Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician in Texas
Modern healthcare is built on a foundation of successful infection control. That means that all reputable facilities take great care to sterilize the equipment used in surgeries, dental exams and other medical procedures. This crucial task is not left to any random healthcare worker. Instead, medical facilities employ dedicated sterile processing technicians to maintain the required safety barrier against the spread of disease.
With its large and growing population, Texas has an ongoing need for skilled sterile processors. What’s more, the state serves as home to some of America’s biggest medical facilities. For these reasons, the sterile processing profession may be on the radar of Texas residents interested in working in the healthcare industry. If that sounds like you, let this informative summary serve as a planning tool for a more effective job search.
Does Texas Regulate Sterile Processors at the State Level?
While sterile processing technicians are essential personnel, they do not need to be licensed by the state in order to work in Texas. These medical equipment preparers also don’t need to register with a healthcare oversight board. In addition, sterile processors are free from any requirement to get certified by one of the nationwide associations that set independent standards for the profession.
Statewide Regulations Are Not the Only Thing to Consider
In the absence of statewide regulation, Texas healthcare facilities must find their own way of identifying qualified sterile processors. They typically do this by setting up in-house standards that all potential applicants must meet. Common expectations include:
- Applying only after you reach the age of 18
- Showing proof that you’ve graduated from high school or passed your GED exam
- Possessing training or practical experience in the sterile processing field
To further distinguish top candidates, some facilities may ask you to present proof of national certification in sterile processing. Whether or not this is a requirement, it’s generally to your benefit to get certified, since this further demonstrates your level of ability.
Sources of Sterile Processor Training in Texas
It’s probably not surprising that a healthcare hub like Texas has plentiful training options for prospective sterile processors. Example programs from throughout the state include:
- Tarrant County College – This Dallas-area school offers a 16-credit course in sterile processing. That’s the equivalent of two semesters of classes and labs. In addition, you must complete 240 hours of work during clinical rotations at local facilities.
- Austin Community College – ACC’s sterile processing program includes both on-site training and clinical rotations. It also includes access to resources for employment and career development. Graduates are prepared to take the national certification exam offered by the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution
- Houston Community College – HCC offers two options for sterile processor training: on-campus learning and a combination of online and on-campus work. The program begins with a semester of instruction in sterile processing and related topics. You will also spend a second semester gathering hands-on experience in local-area clinical rotations.
How Much Do Sterile Processing Technicians Make in Texas?
On average, Texas sterile processors make about $34,000 a year. Unfortunately, this is roughly $5,500 below the norm for all 50 states combined. Still, significant numbers of technicians working in Texas do in fact make salaries that match the national average. In addition, about 10 percent of the state’s sterile processors make at least $47,200 annually.
Future Employment Prospects
As medical equipment preparers, sterile processing technicians belong to a very healthy sector of the American job market. In the typical year, there are more than 7,000 job openings available for equipment preparers throughout the country. In addition, this employment category is on track for a solid decade of 8 percent growth. That kind of job outlook compares favorably to wide sectors of the current and future economy.