How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Virginia

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How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Virginia

The healthcare industry in Virginia offers an excellent work environment with numerous opportunities for stable employment compared to other sectors.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career that provides stability and growth potential, becoming a sterile processing technician is worth considering.

Before embarking on this career path, it’s important to understand the requirements and responsibilities associated with the role.

Here, we will guide you on how to become a sterile processing technician in Virginia.

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Sterile Processing Technician Job Duties and Skills in Virginia

In Virginia, acquiring a license is not mandatory for securing your first job as a sterile processing technician, which is similar to most states in the US.

However, obtaining certification is highly recommended.

Although many medical facilities in Virginia hire sterile processing technicians, most of them require candidates to have prior experience.

Thus, certification becomes essential as it demonstrates your competence and knowledge in performing the job effectively.

The daily duties of a sterile processing technician include:

  • Performing inventory checks
  • Managing and preventing the spread of illness and infection
  • Cleaning, sterilizing, packaging, and storing medical tools
  • Maintaining and repairing medical equipment
  • Following protocol for disinfection and sterilization

To excel in this profession, it’s beneficial to acquire additional skills like:

  • Strong organizational skills to manage inventory effectively and maintain a systematic workflow.
  • Problem-solving abilities to identify and address common challenges associated with the position.
  • Knowledge of medical terminology to understand and communicate effectively with healthcare professionals.
  • A comprehensive understanding of aseptic techniques to ensure the highest level of cleanliness and safety.

How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Virginia

Let’s see what you need to do to become certified in this state.

The most common route is to take the national certification exam

In Virginia, various organizations offer certification exams, including the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA).

HSPA provides multiple licensing levels, but for entry-level positions, you only need to pass the basic certification exam.

Additionally, you can obtain certification through the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD).

This certification requires passing both the exam and gaining a year of practical experience.

Other requirements for certification may include:

  • Completing approximately 400 hours of lab experience
  • Submitting a fee
  • Possessing a high school diploma or GED
  • Passing a background check
  • Passing drug tests, and passing the licensing exam

It’s important to remember that your sterile processing technician certification will require annual renewal.

Training Programs for Sterile Processing Technicians in Virginia

Virginia is home to several reputable institutions that offer sterile processing technician programs.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these programs:

Fortis College

Located in Richmond, Fortis provides a well-rounded program for aspiring sterile processing technicians.

Students enrolled in this program can expect a curriculum that combines theoretical knowledge with practical lab work.

Fortis emphasizes real-world experience by offering clinical site and hospital placements, allowing students to gain hands-on experience and apply their skills in a professional setting.

Piedmont Virginia Community College Piedmont VA Comm College logo.gif

Offering a specialized sterile processing program, Piedmont Virginia Community College equips graduates with the necessary skills to secure entry-level positions as medical equipment preparers.

The program emphasizes the importance of maintaining a sterile environment and familiarizes students with industry-standard practices and procedures.

Southwest Virginia Community College

For those seeking flexible learning options, Southwest Virginia Community College offers an online sterile processing technician program.

This program provides students with the convenience of studying from their own location while still benefiting from a comprehensive curriculum.

With a timeframe of 12 months, students have enough time to complete the course at their own pace.

Chester Career College

Recognizing the increasing demand for skilled professionals in sterile processing departments, Chester Career College offers a program designed to equip students with the necessary skills to pass the exam.

By providing a well-rounded curriculum, students are prepared to handle the responsibilities and challenges of working in a healthcare facility’s sterile processing department.

Reynolds Community College J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College seal.png

Reynolds Community College provides a sterile processing technician program that can be completed in three semesters for full-time students.

For individuals with other obligations or commitments, part-time study options are also available.

The program provides students with a strong foundation in sterile processing techniques, emphasizing the importance of maintaining cleanliness, proper sterilization methods, and inventory management.

These programs in Virginia offer diverse learning opportunities for those interested in pursuing a career as a sterile processing tech.

By enrolling in one of these programs, aspiring professionals can gain the necessary skills and knowledge needed for the job.

These include:

  • Overview of surgical instruments.
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Assembly and packaging of equipment.
  • Decontamination, sterilization, cleaning, and disinfection.
  • Distribution and storage of medical and surgical supplies.
  • The role of a medical equipment preparer.
  • Medical terminology.
  • Professionalism and communication skills.
  • Safety and risk management.
  • Microbiology
School Name Address
Chester Career College 751 W Hundred Rd, Chester, VA 23836
Fortis College 2000 Westmoreland St a, Richmond, VA 23230
Piedmont Virginia Community College 501 College Dr, Charlottesville, VA 22902
Reynolds Community College 1651 E Parham Rd, Richmond, VA 23228
Southwest Virginia Community College 635 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, VA 24609
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Sterile Processing Technician Salaries in Virginia

It’s normal to want to know your possible income if you get hired.

The average annual salary in the state for professionals in this field is approximately $45,000.

These figures can vary based on several factors, including your level of experience, additional certifications or specializations, and the specific employer or healthcare facility you work for.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Arlington $51,086
Alexandria $51,086
Annandale $51,086
Reston $50,995
Centreville $50,903
Petersburg $45,708
Richmond $45,332
Virginia Beach $43,872
Newport News $43,450
Temperanceville $43,236

Regional Salary in Virginia

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Harrisonburg, VA50$38,230$18.38$45,330$34,100
Lynchburg, VA50$37,140$17.86$46,330$30,080
Richmond, VA230$40,600$19.52$48,240$33,340
Roanoke, VA100$39,570$19.02$43,960$31,350
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC590$39,030$18.77$46,520$31,770
* 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

Must sterile processing technicians in Virginia hold a license?

In Virginia, there are no mandatory certification requirements for individuals working as sterile processing technicians.

Nevertheless, undertaking a training program specifically designed for sterile processing technicians can enhance professionals’ self-assurance and proficiency, enabling them to enter the job market with greater confidence or advance in their careers.

How Promising Are The Employment Opportunities For Sterile Processing Technicians in Virginia?

Once you obtain your license as a sterile processing technician in Virginia, you’ll find numerous employment opportunities available to you.

You can find work in hospitals, laboratories, doctor’s offices, clinics, and dentist practices.

Can I attend only online classes?


In fact, at least one of the colleges presented above offers only online classes.

USA Sterile Processing Technician by State

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