How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in California

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How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in California

California’s hospitals need clean and sterile tools and equipment to properly look after their patients.

While nurses can usually take care of this aspect, having specialized personnel is greatly helpful.

The job title of this staff is “sterile processing technician.”

Everyone knows that those working in the medical field get paid better than the majority and the same can be said about these techs, but more on this later.

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Let’s learn more about this occupation!

Sterile Processing Technician Job Duties and Skills in California

You can’t perform well on the job if you don’t have the type of skills needed for the tasks you’ll have to complete.

These are some of the skills needed by a sterile processing technician:

  • Strong organizational skills
  • Able to identify and troubleshoot common sterilization issues
  • Able to manage storage problems
  • A good understanding of medical terminology and aseptic techniques
  • Critical thinking,
  • Being respectful,
  • Accountability and personal responsibility

The most common tasks assigned to sterile processing techs can be seen below:

  • Perform inventory checks
  • Clean, sterilize, decontaminate, package, and store medical equipment
  • Maintain and repair medical tools and equipment
  • Control and monitor the spread of disease and infection
  • Follow protocol and techniques for proper disinfection and sterilization of equipment

Of course, depending on the work environment, you might be asked for additional skills or assigned more tasks.

Regardless of the situation, your job will be helpful for most other medical personnel working in the same facility as you.

How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in California

Perhaps you think the duties and abilities required of you are rather easy and you think you can perform the job.

Then, it’s time you learned more about this medical position.

For instance, in California, you’re not required to hold any credentials for this job, though, there are four states that do.

In fact, the main requirement for a future sterile processing tech is graduating from high school or having a GED.

In reality, though the majority of employers will ask either for national certification in the field or some previous medical experience from the candidates.

The Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) credential is the highest one regarded for this medical staff.

The Healthcare Sterile Processing Association is the body that awards this certification to those who meet the requirements and pass the exam.

The easiest way of meeting the criteria for certification is by attending a training course that includes practice hours in a clinical setting.

Training Programs for Sterile Processing Technicians in California

In California, there are three training schools for future sterile processing techs, with one of them having 2 campuses.

There is also an online program in which you can enroll, however, you’ll need to find a practice clinic on your own if you choose this one.

Silicon Valley Surgi-Tech Institute

This institute has BBB accreditation, which is important for any educational institution and its students.

If you want to enroll in the course offered here, you’ll need to meet these criteria:

  • Having a high school diploma, GED, or college transcripts (in English)
  • Having a copy of state ID or Driver’s License
  • Being minimum of 17 years oldSVSTI
  • A completed enrollment packet
  • Paying the registration fees
  • BLS card from American Heart or Red Cross (if applicable)
  • Proof of immunizations:
    • Tetanus/Diphtheria/whooping cough (TDaP)
    • Mantoux (Tuberculous) Test (PPD) -negative
    • Measles/Mumps/Rubella
    • Varicella (chicken pox)
    • Hepatitis B
    • Influenza
    • Covid

The classes offered can be attended in person, online, or even in a combination of the two.

Contra Costa Medical Career College

This college has very similar admission requirements as SVSTI above.

The offered course can only be attended in person, either as a full-time student or by attending the evening classes.Contra Costa Medical Career College

This college helps its students with finding clinics that offer apprenticeship positions for the mandatory 400 hours of hands-on experience.

Future students must know that they may receive financial aid to pay the tuition fee if they qualify.

Furthermore, some of the fees they pay cannot be refunded while others can.

Central Sterilization School

This is the school that has 2 campuses where individuals can train for a future occupation as a sterile processing technician.

Central Sterilization Solutions

The types of courses offered here are the same as at SVSTI:

  • In-person
  • Online
  • A combination of the two

One advantage this school has over the previous ones is that it offers career support, which means you can count on it for receiving help in getting hired.

All the schools above offer the same curriculum, though the class name might differ:

  • Introduction to Sterile Processing
  • Surgical Instrumentation
  • Equipment Safety Management and Tracking
  • Decontamination & Sterilization Procedures and Practices
  • Computer Basics
  • CPR & First Aid
  • Infection control practices
  • Microbiology

The next table will show you how to contact these institutions.

School Name Address
Silicon Valley Surgi-Tech Institute 1729 S. Main St. Milpitas, CA 95035
Contra Costa Medical Career College 4041 Lone Tree Way Suite 101 Antioch, Ca 94531
Central Sterilization School 20010 Orange Terrace PKWY, Riverside, Ca 92508
Central Sterilization School Whittier Community Center 7630 Washington Ave Whittier, CA 90602
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Sterile Processing Technician Salaries in California

At the beginning of the article, I mentioned salaries in the healthcare industry are rather high.

This is especially true for a state like California where the lowest average paycheck for a sterile processing technician is around $40,000 annually.

The majority of these professionals earn on average $51,000 per year, while the highest average income for these techs is about $67,000 a year.

Everyone knows that in cities the salaries are usually higher than in rural settings and next you can see where the sterile processing technicians earn the most.

Annual Salary Range:

Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
San Jose $57,594
Santa Clara $57,594
Fremont $57,447
San Francisco $57,364
Daly City $57,364
Berkeley $55,987
Oakland $55,987
Hayward $55,877
Antioch $52,670
Concord $52,081

Regional Salary in California

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Bakersfield, CA140$53,710$25.82$76,930$37,500
Chico, CA90$51,440$24.73$76,860$39,120
Fresno, CA250$49,910$23.99$68,400$32,990
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA2,660$55,110$26.5$72,040$37,390
Madera, CA30$44,300$21.3$64,120$33,490
Napa, CA30$63,050$30.31$88,740$43,740
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA160$50,530$24.29$72,790$30,420
Redding, CA40$61,840$29.73$83,300$39,520
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA760$51,130$24.58$68,130$31,410
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA610$66,100$31.78$83,910$40,100
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA510$58,140$27.95$70,770$37,600
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA1,510$71,280$34.27$94,520$43,850
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA530$66,330$31.89$83,820$46,620
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA40$58,280$28.02$77,250$38,740
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA40$53,940$25.93$74,400$35,780
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA70$56,460$27.15$64,490$39,200
Santa Rosa, CA110$70,470$33.88$84,260$44,470
Stockton-Lodi, CA120$58,950$28.34$76,010$39,820
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA100$69,480$33.4$83,870$42,380
Visalia-Porterville, CA70$46,210$22.22$58,750$37,310
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Medical Equipment Preparers, OCC Code 31-9093, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which places in California hire sterile processing techs?

There are many places where you can find employment once you become a sterile processing tech.

Usually, the larger the healthcare center, the higher their need is for such professionals.

Here are the most common places hiring such technicians:

  • Hospital or Surgery Center,
  • Outpatient Surgery Clinics,
  • Veterinary Hospital
  • Dental Surgery Clinics.

How do I choose a training school in Caifornia?

This is one of the easiest questions to answer.

Your criteria should be:

  • Proximity to your home
  • Tuition and financial help to pay for it
  • Type of classes offered: online, in-person, full-time, etc
  • Accreditation
  • Success rate of former students

Is the position of a Californian sterile processing tech stressful?

The answer to this question depends fully on the facility you work for.

The employees of a large facility in a city will face more stress during their shifts than those working the same positions in a smaller facility or in a less populated area.

USA Sterile Processing Technician by State

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