The healthcare industry offers an excellent working environment with generally stable job prospects compared to other fields.
One promising career path is becoming a sterile processing technician.
If you are considering this profession, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the requirements.
In the following sections, we will guide you through the process of becoming a sterile processing technician in New Mexico.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Job Duties and Skills of Sterile Processing Technicians in New Mexico
- 2 Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician in New Mexico
- 3 Training Programs for Sterile Processing Technicians in New Mexico
- 4 Sterile Processing Technician Salaries in New Mexico
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
Job Duties and Skills of Sterile Processing Technicians in New Mexico
In New Mexico, obtaining a license is not necessary for your first job, which is the case in most states across the US.
However, certification is still highly recommended.
Many medical facilities hire sterile processing technicians, but most require prior experience.
Having certification demonstrates that you possess the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in this role.
Daily job duties as a sterile processing technician may include:
- Performing inventory checks
- Managing and monitoring the spread of illness and infection
- Cleaning, sterilizing, packaging, and storing medical tools
- Maintaining and repairing medical equipment
- Adhering to protocols and specific methods for appropriate disinfection and sterilization of medical tools and equipment
It is also beneficial to acquire additional skills such as:
- Strong organizational abilities
- Problem-solving skills relevant to the position
- Knowledge of medical terminology
- Proficiency in aseptic techniques
Job tasks and required skills may vary depending on the employer.
Becoming a Sterile Processing Technician in New Mexico
Now, let’s explore the process of obtaining certification as a sterile processing technician.
There are several paths to achieving your goal.
The simplest approach is to take and pass the three-hour national certification exam.
In New Mexico, various organizations offer certification exams, such as the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA).
HSPA provides five levels of licensing, but for entry-level positions, the basic certification is sufficient.
After obtaining the basic certification, you can proceed to take the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) certification exam.
Another option is to pursue certification through the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD).
To become licensed, you must pass the exam and accumulate 12 months of experience.
Additional requirements may include:
- Completion of approximately 400 hours of laboratory experience
- Submission of a fee
- Possession of a high school diploma
- Successful background check
- Pass some drug tests
- Passing the licensing exam
A GED is also accepted instead of a high school diploma.
Keep in mind that your sterile processing technician certification will require annual renewal.
You can enhance your knowledge and skills by attending extra classes and workshops that will keep you up to date with industry changes.
Training Programs for Sterile Processing Technicians in New Mexico
Enrolling in a school offering a sterile processing technician program will yield the best results.
Such programs provide the necessary knowledge and hands-on experience to obtain certification.
In New Mexico, several schools offer sterile processing technician programs.
For more information, refer to the details below:
Central New Mexico Community College
This school is one of the best to attend if you are looking to become a sterile processing tech.
The facility provides a Sterile Processing Technician Certificate.
The course lasts for a total of 4 months.
You will get to take theory classes but also lab hours and hands-on practice.
The most important topics that you will study include:
- Surgical terminology
- Microbiology and infection control
- Sanitary packaging and storage
- Instruments and equipment inventory
- Installing and maintaining equipment for operating rooms/central processing units
San Juan College
San Juan College provides a program that lasts for 12 or 24 months.
The program is intensive and ends with a surgical technology associate’s degree.
It also includes a one-term-long course that concentrates on central sterile processing.
While you are allowed to only take this course, it is highly recommended you do so only if you have a job as a sterile processing technician.
There are many important topics covered in this program.
- Cellular Biology
- Surgery prep and operating room sterilization
- Medical terminology
- Central sterile department organization and dispensing
- Sterilization and handling of specialized surgical medical equipment
|Central New Mexico Community College||900 University Blvd. SE Albuquerque, New Mexico|
|San Juan College||4601 College Blvd, Farmington, NM 87402|
Sterile Processing Technician Salaries in New Mexico
Once you obtain your license, you will likely want to find employment quickly.
Luckily, this shouldn’t be a challenge, given that you are certified and possess ample experience.
Healthcare facilities that hire sterile processing technicians in New Mexico include:
- Doctors’ offices
- Dental practices
You may also be curious about how much you can earn as a sterile processing technician.
The average salary in New Mexico is around $42,000 per year and $20 per hour.
Of course, this is influenced by a number of factors, such as your years of experience in the field.
As you gain more experience, your pay will typically increase.
As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, sterile processing technician jobs will only increase within the next 10 years.
This provides even more job stability, and it is easy to get your first entry-level position once you get certified.Annual Salary Range:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Frequently Asked Questions
Must sterile processing technicians in New Mexico hold a license?
Luckily you can start working as soon as you graduate from high school or obtain your GED if you’re chosen.
How Promising Are The Employment Opportunities For Sterile Processing Technicians in New Mexico?
Aspiring sterile processing technicians are in a fortunate position as there is a guaranteed upward trend in employment opportunities expected to continue at least until 2028.
Can I attend only online classes?
This is because there’s just one certification body for the whole country.
Read the full guide: How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician