Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician in Tennessee
Sterile processing technicians generally work behind the scenes in hospitals, doctors’ offices and surgery centers. They are responsible for receiving the soiled equipment used in medical and surgical procedures, and decontaminating, cleaning and sterilizing them to make them safe for reuse. The job requires a great deal of knowledge and skill, along with a detailed-oriented nature.
Aside from cleaning, a sterile processing technician’s day-to-day activities include inventory control and the delivery and pickup of equipment from the various departments in the hospital. As such, technicians spend a great deal of time standing, walking, lifting and pushing heavy, equipment-laden carts throughout a facility. In addition, sterile processing departments keep meticulous records of equipment cleaning, maintenance and repair.
If this career sounds like it would be a good fit for you, keep reading for information you need to get started.
Tennessee Requirements for Sterile Processing Technician Licenses
Although Tennessee does not require sterile processing technicians to become licensed, there are regulations regarding certification, which are detailed below. Lack of licensing aside, this essential career is known to be highly regulated. In general, sterile processing departments need to follow stringent procedures and keep precise records, as they are subjected to ongoing oversight from both internal and external sources.
Training in Tennessee for Sterile Processing Technicians
Sterile processing technicians traditionally acquired training on the-job; however, modern technicians can attend training through a university or trade school. In either case, a high school diploma or equivalent will be needed prior to applying.
A few of the available courses for the profession in Tennessee include:
- Nashville State Community College in Nashville, TN, offers a Central Processing Technology Certificate. Students in the program will receive specialized training in anatomy, medical terminology and surgical instrumentation through classroom experience and clinical practice.
- Fortis, with campuses in Cookeville and Nashville, offers a Sterile Processing Technician course. Graduates of the program are prepared to enter the field in entry-level positions. Classroom instruction, laboratory practice and clinical rotations are included in the coursework.
- Tennessee College of Applied Technology,with campuses in Murfreesboro and Smyrna, offers a Central Sterile Processing Technology certificate. Training includes decontamination, storage, cleaning, packaging, sterilization and distribution of equipment.
Certifications for Sterile Processing Technicians in Tennessee
Tennessee requires any sterile processing technicians who work in or contract with a hospital to be credentialed by one of two organizations. In addition, sterile processing technicians in the state will need to participate in continuing education. Approved certification programs in Tennessee include:
- The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materials Management (IAHCSMM) offers a credentialing examination to earn the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) designation.
- The Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution, Inc. (CBSPD) offers credentialing for the Certified Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician (CSPDT) designation. Earning the credential will require the ability to pass an examination.
Job Growth Outlook and Salary Expectations
In Tennessee, Sterile Processing Technicians, also known as Medical Equipment Preparers, earn an average annual wage of $36,880, which is slightly below the national average of $41,480. The salary range in Tennessee varies from $25,320 at the lower end (10th percentile) to $52,940 at the higher end (90th percentile), reflecting the variability in earnings that can be influenced by factors such as regional cost of living and experience levels.
National vs. Tennessee Salaries for Sterile Processing Technicians
Salaries by Region in Tennessee
Medical Equipment Preparers Employment Trends in Tennessee
The employment trends for Medical Equipment Preparers in Tennessee are showing a significant and positive growth trajectory. According to the data from Projections Central (2020-2030), the field is expected to experience a 19% growth over the decade, which is substantially higher than the national average growth rate.
In 2020, there were approximately 1,100 employees working as Medical Equipment Preparers in Tennessee. This number is projected to increase to 1,310 by 2030. The substantial growth rate indicates a robust demand for these professionals in Tennessee’s healthcare sector.
Additionally, there are projected to be 170 annual job openings in Tennessee from 2020 to 2030. These openings are expected to arise due to both new job growth and the need to replace workers who leave the field.
Nationally, the employment for Medical Equipment Preparers is projected to grow by 5% from 2022 to 2032, with 9,500 projected annual job openings.
|Category||Tennessee (2020-2030)||United States (2022-2032)|
|Employment (Start of Period)||1,100 employees||66,700 employees|
|Projected Employment (End of Period)||1,310 employees||70,300 employees|
|Projected Annual Job Openings||170||9,500|
Sources of Data:
- For Tennessee-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 Tennessee
Working as a Sterile Processing Technician in Tennessee offers a promising and growing career path within the healthcare sector. The state is experiencing a robust 19% growth in this field from 2020 to 2030, significantly higher than the national average. This growth reflects a strong demand for these professionals in Tennessee’s medical facilities. Sterile Processing Technicians in Tennessee are responsible for the critical task of sterilizing and preparing medical equipment, ensuring patient safety and supporting efficient healthcare services. With an estimated 170 annual job openings over the decade, individuals pursuing this career in Tennessee can expect ample opportunities for employment and professional development in a vital healthcare role.