Sterile Processing Technician Schools In DC – Find Programs
Sterile processing technicians are an essential part of the healthcare sector. They are in charge of cleaning, packaging, distributing, storing, and, most importantly, sterilizing medical devices and surgical instruments.
Sterile processing technicians might not be directly involved in patient care, but if their duties are not performed correctly, it can still put patients’ lives in jeopardy. So, this role is just as important as any other career in the healthcare world.
However, becoming a sterile processing technician is a lot easier than becoming a nurse or a doctor, as you do not need to have a degree to be employed in a sterile processing department.
In this piece, we will be explaining how to become a sterile processing technician in Washington, DC. We will also provide you with a list of the best sterile processing technician programs in the state.
Licensing Requirements In Washington, DC
You do not need a license to practice as a sterile processing technician in Washington, DC, just like in many other states. At the very least, you will need to have a high school diploma or a GED if you want to enter the industry.
It is important to note, though, that most employers in Washington, DC will not consider you for a position if you have not gone through some form of sterile processing technician program. It would, therefore, be in your best interests to receive certification if you want to find employment in the industry.
How To Get Sterile Processing Technician Certification In Washington, DC
If you want to receive certification in the state of Washington, DC, you can go through the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA), which was formerly known as the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materials Management (IAHCSMM).
To receive certification through the HSPA, and become a Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST), you will need to pass the CRCST exam. While you do not need this certification to work as a sterile processing technician, it will help you stand out from other candidates when applying for a job. It will also allow you to practice in any state in the US.
Best Sterile Processing Technician Education Programs In Washington, DC
There are a few different training programs available near Washington, DC for sterile processing techs. Unfortunately, there aren’t any education options for sterile processing techs within the state, due to the size of the state.
All of them cover much of the same material, such as information relating to sterile processing methods like the techniques and equipment needed for decontaminating surgical equipment. In some rare cases, it is possible to find an employer who will provide you with on-the-job training, but these opportunities are fairly rare.
A high school diploma or equivalent will also be needed before you can enter one of these training programs.
Some of the training programs available near Washington, DC, include:
Fortis College can be found in Landover, Maryland, which is only around a 20-minute drive away from Washington, DC. The school offers a sterile processing technician program that prepares students for entry-level positions in the industry.
During the course of the program, students will learn about:
- The names and categories of surgical instruments.
- The proper processing mechanisms to prevent damage to equipment.
- The methods and processes related to decontaminating medical equipment.
The classroom material covered includes infection control and microbiology.
The Association For Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI)
The AAMI is located in Arlington, Virginia, which is around three hours away from Washington, DC. The AAMI does not have any specific sterile processing technician training programs, as the association only offers specialized training programs in sterilization.
The available programs include Radiation Sterilization for Medical Devices, Ethylene Oxide Sterilization, and Industrial Sterilization. These programs will not directly prepare you for the CRCST exam, but the knowledge you will gain will help you prepare.
Penn Foster College
Penn Foster College is an online institution that you can enroll in from any state in the US. The school offers a diploma in sterile processing, called a Sterile Processing Career Diploma. The program is mainly focused on helping students prepare for the CRCST exam, and allows you to take the course at your own pace.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (US BLS), sterile processing techs fall under the medical equipment preparers category. In 2021, the average annual salary of a medical equipment preparer in Washington, DC was $55,070.
This is higher than the national average salary for medical equipment preparers. However, your salary will depend on the amount of experience you have, the training you have received, and the type of facility you are working for.
If you have gone through a training program and received certification, you will not struggle to find a job as a sterile processing tech. However, it might be quite difficult to find a job as a sterile processing tech in Washington, DC, due to how small the state is.
It will be a lot easier to find a sterile processing tech job in every other state in the US. So, if you are struggling to find work you should consider Washington, DC’s neighboring states.
Where To Find Work As A Sterile Processing Technician In Washington, DC
In Washington DC, you may be able to find work as a sterile processing tech at one or more of the following facilities:
- MedStar Health
- Johns Hopkins Medical
- Howard University Hospital
- Sibley Memorial Hospital
- Children’s National Medical Center
However, you might also be able to find work at:
- Dentist practices
- Oral surgeon practices
- Outpatient surgical centers
- Surgery centers
- Medical companies
Do sterile processing technicians wear scrubs at work?
Yes, sterile processing techs need to wear scrub attire that covers their arms while they are packing and preparing medical instruments for sterilization.
What is on the CRCST exam?
The CRCST exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. The questions relate to seven key topics, which are: