Becoming A Sterile Processing Technician in Ohio
One reason why modern medicine is so much more effective than treatments of ages past is that surgical, diagnostic and medical instruments are kept sterile – meaning free from bacteria and other living microorganisms – and are able to be completely cleaned and disinfected between uses. The person who undertakes this work is called a sterile processing technician. This highly skilled role is essential to the delivery of safe and effective care.
Requirements and Certification for Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician in Ohio
The state of Ohio does not regulate, register or certify sterile processing technicians – but employers will look for completion of a training program or significant experience in the field. Ideally, applicants should hold the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) certification from the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA), an internationally recognized professional body for sterile processing technicians.
To get the CRCST certification, you must pass an exam and demonstrate that you have a minimum of 400 hours of hands-on experience in the field. You can get your experience on the job or through a training program or an apprenticeship, but your experience must have been within five years of your exam to count. You’ll need to show that you have this experience in order to take the exam, and you must have achieved a specific number of hours of experience in the following areas:
- Decontamination (120 hours)
- Preparation and packaging of instruments (120 hours)
- Sterilization and disinfection (96 hours)
- Storage and distribution (24 hours)
- Quality assurance processes (24 hours)
- Equipment (16 hours)
The exam costs $125 and is an in-person, proctored test. Once you are certified, you’ll need to refresh your certification annually by taking a few hours of continuing professional development training. There are also advanced certifications available, focusing on instrumentation, endoscope processing or the management of a central services (sterilization) department. Each advanced certification has its own specific experience requirements.
Because you will be working in a healthcare setting and working with precision equipment, to work as a sterile processing technician you’ll usually need to be over the age of 18 and have a high school or general equivalency diploma. You’ll also need to be in reasonable health and, in some cases, you’ll need to pass a drug screening and criminal background check.
Training Programs for Sterile Processing Technicians in Ohio
Healthcare is a growth industry, so there are a number of programs available for aspiring technicians. Here are a few examples:
- Tri-C College in Cleveland offers a program as part of its Associate of Technical Studies diploma.
- Columbus State Community College offers a certification program as part of its two-year Associate of Technical Studies degree.
- Sinclair Community College in Dayton has a stand-alone technical certificate program.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022), the average annual salary for Medical Equipment Preparers, also known as Sterile Processing Technicians, differs between Ohio and the national average. In Ohio, these technicians earn an average of $39,210 annually, while the national average is slightly higher at $41,480.
National vs. Ohio Salaries for Sterile Processing Technicians
Salaries by Region in Ohio
Medical Equipment Preparers Employment Trends in Ohio
The employment trends for Medical Equipment Preparers in Ohio, as per the data from Projections Central (2020-2030) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022-2032), indicate a positive outlook. In Ohio, the number of employees in this field was 2,390 in 2020, with a projected increase to 2,550 by 2030, marking a 7% growth. This growth rate is indicative of a steady demand for Medical Equipment Preparers in the state. Additionally, there are projected to be 320 annual job openings from 2020 to 2030, which includes openings due to both growth and replacement.
Nationally, the employment figures for this occupation are also on the rise. In 2022, there were 66,700 employees, and this number is expected to reach 70,300 by 2032, reflecting a 5% growth, which is considered faster than average. The projected annual job openings on a national level are significantly higher, with 9,500 openings expected each year from 2022 to 2032.
Table of Employment Trends
|Category||Ohio (2020-2030)||United States (2022-2032)|
|Employment (Start of Period)||2,390 employees||66,700 employees|
|Projected Employment (End of Period)||2,550 employees||70,300 employees|
|Projected Annual Job Openings||320||9,500|
Sources of Data:
- For Ohio-specific data, the source is Projections Central, which offers state-level long-term projections for the period from 2020 to 2030.
- For the national data, the source is the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides federal-level employment projections for the period from 2022 to 2032.
Working as a Sterile Processing Technician in Ohio
The work of a sterile processing technician is meticulous and precise, and must be carried out exactly as standards require in order to ensure the safety of medical equipment for health professionals and patients. Sterile and clean equipment is truly crucial, as mistakes can mean that someone could get a life-changing infection.
Unlike many other jobs in healthcare, sterile processing technicians tend to benefit from regular and predictable working hours and consistent work environments. Hospitals, laboratories and clinics often have openings. Jobs are regularly advertised on major recruitment sites like Monster, Indeed and ZipRecruiter.