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.

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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.

What’s the Salary for Sterile Processors in Utah?

In Utah, medical equipment preparers like sterile processing technicians have average yearly earnings of almost $38,000. This is about $1,500 below nationwide expectations for the profession. But keep two things in mind. First, new technicians will probably not come near the statewide income average when they start their careers. Just as importantly, once you gain enough experience, your income may be higher than that average.

The Future Job Market

Sterile processors and other medical equipment preparers are in constant demand across the U.S. This fact is reflected in the profession’s future job market outlook. If you start working as a sterile processing technician anytime soon, you will likely find your presented with ample opportunities to work and make beneficial career advances.