How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Hawaii

The healthcare industry provides steady, well-paying job opportunities in many roles and settings. If you’re looking for a healthcare position that doesn’t require a degree, consider becoming a sterile processing technician.

This role doesn’t require interacting with patients yet is integral to their safety. As one of these professionals, you would sanitize medical instruments, equipment, machinery and potentially rooms to ensure sterile visits and procedures.

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This position may also be referred to as central processing technician or medical equipment preparer, or as a related surgical technologist who prepares equipment and also assists with the equipment during operations and procedures. You could quickly enter one of these roles in Hawaii with minimal qualifications.

Guidelines for Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician in Hawaii

Hawaii does not have schooling or certification requirements for those who want to work in this profession. However, these qualifications may be preferred or required by potential employers. If not, they still could provide knowledge of the position and a leg up over other candidates. Many training programs prepare you to take one of the certification exams.

Educational Programs in Hawaii

In-person training options for sterile processing are limited in Hawaii. If you’re unable to find one in your area, you could consider an online option. Here are some schooling choices available to you:

University of Hawaii Kapiolani Community College

This school offers an accredited surgical technology program that includes classroom and hands-on training. It covers how to prepare the environment for operating and how to assist during procedures.

Program Structure

  • Five-Phase Program: The program is divided into five phases, each focusing on different aspects of surgical technology.
  • Classroom and Operating Room Training: Students receive both classroom instruction and actual operating room exposure. This combination introduces them to the working environment and the role of a surgical technologist.

Skills and Knowledge

  • Operative Procedures Training: Students are trained in the performance of operative procedures.
  • Operating Room Setup and Management: The program teaches students how to set up and manage the operating room effectively during surgical procedures.
  • Attention to Detail: A strong emphasis is placed on developing attention to detail, which is crucial in surgical settings.
  • Communication and Teamwork Skills: The program also focuses on enhancing communication and teamwork skills, essential for working in a surgical team.

Accreditation and Certification

  • Accreditation: The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
  • Certification Preparation: It prepares students to sit for the National Certification Exam for Surgical Technology via the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).
  • Certificate of Competence: Upon successful completion of the program, students are awarded a Certificate of Competence.

Pima Medical Institute

The sterile processing technician program provides online training of sterilization, infection control and related subjects. It gives preparation for the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM) exam for certification.

Program Structure

  • Coursework: The program includes courses on surgical instruments, microbiology and infection control, principles and practices of sterile processing, sterilization procedures and practice, storage and distribution, decontamination procedures and practice, medical equipment, and surgical terminology.
  • Clinical Externships: Most programs at Pima Medical Institute include clinical externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience under the mentorship of professionals and interact with real patients.

Certification and Continued Education

  • Certification Preparation: The program prepares students to apply for the CRCST Credentialing Examination.
  • Continued Education Support: Pima Medical Institute offers career services to assist graduates with job opportunities, resume building, interview skills, and general guidance.
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.

Qualifications for Sterile Processing Technicians in Hawaii

Optionally, you can gain certification in this field through a national or international exam. Options include becoming a Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) through the IAHCSMM or a Certified Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician (CSPDT) through the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD). Alternatively, you could gain a slightly different certification such as the certification of surgical technologists (CST) through the NBSTSA.

Job Growth Outlook and Salary Expectations

As of 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists Hawaii as a high-paying state for Medical Equipment Preparers, with an average annual wage of $50,520, which translates to an hourly mean wage of approximately $24.29. This is notably higher than the national average annual wage for this occupation, which is $41,480.

The employment of surgical technologists, which can be a similar role to that of sterile processing technicians, is expected to grow. While specific growth rates for Hawaii are not provided, the national average job growth rate for these types of positions is around 7% from 2019 to 2029, indicating a faster than average growth compared to other occupations.

National vs. Hawaii Salaries:

Percentile National Average Hawaii
10% $31,570 $46,110
25% $36,240 $47,760
Median $41,480 $50,520
75% $50,300 $56,150
90% $62,960 $62,650

Salaries and Percentiles in Urban Honolulu, Hawaii:

Region 10% Low 25% QL Median 75% QU 90% High
Urban Honolulu, HI $47,720 $47,910 $52,270 $56,150 $59,660

Medical Equipment Preparers Employment Trends in Hawaii

In Hawaii, the field of Medical Equipment Preparers is expected to see a growth of 7% from 2020 to 2030, according to Projections Central. The state had 280 employees working as Medical Equipment Preparers in 2020, and this number is projected to increase to 300 by 2030. This growth will result in approximately 40 job openings each year over the decade, which includes positions due to new job growth as well as replacements for vacated positions.

Comparatively, the national employment for this occupation is expected to grow by 5% from 2022 to 2032, which is considered faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The United States is projected to have 66,700 employees in this field in 2022, with an increase to 70,300 by 2032, leading to 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)
Hawaii 280 300 7% 40
United States 66,700 70,300 5% 9,500

Sources of Data:

  1. For Hawaii-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 Hawaii

People in this position generally work for hospitals, dental offices, outpatient centers, doctor’s offices or specialty medical facilities. The top-paying Hawaii locations for sterile processing technicians include Honolulu, Waipahu, Pearl City and Kahului, according to ZipRecruiter.

As a sterile processing technician or one of the other similar roles, you could expect a steady medical position with plenty of job growth and positions available. This is a profession that is easy to get started in with few hurdles, so you can quickly make a good salary in the medical field. In Hawaii, your best bet is to start with an online training course that will lead you to certification. Then, you can have many jobs open to you in Hawaii medical settings.