What Are the Different Types of Sterile Processing Jobs?

C.B. Fox

Most types of sterile processing jobs are found in medical settings, such as hospitals and medical laboratories. The majority of these jobs are held by sterile processing technicians, who are charged with ensuring that medical equipment has been properly sterilized and is ready for use by a medical staff. It is also possible to find these technicians in non-medical biological or chemical laboratories. Aside from technicians, there are also other types of sterile processing jobs, including supervisory positions and teaching positions.

A sterile syringe and vial of medication.
A sterile syringe and vial of medication.

In a medical facility, the use of sterile instruments and equipment is essential in order to protect the health of patients. Sterile processing technicians are employed in order to clean equipment so that there is no risk of contamination. These types of sterile processing jobs are common and can be found in health clinics, hospitals, and laboratories, among other institutions that require the use of sterile equipment. The technicians who sterilize medical equipment hold the majority of sterile processing jobs.

Many medical laboratories require sterile techniques.
Many medical laboratories require sterile techniques.

After a few years of experience and a moderate amount of additional education, sterile processing technicians can take a test in order to move up into a supervisory positions. These types of sterile processing jobs are required in order to monitor the work of technicians and provide training and guidance to people new to the field. Managers and supervisors mainly work in large laboratories or hospitals that employ a number of technicians.

Colleges and universities are home to other types of sterile processing jobs. People employed in these settings work in education, though they have all the expertise of technicians who work in the field. Sterile processors instruct students in the proper practices for sterilizing equipment. Different pieces of equipment require different sterilization techniques, and these teachers must know a great deal about the different medical instruments used in order to successfully teach their students.

Other sterile processing jobs can be found in sterile laboratories. These labs may be associated with hospitals, such as those that examine specimens of patients' blood and urine or that perform biopsies. They make also be places of research in other biological disciplines, such as in the study of bacteria and viruses. In any of these cases, the laboratory must reuse certain items that must be sterilized between uses. As in medical settings, sterile processing jobs in laboratories may include both technical and supervisory positions.

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