Pursuing a Sterile Processing Technician Career in Oregon
Working as a sterile processing technician is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a hospital-based career without a lot of patient contact. Although sterile processing technicians tend to work in the background, they are vital to keeping the hospital running safely and efficiently, because the job entails cleaning and tracking critical surgical and medical equipment. Meticulous record-keeping is essential to ensure equipment is managed with each procedure and prior to its expiration date. As such, these technicians must be well-trained, detail-oriented and extremely knowledgeable.
Aside from decontaminating and sterilizing equipment, sterile processing technicians are responsible for reissuing and delivering cleaned equipment back to the department in which it is used. In fact, technicians may spend a great deal of time traveling throughout the hospital with a cart full of equipment. Sterile processing technicians need to be available to reprocess equipment used for urgent and emergent procedures. The job typically requires long hours, off-shifts, weekends, holidays and on-call work.
Sterile Processing Technician Licensing Requirements in Oregon
Oregon does not have a requirement for licensing for sterile processing technicians. However, sterile processing departments are generally overseen by a licensed professional, typically a registered nurse. In addition, hospitals are often audited by accreditation companies, local health departments and internal reviews to ensure proper adherence to policy and procedure.
Oregon Programs for Sterile Processing Technicians
Prior to training as a sterile processing technician, you will need to obtain a high school diploma or equivalent, as it is a required prerequisite. Once acquired, you can seek training either on the job or through an appropriate training course.
Training programs in Oregon include the following:
- Rogue Community College with campuses in Grants Pass, Kerby, Medford and White City, OR, offers a Sterile Processing Technician Certificate. Students will learn the basics of sterile processing including the use of essential pieces of equipment like autoclaves. Education on the types of tools and equipment used on the job will also be provided. Graduates of the program will be qualified to sit for certification examinations.
- Portland Community College with campuses in Portland, Hillsboro, Newberg and Beaverton, offers a Sterile Processing Technician program. The class is taught over the course of a single term and includes 42 hours of self-directed study along with classroom instruction. The class consists of training in infection control, decontamination, cleaning, sterilization, surgical instruments, microbiology, medical terminology, and anatomy and physiology.
Certificates for Sterile Processing Technicians
There are many possible accreditations that can be acquired by sterile processing technicians, even though there is no standard requirement for the industry. One popular organization for credentialing is the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materials Management (IAHCSMM). Their Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) is awarded to sterile processing technicians who can pass an examination.
Salaries for Sterile Processing Technician in Oregon
Sterile processing technicians in Oregon reported an average annual wage of $42,320 in 2019, according to data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). By comparison, the average reported salary for the job classification nationally was $39,530, putting technicians in Oregon somewhat ahead of the curve. Wages in the state ranged from $27,360 to $60,530.
Oregon Opportunities and Career Growth
Long-term projections for the career in Oregon also look good, with Projections Central predicting an 11.6 percent increase in positions between 2018 and 2028. This data translate to an additional 150 jobs in the state over the 10-year period.
With organizations like Oregon Health and Science University, Legacy Health, St. Charles Health System, Kaiser Permanente and Trinity Health hiring sterile processing technicians, those in the field should find plenty of opportunity for employment in Oregon.