Sterile Processing Technician Schools in Alaska – Find Programs
Sterile processing technicians can go by many names, depending on their certification and where they practice. They are responsible for cleaning, assembling, processing, storing, distributing, and sterilizing medical equipment.
Sterile processing technicians or surgical technologists are incredibly important in the healthcare sector, as they are responsible for sterilizing surgical instruments and preparing operating rooms. If this job is not done properly, patients could contract infections from dirty medical equipment, and their lives could be put in danger.
Becoming a sterile processing technician is far easier than getting into many other healthcare professions – you do not need a degree to become a Certified Surgical Technologist.
However, this is not to say that these technicians are not respected or poorly compensated for their work. If you want to find out how to become a sterile processing technician in Alaska, the following details can help you on your way.
Licensing Requirements in Alaska
In Alaska, there are no statewide requirements for becoming a sterile processing technician. All you need for a job in this field is a high school diploma. However, it is unlikely that you will be hired without any formal education or training.
By training at an official institution, you will increase your chances of getting a job. And, you will also be provided with the knowledge and skills you need to do the job properly.
How To Get Sterile Processing Technician Certification In Alaska
You do not need any formal certification to work in a sterile processing department in Alaska. However, once again, being certified will improve your career prospects, and help you stand out when applying for a job in the industry.
If you want certification in Alaska, you have two options available. You can become a Certified Surgical Technologist by taking a certification exam through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).
Your other option is to become Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) through the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA). It was formerly known as the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM).
The Healthcare Sterile Processing Association requires applicants to pass the certification exam first.
Once they have passed the exam, they will need to either gain 400 hours’ worth of experience in the field within six months since they passed the exam, or they will need to have gained 400 hours of experience in the field in the five years before they applied to become certified.
Best Sterile Processing Technician Education Programs
You now know what you need to do to achieve sterile processing technician certification in Alaska. However, you might be wondering where you can receive training.
You’ll need to know a lot about the sterilization process, and medical equipment before you can take the exam, become certified and start practicing. Below, we will list the best schools in Alaska where you can receive surgical technology training.
University of Alaska Anchorage
The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) is the most comprehensive sterile processing technician program in Alaska.
The Surgical Technology degree at UAA covers topics like how to prepare an operating room, the medical instrumentation needed for surgical operations, and how to assist surgeons with surgical operations.
Alaska Job Center Network
If you don’t have the time or finances to study for a degree in Surgical Technology, there are other options available to you. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development offers an apprenticeship program.
Through this program, prospective applicants are given the opportunity to apprentice as a sterile processing technician or a surgical technologist. This program will allow you to gain valuable experience in the field, which will help with job opportunities down the line.
Ashworth College offers an online program that allows applicants to enroll regardless of where they are based in Alaska. The program lasts for four months, and by the end, you will be a Certified Sterile Processing Technician.
The program is designed to help applicants prepare for the CRCST exam held by the HSPA. The cost of the exam is included in the cost of tuition.
Penn Foster College
Penn Foster College also offers an online program that you can enroll in from anywhere in Alaska. This program is also designed to help students prepare for the CRCST exam held by the HSPA. However, by the end of this course, you will receive a Penn Foster’s Sterile Processing Career Diploma.
In 2021, the average annual salary of a sterile processing technician was $42,420, translating to roughly $20.40 an hour. While not extremely high, this is still a decent salary that will allow you to live a fulfilling life
Sterile processing techs and other surgical technology professionals are in high demand throughout the United States. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has also predicted that surgical technology positions in Alaska are due to increase by 23.8% from 2016 to 2026. This means that it won’t be difficult to find a job as a sterile processing tech in Alaska.
Where To Find Work As A Sterile Processing Technician in Alaska
Sterile processing techs usually work at:
- Medical companies
- Central sterile processing departments
- Private physicians’ practices
- Outpatient surgical centers
- Surgery centers
Which state pays sterile processing techs the most?
On average, sterile processing techs in Alaska are often paid the best salaries. California offers the second-best salaries, and the District of Columbia offers the third-best salaries.
Is the CRCST exam difficult?
In 2021, 75% of students who took the exam were able to pass. However, this does not mean that the exam is easy. You will need to prepare well in advance if you want to pass and become certified.