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.

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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

Located 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.

  • Duration: The program can be completed in as little as one year, making it an efficient path to entering a rewarding career in healthcare.
  • Format: It offers specialized training that includes both classroom instruction and clinical settings, ensuring graduates have the necessary experience for employment.


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.

Enrolment Requirements

Prospective students must:

  • Be at least eighteen (18) years of age.
  • Complete the TCAT – Murfreesboro application for enrollment.
  • Provide a high school diploma or GED transcript.
  • Provide proof of required immunizations.
  • Successfully complete the HESI Assessment.
  • Be aware that drug screening, criminal background checks, and vaccination requirements may be more stringent based on clinical affiliation agreements.
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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.

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:

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

Percentile United States Tennessee
10% $31,570 $25,320
25% $36,240 $29,790
50% (Median) $41,480 $36,880
75% $50,300 $45,500
90% $62,960 $52,940

Salaries by Region in Tennessee

Region 10% 25% Median 75% 90%
Chattanooga, TN-GA $17,630 $24,460 $32,000 $43,870 $49,660
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA $22,880 $27,580 $27,830 $36,550 $44,390
Knoxville, TN $17,760 $25,320 $28,200 $32,370 $44,200
Memphis, TN-MS-AR $29,020 $31,270 $38,430 $46,250 $50,400
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN $30,380 $34,440 $42,300 $51,340 $58,440

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.

Employment Trends

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 Growth 19% 5%
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.

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