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.
New Jersey Salaries for Sterile Processing Technicians
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), salaries for sterile processing technicians in New Jersey are above the national average. In fact, New Jersey technicians averaged $40,460 in 2019, with a range between $25,990 and $54,070. By comparison, the nationwide average annual salary in the same year was $39,530.
New Jersey Career Opportunities
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.