Article Table of Contents
- 1 Are You Thinking About Starting a Career as a Sterile Processing Technician?
- 2 Sterile Processing Technician Job Duties
- 3 Sterile Processing Technician Salary
- 4 Pros of Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician
- 4.1 1. Job Stability
- 4.2 2. Flexible Scheduling Options
- 4.3 3. Teamwork and Working with Highly Respect Medical Professionals
- 4.4 4. America’s Sterile Processing Technicians Earn Well-Paying Salaries
- 4.5 5. Many SPTs Report High Levels of Job Satisfaction
- 4.6 6. Direction Contribution to Patient Safety
- 4.7 7. Exposure to Healthcare Careers
- 4.8 8. Low Entry Barrier Equals Abundant Opportunity
- 5 Cons of Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician
- 5.1 1. Limited Patient Interaction
- 5.2 2. High Levels of Responsibility Can Feel Overwhelming
- 5.3 3. High Levels of Responsibility Can Cause Emotional Overload
- 5.4 4. High Workloads Can Create a Stressful Work Environment
- 5.5 5. Exposure to Contaminants Can Negatively Impact Health
- 5.6 6. Physically Demanding Role Requires Constant Motion
- 5.7 7. Increased Risk of Injury on the Job
- 5.8 8. Limited Advancement Opportunities
- 6 Pros and Cons of Being a Sterile Processing Technician – Summary Table
- 7 Should You Become a Sterile Processing Technician?
Are You Thinking About Starting a Career as a Sterile Processing Technician?
Sterile Processing Technicians are integral parts of medical teams working in hospitals, medical clinics, labs, and pharmaceutical companies.
These highly trained professionals clean, sterilize, and package medical supplies and equipment for reuse.
Their clinical role is to prevent the spread of infections and diseases in healthcare facilities and hospitals.
Sterile Processing Technician Job Duties
A large part of the role of the SPT is to disassemble medical equipment for cleaning with soap, water, and other medical-grade sterilization products.
They also use specialized machines that wash medical tools and equipment using a combination of heat and chemicals.
The sterilization process involves ensuring all tools and equipment reused for medical procedures are free of microorganisms that can cause or spread infections and diseases.
Sterile Processing Technician Salary
America’s sterile processing technicians make well-paying salaries that can vary by state and where they are working.
Online salary reports from reputable sources like Indeed show that US-based techs make an average of $74,978.00 per year.
Pros of Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician
America’s sterile processing technicians are behind-the-scenes allied healthcare professionals who help keep our surgical tools and supplies clean and free from infection.
Below are a few examples of some of the best parts of working as an SPT in the US reported by experienced technicians.
1. Job Stability
One of the perks of working as a sterile processing technician is job stability.
These integral parts of medical teams in America’s healthcare facilities mean that careers in this field are expected to continue to grow.
2. Flexible Scheduling Options
Some sterile processing technicians can choose their own work schedules depending on their work location and volume of work.
Flexible work scheduling options allow SPTs to work hours that fit their lifestyle needs and schedules.
Choosing their work schedule can improve work-life balance and reduce stress.
Happy SPTs are less likely to complain of job dissatisfaction and often end up making lifelong careers out of this profession.
3. Teamwork and Working with Highly Respect Medical Professionals
Today’s sterile processing technicians work closely with other key healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other medical professionals to ensure that surgical instruments, tools, and equipment are correctly sterilized and available for use.
Working with such highly respected medical professionals gives SPTs a unique inside view of how America’s healthcare systems function behind the scenes.
4. America’s Sterile Processing Technicians Earn Well-Paying Salaries
Many sterile processing technicians make well-paying salaries that allow them to afford their basic needs for housing, food, transportation, and their desired creature comforts.
Earning a good wage makes it easier for SPTs to plan for their future by saving or investing in their children’s education.
Being able to earn high-paying salaries after just a few weeks or months of training and education is one of the biggest pros of working in this profession.
5. Many SPTs Report High Levels of Job Satisfaction
Today’s SPTs report high levels of job satisfaction based on having the ability to earn well-paying salaries without years of education, having a direct impact on the health and safety of their fellow community members, and working in proximity to some of America’s most highly respected healthcare professionals.
As a result, many sterile processing technicians make lifelong careers out of their profession without changing careers.
6. Direction Contribution to Patient Safety
Sterile processing technicians are among the many unsung heroes who play critical roles in patient care behind the scenes of America’s medical facilities.
Technicians play one of the most critical roles in ensuring the overall health and safety of patients needing surgical equipment for medical procedures by helping to prevent the spread of infections by properly decontaminating and maintaining surgical equipment.
7. Exposure to Healthcare Careers
If you’re an aspiring sterile processing technician looking to enter the healthcare field you’ll be happy to know that being directly exposed to a variety of different healthcare career options can help sterile processing technicians identify their career goals.
Interacting with healthcare professionals like surgeons, radiologists, nurses, and other professionals can help them decide if pursuing these career paths is ideal.
8. Low Entry Barrier Equals Abundant Opportunity
One of the significant benefits of working as a sterile processing technician is that people without college degrees or other advanced degrees can enter the medical field without having to spend years in school.
New technicians can enter the field after taking basic education and training courses and practicing on-the-job training.
Cons of Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician
While there are many upsides to working as an SPT in the US, like every other profession — it has its downsides, especially working behind the scenes without recognition.
Keep reading to learn about a few more cons of working as a sterile processing tech in America’s healthcare system.
1. Limited Patient Interaction
One of the downsides of working as a sterile processing technician is limited patient interaction for techs who prefer face-to-face engagement.
SPTs do the majority of their work behind the scenes, which means they rarely see patients who don’t realize the vital role they play in safety and healthcare.
2. High Levels of Responsibility Can Feel Overwhelming
Although most of their work is done behind the scenes, SPTs have high levels of responsibility.
Many new sterile processing technicians aren’t prepared for the extreme levels of responsibility that go along with their role.
Serious patient safety issues like the spread of infection or surgical site infections can happen if they are distracted while working or if they make mistakes on the job.
3. High Levels of Responsibility Can Cause Emotional Overload
America’s hospitals, medical clinics, and laboratory facilities rely on the skills of SPTs to keep tools and patients healthy.
High levels of responsibility on the job and work overload can lead to emotional challenges for stressed-out SPTs.
Sterile processing technicians understand that many surgical procedures and patient safety concerns depend on them and can become overwhelmed when working long hours with little to no room for error.
4. High Workloads Can Create a Stressful Work Environment
Sterile processing technicians have a high workload, which requires meticulous cleaning and sterilization of surgical tools and instruments for the entirety of their shifts.
Adhering to strict deadlines under increased work load along with a need for precision and accuracy can lead to an extremely stressful work environment for some overloaded SPTs.
5. Exposure to Contaminants Can Negatively Impact Health
One major downside of working as a sterile processing technician is the ever-present possibility of being exposed to contaminants on the job.
SPTs are regularly exposed to a variety of biological contaminants like blood, bodily fluids, chemicals, irritants, and infectious agents.
Direct exposure can negatively impact their health and cause long-term or short-term health effects, including skin irritation, dermatitis, respiratory problems, and other health issues.
6. Physically Demanding Role Requires Constant Motion
The daily workload of sterile processing techs can involve standing and walking for extended periods, lifting and moving heavy equipment, and working in awkward postures while bending and reaching for surgical tools.
SPTs perform repetitive motions while sterilizing and cleaning tools, which can lead to overuse injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.
7. Increased Risk of Injury on the Job
Sterile processing technicians face a daily risk of potential injury in the form of cuts and burns that can happen as a result of using the required tools and equipment to carry out their job duties.
SPTs can be at risk for cuts, burns, and repetitive motion injuries, among others.
8. Limited Advancement Opportunities
Sterile processing technicians looking for ways to advance their careers may find there are limited advancement opportunities in the field because of the low entry requirements, which means there is a large pool of qualified candidates to choose from.
SPTs who want to advance their careers will likely need to complete college credits or earn professional certifications to boost their careers.
Pros and Cons of Being a Sterile Processing Technician – Summary Table
|Pros of Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician||Cons of Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician|
|1. Job Stability||1. Limited Patient Interaction|
|2. Flexible Scheduling Options||2. High Levels of Responsibility Can Feel Overwhelming|
|3. Teamwork and Working with Highly Respect Medical Professionals||3. High Levels of Responsibility Can Cause Emotional Overload|
|4. America's Sterile Processing Technicians Earn Well-Paying Salaries||4. High Workloads Can Create a Stressful Work Environment|
|5. Many SPTs Report High Levels of Job Satisfaction||5. Exposure to Contaminants Can Negatively Impact Health|
|6. Direction Contribution to Patient Safety||6. Physically Demanding Role Requires Constant Motion|
|7. Exposure to Healthcare Careers||7. Increased Risk of Injury on the Job|
|8. Low Entry Barrier Equals Abundant Opportunity||8. Limited Advancement Opportunities|
Should You Become a Sterile Processing Technician?
If you want to make a difference in the health, safety, and well-being of others from behind the scenes in a healthcare environment, working as a sterile processing technician in one of America’s hospitals, pharmaceutical clinics, or private practice facilities could be the job for you.
Do your research on the role of sterile processing technicians to learn more about their specific job duties, salary, benefits, and advancement opportunities to learn if these fall in line with your professional goals.
Learn more about how to become a Certified Sterile Processing Technician by contacting one of the certifying agencies below.
Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA) – Issues the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) credential.
Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) – Issues the Certified Sterile Processing Distribution Technician (CSPDT) credential.