How to Become a Certified Sterile Processing Tech

So, you want to become a certified sterile processing tech? Great! The first step is to understand the certification process. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to become a certified sterile processing tech.

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Introduction

Sterile processing technicians, also called surgical technologists or operating room technicians, work in hospitals and other medical settings to clean, sterilize and maintain surgical equipment. These professionals must be detail-oriented and able to work well under pressure. They typically complete on-the-job training and may need to become certified to work in some states.

What is a Certified Sterile Processing Tech?

A Certified Sterile Processing Tech is an individual who has completed a training program and has been certified by the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM). The certification indicates that the individual has the knowledge and skills necessary to work in a sterile processing department in a healthcare setting.

Sterile processing is a field within healthcare that deals with the cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization of medical instruments. It is a critical part of ensuring that patients receive safe and sterile medical care.

Certified Sterile Processing Techs are responsible for operating sterilization equipment, such as autoclaves, and responsible for ensuring that instruments are properly cleaned and disinfected. They must be able to identify instruments that require special cleaning or sterilization procedures. They may also be responsible for maintaining records of instrument sterilization.

To become certified, an individual must complete a training program and pass an exam administered by IAHCSMM. Certification must be renewed every four years by completing continuing education credits or retaking the exam.

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The Duties of a Certified Sterile Processing Tech

The duties of a certified sterile processing tech include decontaminating, sterilizing and preparing medical instruments and equipment for surgery. They work in hospitals and other medical facilities and must follow strict guidelines to ensure that all instruments are properly sterilized. In some cases, they may also be responsible for transporting instruments to and from the operating room.

certification is not required in all states, but most employers prefer to hire certified techs. Certification can be obtained through various organizations, such as the National Institute for Marketing of Professional Services or the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management .

Certified sterile processing techs must complete an accredited training program and pass a written exam. Some programs may also require a practicum or an internship. Once certified, techs must renew their certification every few years by completing continuing education credits.

The Education and Training Required to Become a Certified Sterile Processing Tech

In order to become a certified sterile processing tech, you will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. You will also need to complete an accredited sterile processing program, which takes about one year to complete. After you have completed your education and training, you will need to take and pass the Certified Sterile Processing Technician Exam in order to receive your certification.

The Certification Exam for Certified Sterile Processing Techs

The certification exam for certified sterile processing techs is administered by the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD). The exam is a multiple-choice, computer-based test that covers the topics of decontamination, sterilization, and aseptic techniques.

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To be eligible to take the certification exam, you must have graduated from an accredited sterile processing program or have at least one year of full-time work experience in sterile processing. You must also submit an application to the CBSPD along with a non-refundable fee. Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you will be sent a registration form for the exam.

The certification exam is offered year-round at testing centers across the United States. You can find a testing center near you by visiting the CBSPD website. The exam typically takes two to three hours to complete, and you will receive your score immediately upon finishing the test. A passing score on the certification exam is required in order to become a certified sterile processing tech.

Renewing Your Certification as a Sterile Processing Tech

The certification process for sterile processing techs is overseen by the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM). IAHCSMM offers the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) credential. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent, complete an accredited sterile processing program, and pass a written examination. Once certified, CRCSTs must renew their certification every four years by completing continuing education credits and passing a recertification exam.

The Salary of a Certified Sterile Processing Tech

As a certified sterile processing tech, your primary responsibilities will be to decontaminate, assemble, and sterilize instruments used in surgeries and other medical procedures. You will work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, and dental offices. In most cases, you will report to a supervisor or manager.

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The median annual salary for sterile processing techs was $37,040 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,090, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $56,990.

Conclusion

With the alarming rise in drug-resistant infections, it’s more important than ever to have certified sterile processing technicians in hospitals and surgery centers. These critical members of the healthcare team are responsible for cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing medical instruments and equipment. If you’re interested in becoming a certified sterile processing technician, here’s what you need to know.

There are several ways to become certified. The most common way is to complete a certification program offered by an accredited institution, such as a community college or vocational school. Many of these programs can be completed in as little as nine months.

You can also become certified through on-the-job training or by completing a distance learning program. However, these routes may take longer to complete and may not be recognized by all employers.

Once you’ve completed a certification program, you’ll need to pass an exam administered by the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD). To maintain your certification, you’ll need to earn continuing education credits and renew your certification every five years.

Becoming a certified sterile processing technician is a great way to start or advance your career in healthcare. With the right training and certification, you’ll be well on your way to making a difference in the lives of patients everywhere.

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