Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician in West Virginia
If you are interested in a hospital-based career with minimal patient contact and a short course of training, working as a sterile processing technician might be a good fit for you. Sterile processing technicians work in the background of the hospital, decontaminating, cleaning and sterilizing surgical and medical equipment.
These technicians are vital to infection prevention and control in the hospital setting. In addition to providing clean and sterilized equipment, sterile processing techs are involved in inventory control, equipment delivery and bookkeeping. The job requires an eye for detail, clerical skills and a great deal of physical stamina.
Sterile Processing Technician Licensing in West Virginia
Most states do not require licensing for sterile processing technicians, and West Virginia is no exception. However, the profession does have significant oversight from various sources, usually including an internal review process. In addition, sterile processing departments are often overseen by a licensed professional, typically a registered nurse.
Learning Opportunities for Sterile Processing Technicians in West Virginia
Prior to working as a sterile processing technician, you will need to learn about surgical equipment and sterilization procedures. Although many sterile processing technicians train on the job, these opportunities are often offered to those who already work in a central processing department or hospital. For those who wish to enter the field directly, attending a reputable training course is the best way to learn the trade.
A few of the potential programs in West Virginia include:
- Martinsburg College in Martinsburg, WV, offers a Surgical Instrument Processing Certificate program. Students will learn the basics of anatomy and physiology, customer service, infection prevention and control, cleaning and sterilization, disinfection, inventory management and quality assurance.
- Carver Career and Technical Education Center in Charleston offers a Surgical Technology course. In addition to sterile processing, surgical technologists assist in operating room procedures. Students will learn aseptic technique, positioning, prepping, instrumentation, sterilization and disinfection.
- Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College in Mount Gay offers a Central Sterile Technician Certificate. Students will be prepared for a national accreditation examination through classroom experience and 400 clinical hours.
- James Rumsey Technical Institute in Martinsburg, WV, offers a Surgical Technology program. This 11-month certificate program will prepare students to work in an operating room, including training in equipment decontamination and cleaning.
Sterile Processing Credentials
Although there is no universal requirement for sterile processing technicians to acquire credentialing, some organizations do have a preference. As there are many organizations through which you can become accredited, some research is necessary to decide on the best certification for your career goals. It should be noted that obtaining certification, regardless of requirements, is a great way to accelerate your career and qualify for promotions.
Job Growth Outlook and Salary Expectations
Sterile processing technicians in West Virginia now earn an average annual salary of $36,390, which is lower than 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 West Virginia, the lower 10% of earners in this field make around $27,560, while the top 10% earn as much as $45,970. Nationally, the salary range is broader, with the lowest 10% earning $31,570 and the highest 10% making up to $62,960.
National vs. West Virginia Salaries:
|United States||West Virginia|
|Lowest 10% (Annual)||$31,570||$27,560|
|Highest 10% (Annual)||$62,960||$45,970|
Salaries and Percentiles by Region in West Virginia:
|Region||Lowest 10%||Median||Highest 10%|
|Northern West Virginia nonmetropolitan area||$21,840||$29,700||$44,550|
Medical Equipment Preparers Employment Trends in West Virginia
The employment outlook for Sterile Processing Technicians, also known as Medical Equipment Preparers, in West Virginia is showing positive growth. In 2020, the state employed 490 individuals in this occupation. This number is projected to rise to 550 by 2030, indicating a growth rate of 12%, which is notably higher than the national average growth rate of 5% for this occupation from 2022 to 2032. The United States is expected to see an increase from 66,700 employees in 2022 to 70,300 in 2032. Additionally, West Virginia is projected to have 70 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||West Virginia (2020-2030)||United States (2022-2032)|
|Employment (Start of Period)||490 employees (2020)||66,700 employees (2022)|
|Projected Employment (End of Period)||550 employees (2030)||70,300 employees (2032)|
|Projected Annual Job Openings||70||9,500|
Sources of Data:
- For West 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 West Virginia
Working as a Sterile Processing Technician in West Virginia presents a promising career path with a notably positive employment outlook. The state is experiencing a higher-than-average growth rate in this field, with a projected 12% increase in employment from 2020 to 2030, compared to the national average of 5%. This growth suggests a robust demand for skilled technicians responsible for sterilizing and preparing medical equipment, a critical role in healthcare settings. With an expected 70 annual job openings over the next decade, opportunities for employment and career advancement in West Virginia are ample. This profession in West Virginia not only offers job security but also plays a vital role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of healthcare services.