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.

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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.

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Penn Foster College – Online Sterile Processing Technician Certification

Take the first steps towards a career as a sterile processing technician with Penn Foster’s Sterile Processing Career Diploma. As a student in the program, you’ll be prepared to sit for the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) exam through the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA). Call 1-800-851-1819 today.

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

Located in Cleveland, offers a program as part of its Associate of Technical Studies diploma.

  • Clinical Practicum: The program includes a hands-on clinical practicum experience at an area hospital, allowing students to apply their learning in a real-world setting.
  • Certification Preparation: Graduates of the program are prepared for eligibility for the Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician Certification by the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD).
  • Credit Transferability: Students may apply credits from this program toward the Surgical Technology Program at Tri-C or consult with an academic counsellor to apply credits toward an Associate of Technical Studies degree.

Columbus State Community College

Offers a certification program as part of its two-year Associate of Technical Studies degree.

  • Certification and Degree Options: The college offers a two-semester Sterile Processing Certificate program concurrent with a five-semester Associate of Technical Studies Degree program.
  • Certification Eligibility: Graduates are eligible to sit for the International Certification Exam issued by the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM), leading to the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) credential.
  • Accreditation: The CRCST Certification is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

Sinclair Community College

Located in Dayton, has a stand-alone technical certificate program.

Program Overview

  • Credit Hours: The program consists of 13 credit hours.
  • Objective: It aims to specialize students in surgical instrumentation and sterilization practices to ensure quality surgical care for all patients.
  • Curriculum: The curriculum integrates knowledge of basic human anatomy, medical terminology, sterilization, inventory control, and information technologies. It combines lecture, lab, and a practicum to thoroughly prepare students for their roles.
  • Practicum: A significant component is the practicum, which counts towards the 400 work-related hours required for CRCST Exam eligibility.
  • Certification: Graduates are eligible to take the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) Exam upon graduation and after completing 400 work-related hours in a Sterile Processing Department.

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

Percentile United States Ohio
10% $31,570 $32,410
25% $36,240 $37,440
50% (Median) $41,480 $39,210
75% $50,300 $44,140
90% $62,960 $51,200

Salaries by Region in Ohio

Region 10% 25% Median 75% 90%
Akron, OH $31,500 $37,440 $38,960 $40,530 $48,760

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 Growth 7% 5%
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.

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