What does a Sterile Processing Technician do?

Learn all about Sterile Processing Technician duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Sterile Processing Technician.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 4 min read

A sterile processing technician is responsible for cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing surgical instruments and equipment. They may also be responsible for preparing surgical instruments and equipment for surgery, as well as transporting them to and from the operating room.

Sterile Processing Technician job duties include:

  • Decontaminates and sterilizes instruments and equipment according to established procedures
  • Inspects instruments and equipment for defects
  • Assembles instruments and equipment for specific procedures
  • Selects appropriate sterilization method for specific instruments and equipment
  • Operates sterilization equipment
  • Monitors sterilization equipment for proper functioning
  • Maintains records of sterilization procedures
  • Maintains inventory of sterile supplies
  • Performs quality control checks on sterilized instruments and equipment
  • Troubleshoots problems with sterilization equipment

Sterile Processing Technician Job Requirements

Most sterile processing technicians have a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may require postsecondary education, and most technicians complete a brief period of on-the-job training. Some states have certification programs for sterile processing technicians. Employers generally prefer to hire candidates who have completed a certification program. Certification programs typically last about 1 year and cover topics such as infection control, medical terminology, and safety procedures. Some sterile processing technicians become certified through the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) or the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM).

Sterile Processing Technician Skills

  • Aseptic technique
  • Sterilization methods (autoclave, gas, etc.)
  • Instrumentation
  • Packaging
  • Cleaning
  • Surgical instrumentation
  • Medical devices
  • Reprocessing
  • Quality control
  • Preventative maintenance
  • Troubleshooting

Related: Top Sterile Processing Technician Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Sterile Processing Technician

A Sterile Processing Technician (SPT) is a medical professional who sterilizes and prepares surgical instruments and equipment for use in operating rooms and other medical settings. SPTs work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. They are responsible for ensuring that all instruments and equipment are properly sterilized and ready for use.

Becoming an SPT requires completing a formal education program. There are many accredited programs available, both online and offline. Once you have completed an accredited program, you will need to pass a certification exam administered by the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD). After passing the exam, you will be a certified Sterile Processing Technician.

The best way to prepare for a career as an SPT is to complete an accredited education program and to study hard for the certification exam. With the proper training and certification, you will be prepared to enter this growing field and to make a difference in the lives of patients.

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