How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in New Jersey
Have you been considering a career as a sterile processing technician? If you are looking for a job where you can make a difference doing detail-oriented work without spending many years in college, working as a sterile processing technician might be an excellent fit for your goals and lifestyle. To find out more about how to get started in this exciting career, keep reading below.
So, what do sterile processing technicians do? Sterile processing technicians are essential to preventing the spread of pathogens and lowering the rate of hospital-acquired illnesses. The work involves handling soiled medical and surgical equipment, cleaning and sterilizing it per manufacturer specifications and delivering it for re-use. Those who enter this field should expect to alternate between cleaning, clerical work and inventory control. The job requires a great deal of knowledge, attention to detail and physical stamina.
Licenses in New Jersey for Sterile Processing Technicians
New Jersey does not have a statewide licensing program for sterile processing technicians. However, the lack of licensing does not indicate a lack of oversight. Central sterile processing departments have to follow strict regulations to operate and are subjected to periodic surveillance by accreditation organizations, health departments and internal review committees. In New Jersey, central processing departments are also required to follow guidelines set by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI).
New Jersey Training Opportunities for Sterile Processing Technicians
Working as a sterile processing technician requires knowledge of the various procedures used to clean, disinfect and sterilize equipment. In-depth training can be acquired either on the job or through a reputable training program. In either case, a high school diploma or equivalent is a prerequisite. A few of the available courses in New Jersey include:
- The Medical Career Institute in Ocean Township, NJ, offers a Certificate in Sterile Processing Technology. Students will be prepared to work as sterile processing technicians in hospitals, surgery centers and endoscopy/colonoscopy suites.
- Berkeley College, with campuses in Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park, NJ, offers a Surgical Processing Technician Certificate Program. Students will gain the necessary skills to work in a healthcare organization, supporting the organization’s needs for clean and sterilized equipment.
- Americation Career and Training School in Newark, NJ, offers a Sterile Processing Technician Certificate of Completion.
- Marie’s Allied Health and Technical Institute in Somerset, NJ, offers a Certified Registered Central Sterile Technician course. The program is designed to jumpstart students in the career, covering anatomy and physiology, microbiology and infection control, with 400 hours of classroom instruction and 400 hours of externship.
Credentialing in New Jersey
New Jersey requires all central sterile processing technicians to become certified through a national sterile processing organization recognized by the New Jersey Department of Health within three years of employment. One such organization is the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materials Management (IAHCSMM). The IAHCSMM offers several types of accreditation, both entry-level and advanced. Acquiring IAHCSMM certification can be achieved by passing an examination.
Job Growth Outlook and Salary Expectations
In New Jersey, the average annual salary for medical equipment preparers, also known as sterile processing technicians, is $46,690 as of 2022. This figure varies across different percentiles, with the lower 10% earning around $28,580 and the top 10% earning upwards of $60,550.
Nationally, the average annual salary for this occupation is $41,480. At the national level, the lowest 10% earn approximately $31,570, while the highest 10% can earn $62,960 or more.
These figures indicate that salaries for sterile processing technicians in New Jersey are indeed above the national average, reflecting the state’s competitive pay scale in this field.
National vs. New Jersey Salaries for Medical Equipment Preparers:
|Location||Annual Low (10%)||Annual Median||Annual High (90%)|
Salaries and Percentiles by Region in New Jersey:
|Region||Annual Low (10%)||Annual Median||Annual High (90%)|
|Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ||$35,970||$48,700||$60,360|
|New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA||$37,010||$49,540||$64,950|
Medical Equipment Preparers Employment Trends in New Jersey
The employment trends for medical equipment preparers in New Jersey, as of the data updated on November 14, 2023, show a significant growth trajectory in this occupation. In 2020, the state had 2,380 employees working as medical equipment preparers. This number is projected to increase to 2,610 employees by 2030, representing a substantial growth rate of 10%. Annually, there are expected to be around 330 job openings in this field within the state, which includes new positions due to growth as well as replacements.
In comparison, at the national level, the employment for medical equipment preparers was 66,700 in 2022, with a projection to rise to 70,300 by 2032. This indicates a growth rate of 5%, which is considered faster than average. The projected annual job openings nationwide are estimated to be around 9,500.
This data suggests a robust and growing demand for medical equipment preparers in New Jersey, outpacing the national average growth rate, indicating strong job prospects in this field within the state.
|Parameter||New Jersey (2020-2030)||United States (2022-2032)|
|Current Employment (Start of Period)||2,380 employees||66,700 employees|
|Projected Employment (End of Period)||2,610 employees||70,300 employees|
|Projected Growth Rate||10%||5%|
|Projected Annual Job Openings||330||9,500|
Sources of Data:
- New Jersey Data: The employment figures and projections for New Jersey are obtained from Projections Central’s 2020-2030 long-term projections. Projections Central is known for providing detailed and state-specific employment projections, which are widely used for workforce planning and analysis.
- United States Data: The national employment statistics and forecasts are sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2022-2032 employment projections.
Working as a Sterile Processing Technician in New Jersey
Sterile processing technicians work primarily in hospitals, dentists’ offices and outpatient surgery centers. Although the job can be rewarding, technicians should expect to work long hours, off-shifts and on call on a regular basis.
In New Jersey, technicians find work with such organizations as Clinical Management Consultants, JFK Medical Center, Atlantic Health System, Capital Health and Hackensack Meridian Health.