Sterile Processing Technicians
With current surgical technologists in Western Massachusetts retiring, an increase in outpatient surgery, and a new regional cardiac care center, demand for surgical technologists is increasing. Along with this, local schools and employers are creating opportunities for workers to gain entry-level experience as a sterile processing technician.
Surgical technologists work as part of a surgical team in the operating room, assisting surgeons, registered nurses, and other surgical personnel. Surgical technologists also interact with patients, preparing them for surgery or assisting them after surgery.
- Keep patients safe by ensuring that the operating room is safe and sterile, that equipment works properly, and that procedures are followed
- Care for patients before and during the procedure by washing, shaving, and disinfecting incision sites, transporting patients to the operating room, and monitoring vital signs
- Make sure the operating room runs smoothly by cleaning the room, restocking supplies and inspecting and maintaining equipment
Sterile processing technicians serve as the behind-the-scenes backbone of the operating room, sterilizing surgical equipment and assembling surgical tools and supplies. This is helpful experience to prepare to become a surgical technician, or for clinical lab or medical office careers. Sterile processing technicians do not interact with patients. They are also known as medical equipment preparers and experience as a sterile processing tech may also lead to a career in a medical equipment company.
Employment opportunities for surgical technologists and sterile processing technicians can be found in:
- Surgical centers
- Primary care offices, such as doctors and dentists
- Medical equipment companies
Education and training requirements
A certificate training program or two-year associate’s degree is required to become a surgical technologist.
Sterile processing technician positions require a high school diploma or GED and on-the-job training, but you can also take a course at a local community college to help prepare you for this work, or can enroll in a certificate program.
Surgical technologists and sterile processing technicians are expected to have:
- Up-to-date knowledge of types of surgical tools and equipment
- Understanding of safety procedures and sterilization techniques
- Strong attention to detail and accuracy
- The ability to multitask and to work as part of a team
Surge Tech Fast Facts
- Workers in Pioneer Valley: 180
- Education Requirements: Associates Degree
- Entry Level Wage: $18/hour
- Experienced Wage: $28/hour
- Learn more on VCN.org
Sterile Processing Fast Facts
- Education Requirements: High school degree
- Entry Level Wage: not available