How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Michigan
A sterile processing technician goes by many names – central service technician, central processing technician, medical equipment preparer – but always plays a crucial role in patient safety. If you’re looking for a career in healthcare that does not require a degree, think about becoming a sterile processing tech.
These professionals clean and sterilize medical equipment and operate the necessary machinery. They also stock and inventory supplies, keep careful records, and prepare and package supplies for medical use. This is an essential job in healthcare that minimizes infections. It’s a great career for anyone who is self-motivated, an independent worker and has a good eye for details.
Requirements for Sterile Processing Technicians in Michigan
Michigan, like most states, does not have any licensing or educational requirements for sterile processing technicians. Employers, including hospitals, medical centers and dental offices, set their own requirements for new hires.
A typical path to becoming a sterile processing tech is to complete high school and then enroll in and complete a post-secondary program. It is possible to be hired without completing a program in sterile processing. Some employers provide on-the-job training, but having that education gives you a leg up over other job candidates. You’ll be ready to work on day one.
Training Programs for Sterile Processing
If you live in Michigan, you have several options for learning to work in sterile processing:
- Monroe County Community College. This 12-week program located in Monroe helps working adults retrain for this career by offering evening classes. Graduates are ready to work in an entry-level job and to pass the national certification exam. Students may be able to get assistance through the Michigan Works! job program.
- Washtenaw Community College. This program in Ann Arbor includes 16 credit hours and confers graduates with a certificate in sterile processing. It is a high-demand program that fills up quickly each semester.
- Grand Rapids Community College. Students in the Grand Rapids area can benefit from this unique program that includes an apprenticeship. The Sterile Processing Technician Registered Apprenticeship Program is unique in Michigan in offering coursework and apprenticeships with local businesses. It’s a partnership that helps graduates get jobs and employers find qualified workers.
National Certification for Sterile Processing
While certification in Michigan is not required to work in this career, there are several reasons to consider getting a credential. The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management offers five levels of certification recognized nearly everywhere:
- An introductory, entry-level certification
- Secondary certification for instrumentation
- Endoscope reprocessing certification
- Secondary certification for central service management
- Certification for central service vendors
Start with the introductory certification to show employers you have the knowledge and skills necessary to work immediately. Certification is important for landing a job but also for maintaining high, safe standards in the industry.
Michigan Salaries and Job Outlook
New job openings for sterile processing technicians in Michigan are declining just slightly, at a rate of two percent. There are still positions to be found, though, as people retire or leave the industry. Because of the competitive market here, it is especially important to complete a training program and earn certification. Growth in the industry is stronger in other states, with an average national growth rate of 8 percent, so consider relocating if you struggle to find a position.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the national mean annual salary for medical equipment preparers is $39,530. In Michigan, the annual wage is just a little lower at $37,070. The mean hourly rate is $17.82.
Working as a Sterile Processing Technician in Michigan
Professionals in sterile processing are needed in medical centers, surgery centers, hospitals and other medical facilities everywhere. Michigan’s main population centers of Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing are likely to have the most opportunities and highest-paying jobs.