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:
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/
- Sterile Processing Skills Certificate:
- Objective: This program is suitable for those considering a career in sterile processing or needing to update their skills.
- Details: The certificate program provides comprehensive training in sterile processing, equipping students with the necessary skills for the field.
- Surgical Technologist CSN Program (Partnership with CSN):
- Format: This program is offered in partnership with the College of Southern Nevada (CSN). Students complete their prerequisites at TMCC and attend classes via interactive video conference. Labs and clinics are conducted at area hospitals.
- Transferability: All courses from this program are transferable to CSN for students aiming to pursue an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Surgical Technology.
With a campus in Las Vegas, area students can choose Pima for a comprehensive, nine-month certificate program in sterile processing.
- Goal: This certificate program aims to develop the skills required to perform effectively as an entry-level sterile processing technician.
- Skills Covered: The program includes courses on surgical instruments, microbiology, medical equipment, surgical terminology, storage and distribution, as well as sterilization and decontamination skills.
Role of a Sterile Processing Technician
- Function: Sterile processing technicians are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness, functionality, and inventory of healthcare instrumentation and equipment. They primarily work in the sterile processing and distribution areas of healthcare facilities.
- Class Schedule: The program is offered Monday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:25 p.m.
- Program Length: The duration of the program is 15 weeks.
- Course Delivery: The program is delivered through a combination of in-person, remote, and online classes.
- Entrance Scores: Applicants must meet minimum TABE Reading and Math scores.
- Information Session: Attendance at a program information session is required.
- Allied Health Customer Service Program: Completion of a 7.5-week Allied Health Customer Service Program is necessary before starting the class.
- Work Environments: Graduates can find opportunities in hospitals, emergency rooms, intensive care units, labor & delivery units, operating rooms, dental/eye care practices, plastic surgery offices, surgery centers, and laboratories.
- Job Positions: The program prepares students for various roles, including Instrument Repair Specialist, Sterile Processing Technician, Surgical Services Assistant, and Traveling Sterile Processing Technician.
- Coursework: The program includes a series of professional sequences covering surgical instruments, microbiology and infection control, principles and practices of sterile processing, sterilization procedures, storage and distribution, decontamination procedures, medical equipment, and surgical terminology.
- Externship: The program includes an externship and a certification review.
- Career Prep Sequence: Courses include Study Skills, Anatomy, Physiology and Terminology, Computer Basics, Math Fundamentals, and CPR and first Aid.
- Career Services: Students have access to Career Services for assistance with job opportunities, resume building, interview skills, and general guidance.
- Clinical Externships: The program includes clinical externships for real-world experience and potential job placement opportunities after graduation.
- National Certification: Graduates are eligible to apply to take the CRCST Credentialing Examination.
“I learned so much at Pima Medical and felt like they prepared me for this career. I am working at Lovelace Hospital as a Sterile Processing Technician (SPT). Basically, I take the instruments used in the operating room for a specific surgery, reprocess them from dirty to sterile instruments, and then reorganize them in preparation for the next surgery.”
Adam Gutierrez, Sterile Processing Technician Graduatehttps://pmi.edu/blog/alumni-spotlight-sterile-processing-technician-graduate-adam-gutierrez/
Interested individuals are encouraged to contact Pima Medical Institute or visit their website for more information or to start the program.
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.
Job Growth Outlook and Salary Expectations
In Nevada, medical equipment preparers, including sterile processing technicians, earn an average annual salary of $46,450 as of 2022. This figure surpasses the national average, with the lower 10% of workers in Nevada earning about $36,400 and the top 10% earning up to $58,070. In comparison, the national average annual salary for this occupation is $41,480, with the lowest 10% earning approximately $31,570 and the highest 10% earning up to $62,960.
These figures indicate that sterile processing technicians in Nevada enjoy a competitive salary, higher than the national average, with a significant portion of technicians earning close to or above the national median.
National vs. Nevada Salaries for Medical Equipment Preparers:
|Annual Low (10%)
|Annual High (90%)
Salaries and Percentiles by Region in Nevada:
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|Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV
Medical Equipment Preparers Employment Trends in Nevada
The employment outlook for medical equipment preparers in Nevada shows a promising growth trajectory. As of 2020, there were 370 individuals employed in this occupation in the state. This number is projected to increase to 440 employees by 2030, representing a significant growth rate of 19%. Annually, Nevada is expected to have around 60 job openings in this field, which includes both new positions due to growth and 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 national 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 that Nevada is experiencing a higher growth rate in this field compared to the national average, indicating strong job prospects for medical equipment preparers in the state.
|United States (2022-2032)
|Current Employment (Start of Period)
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|Projected Growth Rate
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Sources of Data:
- Nevada Data: The employment figures and projections for Nevada are obtained from Projections Central’s 2020-2030 long-term projections. Projections Central specializes in providing detailed and state-specific employment projections, 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 Nevada
Working as a Sterile Processing Technician in Nevada offers a promising career in the healthcare sector, with a notable average annual salary of $46,450 as of 2022, surpassing the national average. The state is experiencing a robust job growth in this field, projected at 19% from 2020 to 2030, significantly higher than the national rate. These technicians play a crucial role in hospital and clinical settings, focusing on sterilizing and preparing medical equipment and surgical instruments. With the increasing demand in Nevada’s healthcare facilities, this career path not only offers job security but also opportunities for professional growth and development in the medical field.