noted that salary discrepancies may reflect regional differences in the cost of living.
Georgia Opportunities for Sterile Processing Technicians
Georgia is expected to experience significant growth in the demand for sterile processing technicians, with Projections Central predicting a whopping 22 percent growth in these jobs between 2018 and 2028. This data translates to an additional 360 job openings over the 10-year period.
Potential employers for sterile processing technicians in Georgia include Emory University, WellStar Health System, Memorial Health University Medical Center, Grady Health System and Northside Hospital.