How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Utah
Sterilization is an essential step in getting certain kinds of medical supplies and equipment ready for use. If this step were not taken, patients in dentists’ offices, surgery centers and hospitals would find themselves unnecessarily exposed to dangerous infectious organisms. You may wonder who takes responsibility for sterilizing supplies and equipment. That role fits the job description of America’s sterile processing technicians.
These technicians can be found hard at work in cities and towns throughout Utah. That’s because their services are needed in healthcare facilities of all sizes. There are some compelling reasons for putting this profession on your list of possible career paths. But before you do that, it’s important to get some background on the world of Utah’s sterile processing technicians. Here’s a quick summary of the key points to consider.
Utah’s Legal Requirements for Sterile Processing Technicians
Like all but four U.S. states, Utah has not set up a licensing process for sterile processing technicians. In addition, workers in this category do not need to register with any of the state’s government agencies. There is also no certification standard Utah’s sterile processors. This means that you don’t have to pass any of the national certification exams in use throughout the country.
Other Potential Requirements for Employment
In the absence of statewide oversight of sterile processors, medical facilities in Utah create their own guidelines for hiring new employees. Those guidelines may vary widely. However, as a rule, they include key requirements such as:
- Meeting a minimum age standard (typically age 18)
- Showing proof of a high school-level education or its equivalent
- Demonstrating prior experience through either a previous job or completion of a sterile processing training program
Some prospective employers may also expect you to hold national certification. Even when this is not required, certified job applicants may have better chances of finding work.
Training Programs for Utah Sterile Processors
Utah residents can take advantage of both in-person and online training programs for sterile processing technicians. Possible resources to put on your radar include:
- Mountainland Technical College – MTech is based in Lehi. The school offers an 800-hour program that provides comprehensive sterile processor training. It will take you about half a year to complete this program. MTech follows standards that prepare you for certification from the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management, or IAHCSMM.
- Tooele Technical College – Toole is an in-state resource for online sterile processor training. It takes about 80 hours of work to complete the school’s program, which fits the requirements of the IAHCSMM certification exam. Graduates also qualify for Toole’s Occupational Skills Certificate.
- Penn Foster – Penn Foster is a nationwide provider of online training for sterile processing technicians. Its program is also geared toward IAHCSMM certification. You will need to complete 12 separate courses to complete the program. The topics covered include both sterile processing techniques and supporting subjects such as medical terminology and knowledge of infectious diseases.
Job Growth Outlook and Salary Expectations
In Utah, Sterile Processing Technicians, also known as Medical Equipment Preparers, have an average annual income of $40,500. This figure is slightly below the national average of $41,480 for this profession. It’s important to note that entry-level technicians in Utah may start with lower wages, but with experience, there is potential for higher earnings. The salary range in Utah spans from $32,430 at the lower end (10th percentile) to $56,530 at the higher end (90th percentile).
National vs. Utah Salaries for Sterile Processing Technicians
Salaries by Region in Utah
|Salt Lake City, UT||$31,810||$37,230||$40,700||$48,270||$58,560|
|St. George, UT||$32,820||$32,820||$40,700||$44,890||$53,190|
Medical Equipment Preparers Employment Trends in Utah
The employment outlook for Medical Equipment Preparers in Utah is exceptionally positive. According to data from Projections Central (2020-2030), this field is expected to experience a significant growth of 21% over the decade, which is substantially higher than the national average growth rate.
In 2020, there were approximately 530 employees working as Medical Equipment Preparers in Utah. This number is projected to increase to 640 by 2030. The substantial growth rate in Utah indicates a robust demand for these professionals in the state’s healthcare sector.
Additionally, there are projected to be 80 annual job openings in Utah 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||Utah (2020-2030)||United States (2022-2032)|
|Employment (Start of Period)||530 employees||66,700 employees|
|Projected Employment (End of Period)||640 employees||70,300 employees|
|Projected Annual Job Openings||80||9,500|
Sources of Data:
- For Utah-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 Utah
Working as a Sterile Processing Technician in Utah offers a promising career path, especially considering the state’s robust job market growth in this field. With an impressive projected growth rate of 21% from 2020 to 2030, significantly outpacing the national average, Utah presents a dynamic environment for professionals in healthcare support. Sterile Processing Technicians in Utah are integral to the healthcare system, responsible for the crucial task of sterilizing and preparing medical equipment, ensuring patient safety and the smooth operation of medical procedures. The state’s healthcare industry’s growing demand for these technicians is reflected in the projected 80 annual job openings, offering ample opportunities for both employment and career advancement in a vital and fulfilling healthcare role.