How to Become a Sterile Processing Tech

If you’re looking for a new career in the medical field, you may be wondering how to become a sterile processing tech. This job is critical to the operation of any hospital or medical facility, and it’s a great way to get started in the medical field. Here’s everything you need to know about becoming a sterile processing tech.

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Sterile processing technicians, also called SPD techs, are responsible for the decontamination, sterilization, assembly and distribution of surgical instruments and other medical equipment. They work in sterile processing departments in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

SPD techs must have excellent attention to detail and be able to follow instructions carefully. They must also be able to work well under pressure and meet deadlines. SPD techs typically need to complete on-the-job training before they can become certified Sterile Processing Technicians. Some facilities may require certification before hiring.

The Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) credential is the most common certification for sterile processing technicians. To qualify for the CRCST exam, sterile processing technicians must have at least one year of full-time work experience or a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training in an accredited program. Techs can also qualify if they have a minimum of 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours from an accredited college or university with at least one course in sterile processing or medical equipment sterilization technology, along with either full-time work experience or on-the-job training. Once they have met the experience requirements, sterile processing technicians can take the CRCST exam.

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What is Sterile Processing?

Sterile processing is a term used for the decontamination, cleaning, and sterilization of surgical instruments and other medical devices. These items are then stored in a sterile environment until they are needed for use.

The sterile processing department (SPD) is where these instruments and devices are cleaned and prepared for sterilization. SPD technicians work under the supervision of a registered nurse or another medical professional.

The SPD technician’s job is to make sure that all instruments and devices are properly cleaned and sterilized before they are used on patients. They also have to maintain sterility within the SPD itself. This means keeping the area clean and free of contaminants.

SPD technicians must be able to work quickly and efficiently while paying close attention to detail. They must also be able to follow instructions accurately.

The Duties of a Sterile Processing Tech

A Sterile Processing Tech is responsible for ensuring that all medical instruments and equipment are properly sterilized. They work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.

The duties of a Sterile Processing Tech include decontaminating instruments, preparing them for sterilization, operating sterilization equipment, and testing sterilized instruments to ensure they are effective. They also keep sterile processing areas clean and organized.

Most Sterile Processing Techs have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some then complete a certification program, which typically takes about a year to complete. Certifications are not required in all states but may be preferred by employers.

The Education and Training Required to Become a Sterile Processing Tech

In order to become a sterile processing technician, you will need to complete a accredited sterile processing tech program. These programs are typically offered at community colleges and technical schools. Many hospitals also offer on-the-job training programs for those who are interested in becoming a sterile processing tech.

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Once you have completed a sterile processing tech program, you will then need to pass the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution’s (CBSPD) certification exam. Once you have passed the exam, you will be a certified sterile processing technician (CSPT).


To work as a sterile processing tech, you will need to complete a certification program. The length of the program will vary depending on the type of certification you choose to pursue. Some certification programs can be completed in as little as six months, while others may take up to two years.

Once you have completed a certification program, you will need to pass an exam in order to earn your certification. The exam will test your knowledge of sterilization techniques and procedures. Once you have passed the exam, you will be officially certified as a sterile processing tech.

After you have earned your certification, you will need to keep your skills up-to-date by completing continuing education courses. These courses will help you stay current on the latest sterilization techniques and procedures.

Job Outlook

Employment of sterile processing technicians is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. The aging Baby Boomer population is expected to have an increasingly chronic disease, which will require more medical procedures and surgeries that will need to be done with sterile instruments.

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