Sterile processing technologists are employed primarily in hospitals, outpatient care centers, physicians' offices, and dentists' offices. These technologists are generally responsible for maintaining surgical instruments, keeping them sterile and free from spreading various diseases, and ensuring that all medical equipment is clean and sterile prior to its use in a medical procedure.
Sterile processing technologists must examine medical instruments for defects and report them to their supervisors, as well as distribute medical supplies, assemble instrument trays for operating rooms, order supplies when needed, and ensure that all sterile instruments/supplies are within their respective expiration dates. They must be able to work well in a fast-paced work environment, as well as perform tasks that may require bending, lifting, and reaching for objects weighing 25 lbs or more. Strong communication, interpersonal, and customer service skills are also important.
A high school diploma is a minimum requirement for this position, and some employers may require prospective applicants to complete a one-year certification program in central service and sterile processing. However, educational courses and training can also be completed in programs which cover equipment management, aseptic and sterilization techniques, and medical terminology. Furthermore, a BLS Certification from the American Heart Association may be required by some employers, and candidates can obtain further certification through the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution or the International Association for Healthcare Central Service Material Management.
Sterile Processing Technologist Tasks
Monitor inventory and order supplies at appropriate intervals.
Disassemble and reassemble instruments, surgical trays or equipment to clean and repair.
Decontaminate, process, sterilize, and store equipment and instruments.
Deliver sterilized equipment to usage areas.