Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician in Minnesota
It takes a lot of ongoing care and dedication to make sure that America’s medical facilities are free from dangerous infection outbreaks. One of the key safeguards used in this constant fight is decontamination/sterilization of scalpels, dental tools and other kinds of equipment. Who do healthcare facilities rely on for state-of-the-art sterilization services? A group of specialists called sterile processing technicians.
In Minnesota, you’ll find sterile processors working wherever equipment sterilization is required. Thinking about becoming one of these essential healthcare professionals? Just keep reading to learn the facts about topics such as state guidelines, training, earnings expectations and long-term employment prospects.
Minnesota Law for Sterile Processing Technicians
While Minnesota has laws governing most aspects of the healthcare field, it does not have specific guidelines for sterile processing technicians. This may sound unusual, but it is not uncommon. Sterile processors probably have such little governmental oversight because they do not interact with patients in any significant way.
The lack of state regulations means that you won’t have to get licensed to work as a sterile processor in Minnesota. It also means that you don’t need to stick to a required course of training or certification. Instead, the main factors in getting started as a sterile processor are the expectations of your potential employers.
Employer Expectations for Sterile Processor Job Candidates
Sterile processing technicians must be familiar with a range of subjects before they can work effectively. Examples of these subjects include everything from infection prevention protocol and microbiology to the use sterilization devices and machines. It takes considerable time and effort to gain sufficient knowledge and experience in these areas.
Employers across the healthcare industry are well-aware of the critical importance of sterilization procedures. The people they hire to follow these procedures must know what they’re doing. If not, they can make serious, or even fatal, mistakes. With this in mind, prior experience or training is commonly expected of new employees. That may or may not include some sort of national certification verifying your skills as a sterile processor.
Getting Trained in Minnesota
Minnesota boasts multiple options for people seeking sterile processing technician training. Training sources you may want to consider include:
- Minneapolis Community & Technical College – This school offers a central services technician program, which is the equivalent of a sterile processor program. The coursework combines classes and lab with real-world training in local healthcare facilities. Graduates can take the national certification exam established by the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution.
- Anoka Technical College – Anoka offers a sterile processing program as a preliminary to its Surgical Technology Associate in Applied Sciences degree path. This program will prepare you for an entry-level position. If you like, you can continue your studies and get your associate’s degree.
- Sant Paul College – Saint Paul’s program provides a total of 30 credits in sterile processing. In-person learning is combined with online coursework. Like Anoka Technical, the school includes sterile processing in its larger degree path for a surgical technology associate’s degree.
Income Potential for Minnesota Sterile Processing Technicians
For sterile processors and other medical equipment preparers in Minnesota, the average annual income is just over $44,000. This level of salary puts Minnesota in the top 50 percent of all states in the U.S. As a rule, you can expect to start with a relatively low salary and improve your earnings as you gain experience in the field.
Future Job Market Projections
The number of medical equipment preparers working in America will rise significantly, at least through 2028. Since sterile processing technicians belong to this job category, that’s good news for you. Every year, thousands of new and existing positions come open across the country for well-trained members of the profession.