If you have ever thought about a career in the healthcare field but felt squeamish about patient interactions, a career as a sterile processing technician may be an ideal choice for you. If you not with this particular aspect of healthcare, sterile processing technicians are the men and women who are responsible for maintaining and ensuring the functionality of instruments, not to mention equipment, throughout the healthcare industry. Of course, to work in this field, you will have to become certified. In this article, we will go over the process of taking an SPD (sterile processing distribution) exam and earning a sterile processing certification. Also, we will go over some of the career opportunities available to those who have earned their certification.
Sterile processing technician training
A sterile processing technician is required to be familiar with the microbiology and infection management procedures that are an industry standard across hospitals, clinics, dental offices, and other facilities where patients are treated. As such, prospective technicians will have to take courses in the following areas prior to pursuing a career in the sterile processing field:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Surgical instrument identification
- Medical equipment identification
- Surgical terminology
- Microbiology and infection management
- Proper decontamination procedure
- Proper sterilization procedures
While these courses are challenging, they prepare students to not only succeed but also thrive in the workplace. Some of the day to day functions of a sterile processing technician include
- Working in a sterile processing unit
- Working collaboratively with other technicians
- Disinfecting and distributing sterile equipment in emergency rooms, intensive care units, and operating rooms
- Storing medical instrument
Why sterile processing technicians are critical part of healthcare
Regardless of the individual function of each sterile processing technician, you can be assured that they play a critical role in the healthcare field. So makes these technicians a necessity in the healthcare space? Well, they make the lives of patients and physicians easier through their meticulous handling, sanitizing, and managing of the instruments used in healthcare field every day.
How to become an spd technician.
An SPD technician is a field that provides infinite benefits and rewards. So what does the process of becoming a technician entail? Well, to begin your journey, you will have to first enroll in an SPD program. There are a variety of programs available for prospective technicians. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to do your due diligence in finding and enrolling in a program that is right for you.
During training, you will be expected to complete the coursework necessary to become an SPD technician. While we are on the topic of certification, students must also pass an SPD exam to round out their training. It should be noted that these exams are administered through the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management. While these exams are not easy, they ensure that students are capable of contributing to the healthcare community.
What happens after receiving a sterile processing certification?
After passing their SPD exam, there are an array of job opportunities as a sterile processing technician. In fact, labor statistics show the career field growing by as much as 14 percent by the year 2026. There are endless advancement opportunities as well. It is not uncommon for entry-level technicians to work their way up to becoming a supervisor. The median salary for a sterile processing supervisor is over $52,000 per year, according to glassdoor.com.
No two days are alike as a sterile processing technician
A career as a sterile technician could very well be an ideal choice for those who prefer variety in their workday. In fact, most technicians would agree that no two days are like when working in this field. For example, you may find yourself preparing medical instruments for an impending procedure one day, and the next day, you may be working on storing equipment that has already been prepped and sanitized. To add a little more variety to your work week, you may also find yourself inspecting instruments for damage and keeping track of inventory.
What hours can you expect to work?
As far as work hours are concerned, sterile processing technicians generally enjoy a great deal of flexibility as many jobs will allow for day and night shifts. However, it should be noted work hours are based on the healthcare facility. While weekend shifts may not be required in a dentist office, for example, they may be required for hospitals. That said, it would be a good idea to carefully consider the hours of operations for any potential employer to ensure they are compatible with your lifestyle and schedule.
In summation, a career as a sterile processing technician is one that is chock-full of benefits, including an attractive starting salary. In addition, you can take pride in knowing that you are making an impact on the lives of patients and healthcare practitioners. While it is not necessarily easy, the long journey toward becoming a technician is well worth it as it opens up job opportunities in the healthcare field that would have otherwise not been available. If you’re ready to take that first step toward broadening your career horizon, you may want to consider enrolling in sterile processing certification program today.