Sterile Processing Technician Schools In California – Find Programs
Sterile processing technicians, also known as central service technicians, play a vital role in healthcare. They carry out a number of important tasks, such as sterilizing medical equipment and distributing medical supplies. Although it’s not an easy job, it’s usually a rewarding one, both professionally and financially.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to find the best sterile processing technician schools in California. We’ll also cover the licensing and certification requirements, the job outlook and annual salaries in the state, and give you guidance on how to find a job.
Licensing & Certification Requirements For Sterile Processing Technicians In California
If you want to work as a sterile processing technician in California, you don’t actually need to meet any licensing or certification requirements. The state itself doesn’t provide certification or licensing to sterile processing technicians or any other type of medical equipment preparers.
Sterile preparation technicians simply need to have a high school diploma or a GED to work in this field. Still, if you want to enter this profession, it’s highly recommended that you seek out formal training or certification before applying for jobs.
The reason for this is that the vast majority of employers prefer candidates to have a fairly high level of experience before hiring them.
There are various ways that you can go about gaining relevant experience. For example, you could look for related jobs in places like surgical centers or dental offices where you will work alongside medical equipment preparers. This will help you to expand your knowledge and develop the necessary skillset to work in this field.
Another route is to find a certified sterile processing technician training program in California where you will learn all the skills needed for this role.
Becoming nationally certified as a sterile processing technician is one of the best ways to embark on a career in this field.
The most popular path to a career in this field is to gain the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) certification, awarded by the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association. It’s accredited by both the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB).
To gain CRCST certification, you must pass an exam. Before being allowed to sit this exam you need to demonstrate you have 400 hours of hands-on experience in the medical field. For provisional certification, you can pass the exam first, and then provide proof of 400 hours of hands-on experience within six months of passing.
The 400 hours of experience must be in a sterile processing department, and it can be paid work or voluntary. This is to ensure that you understand the practices and standards required to work in this field.
The way in which the hours are broken down is as follows:
- Sterilization and disinfection – 96 hours
- Decontamination – 120 hours
- Equipment – 16 hours
- Preparing and packaging instruments – 120 hours
- Storage and distribution – 24 hours
- Quality assurance processes – 24 hours
It’s up to you to find a sterile processing school, central service department, or medical facility where you can complete these hours.
There are several ways in which you can prepare for the CRCST exam, including:
- Self-study: If you prefer, you can acquire training materials yourself and study for the exam on your own. If you choose to do this, then you should study The Central Service Technical Manual. This text was used as a reference when the CRCST exam was created, so you can rest assured that your training will be thorough.
- Online/distance learning course: You could choose to take an online or by-mail course from Purdue University. Studying online is a good idea if you struggle to complete tasks without the motivation of a deadline.
- Work experience: You don’t need to study any materials or pass a preparatory course to take the exam. Instead, you can use the knowledge you’ve gained from work experience to pass it.
The Best Education Programs For Sterile Processing Technicians In California
The best way to gain the experience you need for this career is to find a suitable education program in California. These programs train you in how to sterilize surgical instruments, sterilize and work with surgical technology, and distribute medical supplies, among other things.
Here are some of your options in California:
- Silicon Valley Surgi-Tech Institute: SVSTI is one of California’s leading education programs for central services technicians. It consists of a 300-hour educational program, followed by 240 hours of vocational training.
- Contra Costa Medical Career College: This college is based in the Bay Area, and you can choose from a range of full-time courses and evening classes. You’ll receive 344 hours of instruction and then 256 hours of training with working professionals.
- Central Sterilization School: This institution is based in Southern California and is a good choice if you’re looking for flexibility. It utilizes independent learning and virtual classes and includes 400 hours of training in medical facilities.
- MedCerts: The instructional element of this program is fully virtual, but you must complete the mandatory 400 hours of hands-on training. The program will help you to find a placement in a sterile processing department.
What’s The Job Outlook For A Sterile Processing Technician In California?
The job outlook for sterile processing technicians in California is very positive; in fact, it’s considered to be one of the best states for those on this career path. It’s expected that the number of sterile processing technician roles in California will have increased by 13% between 2016 and 2026.
This is much higher than the national average increase in these roles. If you’re hoping to enter this profession, California is the ideal place to do it.
The Annual Salary For A Sterile Processing Technician In California
California also offers great earning potential for prospective sterile processing technicians. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean salary for a sterile processing technician in California is $55,930.
This is a significant improvement on the national mean annual salary, which is $42,420. It’s also a lot higher than many other states, such as South Dakota, where the mean annual wage is $33,390.
Statistics make it clear that you’re likely to earn significantly more working as a sterile processing technician in California than in most other states. When you combine this with the projected growth of jobs within the field, California is a very appealing place for you to start your career.
Where To Find Work As A Sterile Processing Technician In California
Once you’ve gained the relevant experience required by employers, it’s time to start applying for jobs. Remember, it’s highly unlikely that any employers in California will consider hiring you if you don’t have 400 hours of experience.
The best places for you to find job openings in California are job websites such as Monster, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter. Here, you’ll find job listings, as well as advice about how to put together a successful application.
You can also enquire within the healthcare facility where you carried out your training to see if there are any job opportunities there.
Is becoming a sterile processing technician in California worth it?
Becoming a sterile processing technician in California is rewarding in many ways. In terms of salary, it’s one of the best states in the US. You also don’t need to take on much educational debt to become certified. Plus, the number of roles within the state is steadily increasing.
Most sterile processing technicians find their jobs satisfying and professionally rewarding.
Do sterile processing technicians in California have opportunities for career progression?
When you enter the field, you’ll begin as a sterile processing tech. If you’re committed to the role, there will usually be room for career progression and promotion. For instance, you could move up into a management role or into a role in a specialized facility working with specialist medical equipment.