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.

Featured School

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.

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:

Wages for Tennessee Sterile Processing Technicians

Salaries for sterile processing technicians in Tennessee are below the national average, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting an average annual wage of $32,710 in 2019. By comparison, the average annual salary for this career field nationwide was $39,530 the same year. However, it’s important to note that variability in earnings can reflect the regional cost of living.

Tennessee Opportunities for Sterile Processing Technicians

In excellent news for sterile processing technicians in Tennessee, the career is facing significant growth in the state. In fact, according to Projections Central, the state should see a 14.4 percent growth in jobs between 2018 and 2028.

A few of the potential employers in Tennessee include Ascension, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, CHI, Tenet Healthcare and Hospital Corporation of America Healthcare.

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