How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Oklahoma

Sterile processing technicians are vital to the health and safety of anyone undergoing a medical, dental or surgical procedure. These essential technicians are responsible for decontaminating, cleaning and sterilizing used surgical tools and equipment before they are reused. The services a central sterile processing department provides are widely responsible for preventing the transmission of infectious particles between patients. You are well-suited to this career if you are detail-oriented, have physical stamina and good clerical skills.

Aside from cleaning equipment, the regular duties of sterile processing technicians include tracking inventory, picking up and delivering supplies, and keeping meticulous maintenance and cleaning records. For those who work in a hospital setting, the days can be long, and mandatory overtime is often assigned. In addition, technicians should expect to work off-shifts, weekends, holidays and take regular on-call.

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License Requirements for Sterile Processing Technicians in Oklahoma

Oklahoma does not have a licensing requirement for sterile processing technicians, nor is there a statewide oversight board to track professionals. However, central sterile processing departments are typically overseen by a licensed professional, usually a registered nurse. In addition, this department is a common target for internal and external review and inspection due to its vital role in infection control and prevention.

Programs for Training Sterile Processing Technicians in Oklahoma

Prior to training as a sterile processing technician, you will need to have acquired a high school diploma or equivalent. There may be occasional opportunities for on-the-job training for those who are already employed by a hospital or surgical center. However, those who wish to enter the field directly will need to acquire their knowledge through a training course.

Some available programs which include central processing training in Oklahoma include:

  • Metro Technology Centers in Oklahoma City offers a career program for Surgical Technology. Surgical technologists work in operating rooms, assisting with procedures, stocking supplies and cleaning and sterilizing equipment. Teaching is accomplished through a mixture of classroom instruction, laboratories and hands-on clinical experience. Graduates are prepared to sit for a certification examination.
  • Moore Norman Technology Center, with campuses in Norman and Oklahoma City, offers a Surgical Technology program. In addition to the decontamination and sterilization of surgical tools and equipment, surgical technologists scrub into procedures and provide operating room assistance. Students will attend clinical rotations at local hospitals and be prepared to work in high-stress environments.

Accreditations

Becoming certified in any profession is a smart move for anyone who wants to improve their employability and accelerate their career potential. There is no universal standard for acquiring credentialing for sterile processing technicians, but many organizations do prefer to hire certified techs. As there are several agencies through which accreditation is possible, you may wish to reach out to potential employers to inquire about their preferences.

Potential Salaries for Sterile Processing Technicians in Oklahoma

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), sterile processing technicians in Tennessee made an average salary of $32,360 in 2019. In the same year, technicians’ wages ranged from $24,420 to $41,520 for the most qualified. Entry-level technicians should expect to start below average, with chances to increase their earnings as they gain experience and expertise.

Where Do Sterile Processing Technicians Work in Oklahoma?

The BLS reports that most sterile processing technicians work at hospitals, dental offices and outpatient care centers. The profession is expected to experience some growth in the next 10 years, with Projections Central predicting a 4.6 percent increase in jobs between 2018 and 2028.

In Oklahoma, potential employers include McBride Orthopedic Hospital, Community Hospital OKC, Oklahoma Heart Hospital, St. Anthony Hospital and Norman Regional Health System.