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How Do I Become a Sterilization Technician?

By T. Davis
Updated Feb 11, 2024
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A sterilization technician is a person who works in a hospital or medical facility sterilizing and cleaning medical instruments used by physicians and nurses. In addition, he or she may also be responsible for maintain the medical equipment and supplies as needed. To become a sterilization technician, you will need to obtain a high school diploma or its equivalent, as well as complete a training program and any additional certification required by your area. Most employers will also require you to complete training specific to their job site as well.

Your first step to become a sterilization technician is to obtain a high school diploma or a similar certification. Most community colleges and universities often require their students to have a high school education before they are able to enroll. Since sterilization technicians work with other medical employees and write reports regarding the equipment, you should try to take courses in language and communication. Other courses that may be helpful are chemistry and biology.

After you complete high school, you will need to enroll into a sterilization technician or sterile processing training program. These types of programs are normally offered at local community colleges or vocational schools. The length of the program to become a sterilization technician may vary based on your college program requirements. Students in these programs take courses in patient care, sterilization processing, and anatomy to help to prepare them for future employment. Some programs also offer their students an internship to gain hands-on experience in a medical setting.

Once you get a job as a sterilization technician, you will most likely receive on-the-job training since most medical facilities have their own sterile procedures to follow. Based on your position, your duties may involve keeping records of all medical supplies, preparing medical equipment for sterilization, and helping with patient care if needed. Other duties may be stocking medical supply carts and keeping inventory of the medical equipment.

Although it is not required, you may be able to obtain a certification in sterile processing after you become a sterilization technician. Most certifications will require you to pass at least one exam to be certified. The requirements in order to be eligible for the certification may vary based on the jurisdiction in which you reside.

Most sterilization technicians work in a medical setting such as a hospital or an outpatient surgical facility. Since hospitals are open on a continuous basis, you may be required to work on different shifts based on the need of your employer. Many sterilization technicians work full-time hours but some part-time positions may also be available.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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