How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Nevada
Healthcare is a growing industry with great salaries and excellent job security. If you aren’t sure you want to work with patients and you don’t have the time or money to earn a degree, consider starting a career as a sterile processing technician.
These techs play a vital role in patient safety by providing physicians and nurses with safe, sterile equipment, machinery and instruments. Sterile processing techs are also known as medical equipment preparers and central processing technicians. In Nevada, it’s easy to become a sterile processing technician in a matter of months.
What Are the Requirements for Working in Sterile Processing in Nevada?
Nevada has no set requirements under state law for sterile processing technicians. This means you do not have to have a specific education, degree or credential, unless an employer requires it.
There are two main ways to become a sterile processing tech in the state:
- Start with a high school diploma or GED and land an entry-level job at a medical center or hospital. Many employers in healthcare will train you on the job to work in sterile processing.
- Finish high school and enroll in a post-secondary program. Many community and career colleges offer certificate programs in sterile processing that take a few months to complete.
Sterile Processing Programs in Nevada
Many employers prefer to hire candidates with some education in healthcare and sterile processing, so having this certificate can make it easier to find a job. You may also earn a better salary with a certificate. Nevada has a few options:
- College of Southern Nevada. CSN offers a Central Sterile Technician certification program at three campuses: Charleston, North Las Vegas and Henderson. The nine-credit hour program includes 400 hours of clinical experience and prepares graduates to pass a national certification exam.
- Pima Medical Institute. With a campus in Las Vegas, area students can choose Pima for a comprehensive, nine-month certificate program in sterile processing. Students take classes in surgical terminology, sterilization procedures, medical equipment and more. They also complete an externship.
- Truckee Meadows Community College. In Reno, the Truckee Meadows surgical technology program includes training in sterile processing. This is an associate degree program, so it takes two years to complete. The benefit is that it provides more career options including both sterile processing and surgical technology. See also https://surgicaltechedu.org/nv/
Do I Need to Be Certified as a Sterile Processing Technician?
You do not need to be certified to work in this job in Nevada. There are good reasons to earn a credential, though. It makes you a better job candidate and can lead to a higher salary. The certification can also help you advance in healthcare, even becoming a central processing manager.
The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management offers the most widely recognized and accepted certification through an exam. Most training programs prepare you to pass the exam, but you can also try for certification after learning on the job.
Salaries and Job Outlook in Nevada
Salaries for sterile processing technicians in Nevada average around $21.73 per hour and $45,200 per year. This is much higher than the national average of $19.01 per hour and $39,520 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Projections Central reports that the outlook for sterile processing jobs in Nevada is excellent. The growth in the number of positions is expected to be above 22 percent for several years.
Finding a Position as a Sterile Processing Technician in Nevada
Sterile processing techs work in all types of healthcare facilities including hospitals, surgery centers and physician and dental offices. The most jobs with the best salaries are in and around Las Vegas and Reno, but you should be able to find a good job anywhere there is a medical center.