Sterile Processing Technician Jobs

Sterile processing technicians, also called sterile processing techs, play an important role in healthcare. Sterile processing tech jobs will almost always be in a hospital or surgical center and primarily involve keeping surgical equipment clean and ready. There is a growing need for people to fill this important role, and hospitals will even post sterile processing technician travel jobs to make sure that there are no lapses in staffing these positions.

Keeping equipment clean may not sound particularly difficult. The sterile processing technician job description, however, doesn’t just involve keeping equipment clean but also making it completely sterile, free from any kind of bacteria at all. This role is vital to the safety of all patients who are undergoing any kind of surgical procedure.

What is a Sterile Processing Technician?

A sterile processing tech is responsible for making sure that surgical equipment is clean and available. This obviously involves sterilizing equipment but also involves making sure that surgical equipment is working and available when needed.

Sterile processing technicians will work in tandem with clinical staff, taking in used surgical equipment, sterilizing it, testing its function, and ensuring that the equipment is available for the next surgical case. This job requires advanced training, as it involves handling potentially dangerous equipment contaminated with patients’ body fluids. Failing to sterilize equipment correctly can cause deadly infections in surgical patients, making the role of a sterile processing technician vitally important.

Sterile Processing Technician Job Description

Sterile processing technicians will normally work autonomously in fast-paced environments. They must be very skilled and thorough at what they do, as people’s lives will depend on it. The core elements of the job of a sterile processing tech include cleaning and sterilizing medical equipment. This role includes having a thorough knowledge of infection control and safety practices and the knowledge needed to disassemble, reassemble and inspect a wide variety of surgical, medical, and laboratory equipment.

Most sterile processing technician jobs will highly prefer or require, certification as a sterile processing tech. These positions will normally be full-time, 40 hours a week positions during normal business hours. Some facilities that provide 24/7 care will require some or all of their sterile processing technicians to work evening shifts, night shifts, weekends, and holidays. These facilities are more likely to offer opportunities for overtime.

Sterile Processing Technician Duities

While the duties of a sterile processing technician center around cleaning and sterilizing medical equipment, they have a much wider scope. Sterile processing technician duties and responsibilities will include:

  • Cleaning and sterilizing surgical equipment as well as other medical equipment.
  • Making sure that all equipment is undamaged and working correctly.
  • Documenting each piece of equipment that was sterilized.
  • Maintaining inventory of what equipment is available and if new equipment is needed.
  • Packing sterilized equipment correctly to ensure that it stays sterile.
  • Delivering equipment to different departments and ensuring that it is accessible when needed.

The exact role of sterile processing techs may vary based on their employer’s policies and procedures as well as their specific job description. A sterile processing tech should not be confused with a surgical technician, who assists surgeons during surgical procedures.

Sterile Processing Technician Requirements

Sterile processing technicians have a job that is complex enough to require advanced training. While there are some states where it may be possible to get on-the-job training, this is more difficult. Most people who work in this role will complete a sterile processing technician certificate program, gaining a diploma that shows they have completed the necessary education.

Beyond a diploma, many people will get a sterile processing technician certification. This normally involves taking an additional test after completing a sterile processing technician school. The more prepared one is educationally for a role as a sterile processing tech, the better their chances will be of getting a job in that field.

Final Thoughts

Sterile processing technician job descriptions go far beyond just cleaning medical equipment. These healthcare professionals have advanced knowledge on how to correctly sterilize equipment, maintain its sterility after it has been processed, and package it so that it remains clean until it is needed. They also know how to protect themselves and others from biohazardous materials and play a very important role in ensuring that equipment inventory levels are maintained and that the equipment is functioning and assembled correctly.

Sunbelt is committed to helping those pursuing a career in healthcare to realize their full potential and advance their careers. We can help you to find the best sterile processing technician jobs, whether they are travel jobs or jobs in a particular facility. Please apply to one of our sterile processing tech jobs or call us to learn more about how we can help you advance your healthcare career!

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