How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician

December 20, 2019


You may be feeling a lot of pressure about your future career, but one thing is certain: Choosing to become a sterile processing tech is an excellent decision. 

If you’re just starting out in allied healthcare – or already have some experience under your belt – the steps to become a sterile processing tech are typically the same. With our short guide, you’ll discover everything you need to start your future career out right, including which sterile processing technician school is best for you.

1. Choose the Right Sterile Processing Tech Training Program

Schools may call this career by a variety of names, including: 

  • Certified Registered Central Service Technician
  • Sterilization Technician
  • Medical Equipment Preparer
  • Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician

Whatever it’s called, it’s crucial to find a school that provides everything that you need. Maybe you need an easy commute. If you’re working part-time or even full-time, you might need to attend night classes. 

Make appointments to visit local schools that offer sterilization technician training courses. Check out the campus and see if you can observe a class. After class, there’s no harm in asking professors and students what they think about the program.

Meet with a School Representative

Before visiting any campus, schedule an appointment with a member of the admissions team. This person will answer questions related to this field, course dates, payment options, and pricing. Bring your academic records along, and be prepared to answer a few personal questions about why you’ve chosen to become a sterile processing tech

After building skill sets and gaining necessary work experience, a move into the surgical tech sector is possible for many sterile processing techs. Be sure to ask your school’s representative if surgical tech training could be an option down the road.

Resolve Financial Aid Requirements

If your sterilization technician certificate program isn’t covered by federal financial aid, don’t worry: You might be eligible for scholarships, private student loans, or even an interest-free payment plan through your school. Make sure that you work out the financial side before you enroll in a program.

2. Enroll in Your Sterile Processing Technician Program

By this point, you’ve chosen your program and have your finances in place. If the school uses a rolling admissions calendar, you’ll be able to apply once the start dates are publicized. Your sterile processing technician school will probably require an in-person appointment when you turn in your documents. While there, you may also need to complete an interview with the program director and complete an entrance exam (e.g. Wonderlic SLE, Accuplacer).

Why Do I Need to Take an Entrance Exam?

Exams like the Wonderlic SLE and Accuplacer are commonplace at allied healthcare training schools. They’re a simple way to measure a person’s ability to handle future coursework, as well as basic problem-solving skills.

Wait to Be Accepted

If your interview and entrance exam go well, your school may encourage you to enroll on the same day, so be prepared to sign all of your paperwork (like an enrollment contract). It’s possible that your program doesn’t offer same-day results, but it shouldn’t take too long to receive a decision from the school.

3. Attend Your Program Orientation

Once you’re enrolled in a sterile processing technician training course, it’s crucial to attend orientation. Even though it’s mandatory, you should use this opportunity to learn about school procedures and policies, and ask staff members any remaining questions before starting classes.

4. Begin Your Sterile Processing Technician Training

During this quick healthcare certification, you’ll learn about decontamination and sterilization techniques for surgical tools and equipment. You’ll also study microbiology and infection control. Expect to gain a stronger understanding of anatomy, safety and risk management, and surgical terminologies that will help you become the best tech possible.

Finish Your Internship

After you fulfill classroom hours, prospective sterile processing and distribution technicians should complete a clinical internship. Here, practical skills are put to the test in a real-life environment (while supervised by an experienced mentor). It’s not unheard of for exceptional students to be offered jobs by their clinical site.

5. Pass Your CRCST Exam

After your classroom and internship hours are finished, you’ll be eligible to take the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) exam offered by IAHCSMM. After successfully passing, you’ll be a certified registered central service technician in a competitive field.

Enroll in the AIMS Sterile Processing Tech Program Today

With healthy job growth and rewarding salaries, this allied health career is worth pursuing. If you’re in the New Jersey area, contact an AIMS admissions expert to see if our sterile processing technician program is a great fit for you.  

Sterile Processing Technician Program