How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in New Mexico
Without effective equipment sterilization protocols, America’s health facilities would be overrun with serious outbreaks of infectious diseases. The danger is so significant that there are healthcare workers whose sole job is to sterilize all required tools and instruments. In most cases, these medical equipment preparers go by the name of sterilization processing technicians.
Thinking of starting a career as a sterile processing technician in New Mexico? There’s good reason to do so. The profession is well-respected and typically brings in a decent income for working techs. What’s more, given the increasing importance of accessible healthcare, sterile processors can anticipate plenty of future job security. But before you get your job search underway, there are some key things you must know. This brief guide to the most important topics will help you prepare for what’s ahead.
New Mexico’s Laws for Sterile Processing Technicians
With very few exceptions, sterile processing technicians are not subject to specific work laws in their home states. This general principal applies to processors who live and work in New Mexico. What does this mean in straightforward terms? In New Mexico, you can start your career without registering with the state or getting a state-issued license. You can also skip the process of getting certified as a sterile processor by any of the profession’s countrywide organizations.
Meeting the Standards of New Mexico Employers
All of this may make it seem like you can just walk in off the street and get a job as a sterile processing technician. However, by and large, that is a mistaken impression. Why? The fact that the state government sets no standards for sterile processors does not mean that New Mexico employers follow suit. In fact, you can expect every healthcare facility in your area to have a clear set of guidelines for potential employees.
What sorts of things are common elements in employer guidelines? The most likely points include:
- A minimum age requirement
- A minimum education requirement
- A minimum requirement for previous experience or some form of relevant training
The typical age standard is 18 or older. The typical education standard is a high school diploma or an equivalent certificate. Each facility sets its own training and work requirements. You may find local employers who expect you to hold national sterile processor certification in addition to experience or training.
Where Can You Get Trained?
New Mexico residents can seek sterile processor technician training from various in-state providers. That includes sources such as:
- Pima Medical Institute – PMI offers sterile processor training in two separate Albuquerque locations. Program participants must complete an extensive, three-part sequence of classes and labs. They must also complete an externship at a local medical facility.
- Central New Mexico Community College – This is another Albuquerque-based institution. It offers a relatively brief course of training in sterile processing. To complete the program, you must complete 4 credits’ worth of classwork and lab work.
- San Juan College – This Farmington-based institution offers a sterile processing course as part of its Surgical Technology program. Program participants work toward an associate’s degree in applied sciences.
Salary Range for Sterile Processors in New Mexico
New Mexico’s equipment preparers (including sterile processors) average about $36,600 in annual earnings. This figure puts the employment category about $3,000 below the national average. However, at least 25 percent of New Mexico technicians beat the national salary average. Top earnings start at $49,000-plus.
What Does the Future Hold?
There’s good news for anyone entering the medical equipment preparer field in the next few years. Employment projections point to an ongoing increase in open positions across the country. You can expect to enjoy the advantages of this increase until at least 2028.