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 US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a sterile processing technician is about $37,000, which is about average for technician wages across the U.S. The number of jobs for sterile processing techs in Ohio is expected to grow by about 8 percent by 2028.
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.