Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician in Missouri
Sterile conditions are crucial to providing proper safeguards in America’s many medical facilities. One of the biggest areas of focus for maintaining these conditions is the equipment needed for various patient procedures. The personnel who make sure that all equipment is decontaminated and safe to use are called sterile processing technicians.
No matter where you go in Missouri, you’ll find sterile processing technicians fulfilling their duties in nearby medical, dental and surgical facilities. In fact, these facilities could not operate safely without sterile processors on their staffs.
Interested in learning what it takes to become one of these essential, behind-the-scenes workers? Just read this brief guide to learn more about current requirements and opportunities for Missouri residents.
Legal Requirements for Sterile Processing Technicians in Missouri
Despite the important role they play in patient safety, sterile processors are not directly regulated by law in Missouri. You might think that the state’s lack of regulation would be the exception to the rule. However, it is not. Forty-five of the other 50 states take the same stance on regulating sterile processing technicians. In all of these states, you do not to be licensed to start working in the profession. You also have no requirement to:
- Register with the state
- Meet a state-mandated education standard
- Meet a statewide requirement to obtain national certification as a sterile processor
Paying Attention to Employers’ Requirements
If there are no state requirements for Missouri’s sterile processors, how do employers of these workers identify qualified personnel? They establish their own, independent requirements that all applicants must meet or exceed. This important step helps ensure that healthcare facilities only hire people who:
- Are old enough to meet the many responsibilities of sterile processing technicians
- Meet a minimal standard for secondary school education
- Know how to perform the many tasks that processors carry out on a daily basis
How do you gather the skills that prospective employers expect? The best way to make sure you are thoroughly grounded in those skills is to enroll in a sterile processor training program. It’s also probably a good idea to follow up your training by taking a national certification exam. As an alternative, you may be able to get hired if you have related or transferrable experience in another healthcare field.
Places to Seek Sterile Processor Training
Missouri has a few in-state outlets for sterile processor training, but not a lot. Programs are offered at schools such as:
- The University of Central Missouri – This Warrensburg-based school offers thorough training for would-be sterile processing technicians. The school’s program combines 130 hours of classroom instruction with 400 hours of real-world practice in medical facilities.
- St. Louis Community College – STLCC offers two tiers of sterile processor training. Participants must complete the first tier before moving on to more advanced learning. The program includes both online and in-person study.
If you can’t find a convenient in-person program in your area, you may want to consider a fully online training option. One of the best-known providers of this kind of program is MedCerts. This company focuses on both comprehensive learning and personalized mentorship for all participants.
How Much Do Missouri’s Sterile Processing Technicians Make?
Unfortunately, Missouri is not the most lucrative location for sterile processors and other medical equipment preparers. The state’s average income for the profession is $33,200 a year, a number that sits about $6,000 below the typical salary across the country. However, Missouri’s most experienced, best-paid equipment preparers make $45,600 or more per year.
Future Prospects for the Career
Medical equipment preparers like sterile processing technicians are well-placed to flourish in future years. In today’s world, it’s rare to find professions that are expanding, not contracting. However, medical equipment preparers are in the early years of a decade-long projected upswing in job openings and total number of available positions.