How To Become A Sterile Processing Technician in Nebraska

It’s not something one usually thinks about: how do the tools and equipment our doctors and nurses use to treat and diagnose us get cleaned and sterilized? These items need to be spotlessly clean and completely sterile, meaning that they are unable to transmit infection between patients or from caregivers. Sterile processing technicians are the highly skilled specialists that do this work, and they are in demand in healthcare settings everywhere, including in Nebraska.

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Requirements for Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician in Nebraska

Nebraska’s department of public health does not certify or supervise sterile processing technicians, but any reputable employer will require that you carry certification from a major national certifying body. The most widely accepted certification is the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) award from the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management – an international body that represents, tests and sets standards for sterile processing techs.

The certification requires two steps: passing an exam, which costs $125 and is taken at a testing center in your area, and 400 work experience hours. This experience can be obtained through a training program or apprenticeship, hours on the job or a combination of the two. Specific numbers of hours of work experience in various areas of the field are required:

  • 120 hours decontamination experience
  • 16 hours equipment maintenance
  • 120 hours equipment packaging and preparation experience
  • 24 hours experience in quality assurance and processing
  • 96 hours experience in disinfection and sterilization
  • 24 experience hours in storage and distribution

The exam is a proctored test taken in person, not online. Once you’ve obtained your certification, you’ll need to re-register annually and show that you’ve completed a few hours of continuing professional education. You can also improve your employability by obtaining advanced certifications such as endoscope processing, instrumentation or managing a sterile processing department.

Although you’re unlikely to have much direct patient contact, sterile processing techs work with precision equipment in a healthcare setting, so you’ll usually need to be at least 18 years old and have a high school or general equivalency diploma. You also may need to be able to pass a criminal background check and a drug screen, and to have your vaccinations up to date.

Training Programs for Sterile Processing Technicians in Nebraska

Here are a few examples of training courses and programs for sterile processing technicians in Nebraska:

Nebraska Methodist College

Based in Omaha and offers an online-based, six-week course that involves hands-on clinical experience at Methodist Hospital. The course prepares students for the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) exam.

Certification: Successful students will receive a course completion certificate and become eligible to take the Sterile Processing Technician exam through The Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution, Inc. (CBSPD). Those who pass the CBSPD exam will earn CSPDT credentials.

Southeast Community College

Based in Lincoln, offers a course that prepares students for an entry- level career as a sterile processing technician. Financial aid is available.


Has an online sterile processing course designed for people with existing work and educational commitments. It prepares you for the CRCST exam and can help place you at a local clinical facility for your work experience.

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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.

Job Outlook and Salary Expectations

In Nebraska, medical equipment preparers, including sterile processing technicians, earn an average annual wage of $35,900, which is slightly below the national average of $41,480. The highest earners in Nebraska can make up to $45,760 annually.

National vs. Nebraska Salaries for Medical Equipment Preparers

Description United States Nebraska
Average Salary $41,480 $35,900
10% Earn Less Than $31,570 $30,620
10% Earn More Than $62,960 $45,760

Salaries and Percentiles by Region in Nebraska

Region 10% Earn Less Than Median Salary 10% Earn More Than
Lincoln, NE $31,500 $35,360 $43,280
Northeast Nebraska nonmetropolitan area $30,620 $35,390 $38,600
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA $31,410 $35,900 $45,680
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD $31,560 $38,300 $51,430
South Nebraska nonmetropolitan area $29,900 $37,320 $57,090

Medical Equipment Preparers Employment Trends in Nebraska

In Nebraska, the employment outlook for medical equipment preparers is showing a steady growth. As of 2020, there were 520 employees in this occupation. This number is projected to increase to 550 employees by 2030, indicating a growth rate of 6%. Additionally, there are projected to be around 70 annual job openings from 2020 to 2030. This growth rate, while modest, suggests a stable job market for medical equipment preparers in Nebraska.

Comparatively, on a national level, the employment for medical equipment preparers was 66,700 in 2022 and is projected to reach 70,300 by 2032, marking a 5% growth rate, which is considered faster than average. The projected annual job openings nationally from 2022 to 2032 are estimated to be 9,500.

Employment Trends

Category Nebraska (2020-2030) United States (2022-2032)
Employment (Start of Period) 520 employees 66,700 employees
Projected Employment (End of Period) 550 employees 70,300 employees
Projected Growth 6% 5%
Projected Annual Job Openings 70 9,500

Sources of Data:

  1. Nebraska Data: The employment trends for Nebraska are sourced from Projections Central’s 2020-2030 long-term projections. Projections Central is a well-regarded source for state-specific employment projections, offering detailed insights into various occupations.
  2. United States Data: The national employment trends are sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2022-2032 employment projections. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a part of the United States Department of Labor and is the primary federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy.

Working as a Sterile Processing Technician in Nebraska

Unusual for jobs in the medical field, sterile processing techs generally benefit from predictable, daytime hours, but some evening and weekend work can be required if there is a surge in surgical procedures. The work can be physically demanding, with lots of standing, carrying and lifting as well as exacting hand and visual work. There is a significant paperwork and compliance requirement for the role, and surprise and scheduled inspections are common. Available roles at hospitals, clinics and diagnostic facilities are often advertised on major job sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter and Monster.