Here is the primary general distinction:
- Sterile Processing Technicians are responsible for sterilizing equipment needed for medical procedures. Their duties are primarily outside of the operating room; however, their job function is critical to the operating room.
- Surgical Technologists are responsible for aseptic technique, understanding surgical procedures and instruments, maintaining the sterile field, passing instruments during the sequence of the procedure, as well as many other duties. They function as the masters of aseptic technique in the operating room.
Job titles, duties and responsibilities can vary between different healthcare institutions. Different states might have their own unique restrictions for who is qualified to handle what responsibilities. Some states require that the surgical technologist have a current certification for employment. Some surgical technologists handle the sterilization of equipment as well.
Earning your associate degree and becoming a certified surgical technologist is your ticket to becoming an indispensable member of a surgical team, handle many different types of tasks and become highly valuable to employers.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.