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.
Salaries for Sterile Processing Technicians in West Virginia
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), sterile processing technicians made an average annual salary of $34,340 in 2019. This amount comes in about $5,000 short of the nationwide average wage for this field in the same year. However, this discrepancy does not necessarily reflect a lower standard of living, as it is common to find significant variability in pay rates for different regions with different costs of living.
Career Growth and Opportunity in West Virginia
Sterile processing technician jobs are on the rise in West Virginia. In fact, according to Projections Central, jobs in the profession are expected to grow by 11.6 percent between 2018 and 2028. With organizations like Workforce West Virginia, American Traveler, Aureus Medical Group, Thomas Health System, WVU Medicine and St. Mary’s Medical Center hiring sterile processing technicians, there appears to be a wealth of opportunity in West Virginia for those in the profession.