Estimating earning potential for jobs in sterile processing
The field of sterile processing offers an excellent quick path into working in healthcare, while providing great practical experience in a crucial department in every hospital. You’ll gain valuable experience you can use to advance within a Sterile Processing/Central Sterile Services Department (SPT/CSSD) or transition into new career opportunities.
Discover how much medical equipment preparers make on average across the United States and get a better idea of what you can expect for pay as a sterile processing tech.
Average salary figures, categorized by U.S. state
According to 2020 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical equipment preparers earn an average annual salary of $41,070 per year ($19.75 per hour) nationwide.*
The top 10% in this category can potentially earn a median salary above $59,000 per year ($28.54 per hour). How much SPTs can make can vary depending on the state in which you work:
|State||Per hour||Per year|
|District of Columbia||$24.64||$51,260|
Frequently Asked Questions
Sterile processing represents both a good job option and potential springboard to a multitude of career possibilities. If you’re looking to get started fast in a new healthcare career path, sterile processing might be perfect for you.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical equipment preparers is expected to grow 6% from 2019-2029, faster than the average across all U.S. occupations.*
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.
Sterile processing techs ensure medical instruments are properly inspected, cleaned, and sterilized for use across a hospital, clinic, physician’s office or other healthcare institution.
Technicians typically work in a Sterile Processing Department (SPD) in a hospital, sometimes called a Central Sterile Services Department (CSSD) or Central Supply Department (CSD). Sterile processing is a fast-paced, technical and detail-oriented job requiring high focus and clear collaboration with other medical staff.
Techs must follow strict processes for different types of equipment, using computers to track progress and provide verification that all instruments are accounted for and properly serviced.
Sterile processing techs do not work directly with patients, but their work is imperative to ensure every patient achieves positive health outcomes.
This can be a great starting point for more introverted personality types looking to quickly begin a new career path, become comfortable in a hospital environment, build valuable skills, and truly help those in need.
In order to qualify for the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) certification examination, you’ll need to first complete 400 hours of professional experience. View the IAHCSMM website to find more details about eligibility for the exam.
The best thing you can do to prepare for the exam is get educated. Our program is designed to help you learn the knowledge and skills you need to confidently pass the CRCST exam.
Working as a traveling sterile processing can be a great opportunity to see new places, experience different cultures and meet new people—all while building your skills in a rewarding career.
Every job posting will come with their own unique requirements for traveling sterile processing technicians. Be ready with an updated resume and immunization and health records. Getting certified is very important; these positions can be competitive and you’ll need every advantage you can get in the application process.
You may choose to sign up with a healthcare staffing agency to help you find the types of travel jobs you’re looking for.
Becoming a sterile processing technician begins by getting educated!
While formal education isn’t always required to earn your first entry-level job as a sterile processing technician, you will position yourself to flourish in the role—and open doors to future career possibilities—by building your knowledge and skills with the support of experienced faculty and staff dedicated to your success.