How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Virginia
Working as a sterile processing technician means being an integral part of the healthcare system. Without sterile processing technicians to clean, sterilize and decontaminate medical equipment and supplies, medical and surgical procedures would not be possible. In fact, sterile processing technicians are significant players in preventing the spread of infectious diseases within medical facilities.
Working as a sterile processing technician requires a great deal of knowledge about the equipment used in various procedures and the techniques needed for cleaning. Technicians will need to have an eye for detail, as they will often be involved in inspecting equipment and packaging for cleanliness and defects. Additionally, the sterile processing department is usually responsible for tracking and distributing the equipment they manage. As such, clerical skills are helpful to anyone entering the field.
Most sterile processing technicians work in hospitals, with equipment that is vital to life-saving and urgent procedures. Those in the field should expect to work off-hours, weekends and holidays, either as actual paid shifts or on-call. Although the work is rewarding, the hours can be long, with a strong potential for mandatory overtime.
Statewide Licensing for Sterile Processing Technicians in Virginia
There is no statewide oversight for sterile processing technicians in Virginia, nor are technicians required to obtain a license to practice. However, the work itself is highly regulated by nature, as specific procedures must be followed at all times. In addition, healthcare organizations need to seek accreditation and, as such, are frequently monitored.
Finding Sterile Processing Technician Training in Virginia
The only prerequisite for training as a sterile processing technician is a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Training is often performed on the job, especially for those already employed in a hospital or sterile processing contracting organization. However, for those looking to move directly into the career, some training programs are available in Virginia. These include:
- Reynolds Community College in Richmond, VA, offers Central Sterile Processing courses. Students can enroll in four different classes, which may include hands-on training in a clinical setting or classroom instruction on sterilization methods. Upon completion, students will be eligible to test for credentialing.
- Fortis in Richmond, VA, offers Sterile Processing Technician training. Students in the program will train for entry-level positions in surgery centers, dentists’ offices, hospitals and diagnostic centers.
Sterile Processing Technician Credentialing
Numerous organizations offer certifications for sterile processing technicians, both in core duties and specialty processes. While there is no blanket requirement for specific accreditations, some organizations may require technicians to achieve them. Therefore it is essential to research the need for credentialing where you wish to find employment. Regardless of requirements, credentialing is a great way to increase your employability, gain promotions and increase your earnings.
Job Growth Outlook and Salary Expectations
In Virginia, Sterile Processing Technicians, also known as Medical Equipment Preparers, earn an average annual income of $39,410, which is slightly below the national average of $41,480 for this profession. The salary range in Virginia spans from $32,200 at the lower end (10th percentile) to $51,790 at the higher end (90th percentile). Entry-level technicians in Virginia may start with wages toward the lower end of this scale, but there is potential for increased earnings with experience and skill development.
National vs. Virginia Salaries for Sterile Processing Technicians
Salaries by Region in Virginia
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC||$31,770||$34,070||$36,960||$40,200||$46,520|
Medical Equipment Preparers Employment Trends in
The employment trends for Medical Equipment Preparers, including Sterile Processing Technicians, in Virginia show a positive outlook. In 2020, there were 1,240 employees in this field in Virginia. This number is projected to increase to 1,330 employees by 2030, indicating a growth rate of 7%. This growth is slightly higher than the national average growth rate of 5% for the same period. Additionally, Virginia is expected to have around 170 projected annual job openings from 2020 to 2030, which includes openings due to both growth and replacement. This data suggests a steady demand for professionals in this field within the state.
Employment trends in Virginia:
|Statistic||2020||2030 (Projected)||Growth (2020-2030)||Annual Openings (2020-2030)|
|Employment in Virginia||1,240 employees||1,330 employees||7%||170 openings|
|National Employment||66,700 employees||70,300 employees||5%||9,500 openings|
Sources of Data:
- For Virginia-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 Virginia
Working as a Sterile Processing Technician in Virginia offers a stable and growing career opportunity within the healthcare sector. With the state’s employment in this field projected to grow by 7% from 2020 to 2030, slightly above the national average, there is a clear indication of increasing demand for these professionals. Sterile Processing Technicians in Virginia play a critical role in ensuring the cleanliness and readiness of medical equipment, which is vital for patient safety and the effective functioning of healthcare facilities. The projected annual job openings of 170 positions from 2020 to 2030 further highlight the opportunities for both new entrants and experienced technicians in this field, promising a dynamic and essential career path in the state’s healthcare industry.