Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician in Maine
Have you ever thought that you’d like to work in the healthcare field but are afraid you might not really enjoy interacting with patients all day long? If so, consider a career as a sterile processing technician, sometimes called a central service technician.
All surgeries and medical procedures require sterilized equipment before they can be performed. Sterile equipment helps prevent infection, and as a sterile processing technician, you’d be responsible for sterilizing and decontaminating instruments as well as storing and distributing them.
Maine Requirements for Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician
It’s not impossible to find an opportunity to work as a sterile processing technician and receive on-the-job training, but it’s much more common for employers to require completion of a formal training program. These are offered at postsecondary schools such as vocational schools and community colleges. Admission to these programs usually requires a high school diploma or the equivalent, and many healthcare settings require you to pass a background check and a drug test.
Formal Training to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Maine
When you attend a training program to become a sterile processing technician, you’ll learn about subjects such as microbiology, medical terminology, infection control, sterilization procedures and surgical instruments. Training usually involves both classroom and hands-on experience. Programs in surgical technology can prepare you to work as either a sterile processing technician or a surgical technologist.
Some programs in Maine that can prepare you to become a sterile processing technician include:
- Maine Medical Center. Located in Portland, this medical center offers a one-year program in surgical technology, which is divided into two six-month semesters. Students attend on a full-time basis during the day, and no evening or online classes are available. The first semester consists of classroom and lab training, and the second semester is spent in the operating room.
- Eastern Maine Community College. At this community college in Bangor, ME, students can pursue an Associate of Science degree in surgical technology. Students learn about infection control, surgical instruments, medical terminology and aseptic techniques.
- Southern Maine Community College. This community college with locations in Brunswick and South Portland offers an associate’s degree in surgical technology, which consists of 67 credits. Part of the time is spent at the college and part is spent at Maine Medical Center gaining clinical experience.
Sterile Processing Technician Certification in Maine
The state of Maine doesn’t require certification to work as a sterile processing technician. Some national organizations, including the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Management (IAHCSMM) and the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD), offer certification testing. Obtaining certification through one of these organizations demonstrates to potential employers that you have the knowledge and skills needed for this profession, which can help you to be more competitive in the job market.
Job Outlook and Salary for Maine Sterile Processing Technicians
The average salary for a sterile supply processing technician in the state of Maine as of October 2020 was $34,140, according to Salary.com. Pay can range between $30,200 and $38,560 depending on training, experience and location.
Steady employment growth is typical for careers in healthcare. Employment growth is projected to be approximately 6 percent between 2019 and 2029 for medical equipment preparers, faster than average for all occupations.
Work Environment for Sterile Processing Technician in Maine
As a sterile processing technician in Maine, you’ll be the first line of defense against infection. Your job may involve working days, evenings or weekends. Job opportunities are most common in hospitals but can also be found in outpatient surgical clinics and the offices of dentists and oral surgeons. Medical equipment and supplies that are properly decontaminated, stored and delivered are needed at medical and dental settings across the state of Maine, especially in areas such as Portland, Lewiston and Bangor.