Sterile Processing Technician

How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in California (2024)

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Should you pursue a career as a Sterile Processing Technician? Let us serve as your guide and provide you with an easy yet informative guide!


  • The tuition for a sterile processing technician program typically falls between $500 and $3,000, though certain programs may be more or less expensive.
  • The length of a sterile processing program can vary based on the particular path you're taking, but it usually takes 12 months to finish.
  • For sterile processing technicians, certain businesses can demand passing a background check and having a certification.

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Steps to become a Sterile Processing Technician in California

To become a Sterile Processing Technician in California, you should have a high school diploma, complete an accredited SPT program, and pass an accredited exam such as the CRCST.

1. Find a sterile processing technician class

To locate a class for a sterile processing technician, use Dreambound! In California, training for sterile processing technicians can be done online or in person. Under the supervision of working professionals, on-the-job training should also be accomplished.

Dreambound has a list of accredited training programs for sterile processing technicians that you can search by distance, program duration, accessible payment methods, and more!

2. Meet Sterile Processing Technician class requirements

The requirements listed below are the usual requirements; however, there might be more. The best course of action is to speak with your selected institution to further identify what is required.

  • All candidates must be at least 18 years old.
  • Every candidate needs to show an identity card issued by the state.
  • To be able to work in the United States, you must be a US citizen or be qualified to obtain a Social Security number.
  • A high school diploma, GED, or other proof of higher academic degree. (Foreign transcripts obtained outside of the United States need to be assessed for US equivalency)
  • A background check stating a clear record or no previous felonies. 

3. Complete your class

These programs are typically offered by community colleges, vocational schools, and technical institutes. The program will provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform the duties of a Sterile Processing Technician. Topics covered in these programs may include infection control, sterilization techniques, medical terminology, and anatomy.

4. Get your Sterile Processing Technician certification

To become a Sterile Processing Technician (SPT), one must first understand the certification requirements, which can vary by state. For instance, in California, the certification is administered by the California Certifying Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD).

In addition to completing an SPT program, applicants are usually required to have a certain number of hours of hands-on experience, obtained through internships, externships, or on-the-job training.

After meeting these prerequisites, the next step is to prepare for and take the certification exam, which tests knowledge and skills in areas like sterilization techniques, infection control, and medical terminology. Resources such as study guides, practice exams, and online courses are available to aid in preparation. Once the certification is achieved, it's crucial to maintain it by fulfilling the continuing education requirements set by the certification board, which may include completing a certain number of continuing education units (CEUs) or participating in ongoing training and professional development opportunities.

5. Work as a Sterile Processing Technician!

After obtaining your Sterile Processing Technician certification, you should first update your resume to reflect this qualification and any relevant experience or skills. Networking is also crucial; connect with those in the healthcare field and attend industry events. Start applying for jobs in hospitals, surgical centers, and clinics, using online job portals and healthcare staffing agencies.

When invited for interviews, prepare by researching common questions and rehearsing your responses. Dress professionally, and bring copies of your resume. Lastly, consider gaining additional certifications in areas like infection control or surgical technology to enhance your job prospects and demonstrate your commitment to professional development.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find Sterile Processing Technician classes in California?

Dreambound offers a straightforward solution to scout and compare Sterile Processing Technician classes by searching zip codes. No matter where you live, with dedication and the right resources, carving out a career in healthcare is within your reach!

How much does a Sterile Processing Technician make?

The income for medical equipment preparers, which includes Sterile Processing technicians, can fluctuate based on different factors such as where they live, their experience, and their qualifications. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average yearly pay for these technicians was $45,280 in May 2023. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $34,020, while the top 10 percent earned over $63,980.

Remember, these numbers are the average pay for Sterile Processing Technicians all over the US. The actual income you might get could be higher or lower based on your specific situation.

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What is the job description of a Sterile Processing Technician?

A Sterile Processing Technician may have a lot of task on their job description. Some of their responsibilities include cleaning and sterilizing medical instruments and equipment. They inspect and assemble these items, use specialized techniques for decontamination, and operate sterilization equipment. They also package and label sterilized items for storage or use, and keep accurate records of their processes and equipment maintenance.

Is it stressful being a Sterile Processing Technician?

The job of a sterile processing technician isn't usually stressful. However, heavy workloads can cause quick burnouts. Also, in many cases, busy hospitals may need them to work extra hours due to lack of staff and lots of equipment that needs care.

Where can a Sterile Processing Technician work?

Sterile Processing Technicians workplaces are commonly in hospitals, where they sterilize and prepare medical equipment for use in different departments. They also work in Ambulatory Surgical Centers, which specialize in same-day surgical procedures. Dental offices and outpatient clinics, which provide non-hospitalized medical services, also employ these technicians to sterilize their equipment. Research facilities and pharmaceutical companies also hire Sterile Processing Technicians to maintain the sterility of their equipment and products.

Athena Kan
Written by
Athena Kan

Athena is Co-founder and CEO of Dreambound.

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