How to Work as a Sterile Processing Technician in Wisconsin

A great option for a healthcare career that does not require a degree is sterile processing. Techs working in this job are responsible for cleaning and sterilizing equipment for medical centers, hospitals, and dental offices. The role these techs play is essential. They keep patients safe by maintaining sterile equipment used by nurses and doctors.

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In Wisconsin, jobs for sterile processing technicians are on the rise. With just a few months of post-secondary education or training on the job, you could be working in this important industry.

Requirements for Sterile Processing Techs in Wisconsin

Wisconsin state government has not set any requirements for working as a sterile processing technician. A typical path to a job includes graduating from high school or earning a GED and enrolling in and completing a post-secondary certificate or diploma program.

Some employers will hire you without that college program and train you as you begin working. There are benefits to earning a certificate, though. It prepares you to work immediately and makes it easier to land a job. A good program will also prepare you to pass an exam for national certification.

Wisconsin College Programs for Sterile Processing

Wisconsin has several options for earning a post-secondary diploma in sterile processing. The Wisconsin Technical Colleges system offers a standardized program with 10 credit hours of courses that can be completed in one semester. You’ll learn about infection control, decontamination of instruments, sterilization techniques, and inventory control and distribution, and be ready to pass a certification exam. Choose from several locations:

Blackhawk Technical College, Janesville

Program Overview

  • Degree Type: Technical Diploma
  • Credit Hours: 8 Credits
  • Location: Central Campus (Janesville)

Program Description

  • Training Focus: The program trains individuals to clean, sterilize, and assemble surgical instruments, equipment, and supplies for use in operating rooms and other medical and surgical facilities.
  • Course Content: Instruction includes sterilization, infection control, decontamination, surgical instrumentation processing, distribution, and record-keeping.

Learning Outcomes

  • Shared Courses with Surgical Technology: The CST program shares the Medical Terminology course with the Surgical Technology program, providing students exposure to the Surgical Technician job role.
  • Clinical Sites: Many of the clinical sites are shared with the Surgical Technology program, offering a comprehensive learning experience.


  • Certification Exam: Upon successful completion, students are qualified to sit for the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA) Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) certification exam.

Career Opportunities

  • Job Roles: Graduates can pursue careers as Central Service Technicians, Sterile Processing Technicians, and Central Processing/Reprocessing Technicians.

Career Pathway

  • Progression: The program offers a pathway from work experience to a technical diploma, associate degree, and college transfer opportunities.
  • Credit for Prior Learning: Previous education and work experience may qualify for credit, saving time and money.

Flexible Learning Options

  • Class Formats: The program offers a variety of flexible learning options, including online and FlexLab formats, to accommodate students’ schedules.

Chippewa Valley Technical College, Eau Claire

Program Overview

  • Degree Type: Technical Diploma
  • Credit Hours: 6 Credits
  • Program Length: Less than one year
  • Delivery Method: Face-to-Face
  • Program Location: Eau Claire
  • Start Months: January (Next Start Date: January 22, 2024)

Program Description

  • Training Focus: The program trains individuals in the principles of standard precautions, asepsis, disinfection, and sterilization procedures.
  • Key Responsibilities: As a Central Service Technician, students will learn to maintain an uninterrupted supply of instrumentation and supplies used in patient care, support patient care services, clean, sterilize, and process patient products, and maintain records associated with supply orders, charges, and inventory.
  • Clinical Experience: The program includes classroom instruction and clinical experience in a local hospital.

Career Opportunities

  • Job Roles: Graduates can pursue careers as Central Service Technicians, Central Sterilization Technicians, Sterile Core Technicians, Sterile Processing Technicians, and Surgical Care Technicians.
  • Employers: Graduates have been employed by organizations such as Marshfield Dental Center, Mayo Clinic Health System, Oakwood Hills Family Dental, and others.

Program Courses

  • Sample Courses: The program includes courses like Digital Literacy Healthcare, Fundamentals of Central Service Technician, Central Service Technician Clinical, and others.
  • Course List: A full course list is available for prospective students.

Additional Program Information

  • Admission Requirements: Specific admission requirements are outlined for prospective students.
  • Estimated Program Cost: The estimated total cost is $1,205, including tuition and books.
  • Bloodborne Pathogens: Students are made aware of the risks associated with bloodborne pathogens and are trained in compliance with local, state, and federal infection control policies.

Transfer Credits to Other Institutions

  • Transfer Options: CVTC has agreements in place with several institutions for easy transfer of credits.

Additional Support

  • Credit for Prior Learning: Students with previous educational or work experience in the field may be eligible to receive credit.
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.

How to Get Certified as a Sterile Processing Technician

You do not have to be certified to work in this industry, but there are several reasons to get this credential:

  • Certification helps standardize the industry
  • It also helps maintain high-quality
  • Employers prefer to hire certified techs
  • With certification, you may be able to earn a higher salary

The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management offers five types of certification: introductory, entry-level certification, secondary certification for instrumentation, endoscope reprocessing certification, central service management certification and certification for central service vendors.

Job Growth Outlook and Salary Expectations

Sterile processing technicians in Wisconsin now earn an average annual salary of $40,550, which is slightly below the national average. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022), the average annual salary for these technicians across the United States is $41,480. In Wisconsin, the lower 10% of earners in this field make around $34,460, while the top 10% earn as much as $52,060. Nationally, the salary range is broader, with the lowest 10% earning $31,570 and the highest 10% making up to $62,960.

National vs. Wisconsin Salaries

Salaries and Percentiles by Region in Wisconsin

United States Wisconsin
Average Salary $41,480 $40,550
Lowest 10% (Annual) $31,570 $34,460
Region Lowest 10% Median Highest 10%
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI $36,130 $44,150 $58,690
Duluth, MN-WI $35,150 $44,570 $51,640
Eau Claire, WI $34,430 $37,460 $57,340
Green Bay, WI $35,580 $39,840 $45,480
Madison, WI $37,810 $46,990 $58,690
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI $34,690 $40,980 $50,100
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI $36,170 $48,970 $53,780
South Central Wisconsin nonmetropolitan area $35,320 $40,290 $52,850

Medical Equipment Preparers Employment Trends in Wisconsin

The employment outlook for Sterile Processing Technicians, also known as Medical Equipment Preparers, in Wisconsin shows steady growth. As of 2020, there were 1,050 employees in this occupation in the state. This number is projected to increase to 1,100 by 2030, indicating a growth rate of 5%. This growth is in line with the national average, which is also projected at 5% from 2022 to 2032, with an increase from 66,700 employees to 70,300 employees. Additionally, Wisconsin is expected to have 140 annual job openings in this field from 2020 to 2030, compared to 9,500 annual openings nationwide from 2022 to 2032.

Employment Trends for Medical Equipment Preparers

Category Wisconsin (2020-2030) United States (2022-2032)
Employment (Start of Period) 1,050 employees (2020) 66,700 employees (2022)
Projected Employment (End of Period) 1,100 employees (2030) 70,300 employees (2032)
Projected Growth 5% 5%
Projected Annual Job Openings 140 9,500

Sources of Data:

  • For Wisconsin-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 Wisconsin

Working as a Sterile Processing Technician in Wisconsin offers a stable and growing career opportunity in the healthcare sector. With the state’s employment in this field projected to increase by 5% from 2020 to 2030, technicians can expect a steady demand for their essential skills. These professionals play a crucial role in maintaining the cleanliness and functionality of medical equipment, ensuring patient safety and supporting the smooth operation of healthcare facilities. The job market in Wisconsin, mirroring the national trend, provides a promising outlook for those entering this field, with an expected 140 annual job openings over the next decade. This growth, coupled with the critical nature of the work, makes being a Sterile Processing Technician in Wisconsin both a secure and rewarding career choice.

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