When individuals visit clinics or hospitals, they rightfully anticipate that all equipment and tools used on them are sterile.
This expectation extends to the garments worn by doctors and patients, among other items.
The responsibility of ensuring sterility falls upon the shoulders of sterile processing technicians—a profession that often goes unnoticed by the general public.
With this presentation, my aim is to introduce you to this occupation and perhaps even inspire you to consider a career as a sterile processing technician in Iowa.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Iowa
- 2 Sterile Processing Technician Job Duties and Skills in Iowa
- 3 Training Programs for Sterile Processing Technicians in Iowa
- 4 Sterile Processing Technician Salaries in Iowa
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Iowa
Becoming a sterile processing technician is rather easy in the State of Iowa.
All you have to do is:
- Finish high school or get a GED
- Pass a background check
- Pass a drug test
- Apply for the certification exam
- Pay the required fees
- Register with the testing center
- Obtain a passing score on the certification exam
In Iowa, aspiring candidates have the opportunity to participate in a training program designed to facilitate their certification process.
Obtaining certification in Iowa involves successfully completing the CRCST Credentialing Examination.
Later in this article, I will provide information about the available courses for certification.
Sterile Processing Technician Job Duties and Skills in Iowa
Every job necessitates a distinct set of skills and entails specific responsibilities.
Within the medical field, certain duties and skills can be shared among multiple occupations.
Below are some of the prevalent tasks commonly assigned to sterile processing technicians:
- 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
It is not uncommon to find instances where nurses may also perform these duties.
The significance of the roles of these professionals is evident, as they contribute significantly to various aspects of healthcare delivery.
In addition to assisting nurses, sterile processing technicians can alleviate the workload of other healthcare professionals.
Having the following skills will greatly benefit individuals in this medical position:
- Have strong organizational skills
- Able to identify and troubleshoot common sterilization and storage problems
- Possess a good understanding of medical terminology and aseptic techniques
It is highly likely that some of the needed skills are learned through a training program, about which you can learn more next!
Training Programs for Sterile Processing Technicians in Iowa
In Iowa, you can find 3 schools that have a training program for future sterile processing technicians.
Be aware that most colleges and universities will ask for proof of recent vaccinations against a variety of illnesses and negative test results for others.
In some instances, a background check will also be performed.
Most courses have the same structure, with theory lessons and a practice period.
Some of the subjects that you’ll become familiar with are:
- Introduction to Sterile Processing
- The categories and names of medical instruments
- Equipment Safety Management and Tracking
- Decontamination and Sterilization Procedures and Practices
Sometimes CPR and life support might be included in the offered courses, and other times you might have to already know these procedures.
Before we move on to the schools, I must warn you that in Iowa you can only find undergraduate training programs for sterile processing technicians.
Iowa Western Community College
The course you’ll attend at this college has a duration of approximately 2 months, allowing you to get hired very fast after graduating from high school, for instance.
Money-wise, this is a very affordable course, despite the $150 processing fee that cannot be refunded.
Des Moines Area Community College
The course offered by this college has a duration of 40 in-person hours and 20 hours of practice in a clinical setting.
These hours can be completed in around 10 weeks, so a little more than 2 months.
Kirkwood Community College
This college has a training program with a duration of 100 hours of classroom education and 40 hours of practice in a clinical setting.
You’ll spend around 2 months studying and thus preparing for the certification exam.
In the table below you can see where are the schools located.
|Des Moines Area Community College
|1144 7th St, Des Moines, IA 50314
|Iowa Western Community College
|2700 College Rd, Council Bluffs, IA 51503
|Kirkwood Community College
|2301 Oakdale Blvd, Coralville, IA 52241
Sterile Processing Technician Salaries in Iowa
Determining whether to pursue a job often hinges on knowledge of potential earnings.
Income within the healthcare industry generally surpasses that of many other sectors.
This holds true for sterile processing technicians in Iowa as well, although salaries in this state tend to be slightly lower compared to the national average.
On average, a sterile processing technician in Iowa earns an annual income of $43,000 whereas the national average is about $45,000.
Individuals with less experience typically earn around $34,000 per year, while those with additional qualifications and experience can anticipate annual salaries of approximately $57,000.
It is important for candidates to keep in mind that salaries in urban areas are typically higher than in rural regions and in some cities they exceed $44,000.
The following table showcases cities where applying as a sterile processing technician can yield higher earnings.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Avg. Annual Salary
Regional Salary in Iowa
|Avg. Annual Salary
|Avg. Hourly Pay
|Top 10% Annual Salary
|Bottom 10% Annual Salary
|Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL
|Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
|Iowa City, IA
|Sioux City, IA-NE-SD
|Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.
Frequently Asked Questions
What certification requirements does Iowa have?
What exam do I need to pass to become certified in Iowa as a sterile processing technician?
The exam future certified sterile processing technicians must pass is called National Certification as a Sterile Processing Technician.
Are there any career prospects for sterile processing technicians in Iowa?
Sterile processing technicians can become one of the following:
- Registered Nurse
- Clinical Medical Assistant
- Surgical Technologist
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
For these positions, certification or official training is mandatory.