Sterile Processing Technician Schools In North Carolina – Find Programs
Away from the commotion of the healthcare frontline, you’ll find sterile processing technicians (SPT) hard at work to keep clinicians and patients safe.
With their expertise in decontamination and infection control, they play a vital role in keeping all medical facilities running. Without them, there would be no quality assurance that the necessary sanitary standards were being met.
The primary responsibilities of processing technicians (also known as medical equipment preparers) include:
- Sterilizing instruments
- The distribution of surgical tools and medical equipment
- Inventory management of instruments, supplies, and equipment
Requirements For Central Sterile Processing Technicians In North Carolina
There are no legal requirements to practice as an SPT at a medical facility in the state of Carolina.
Instead, processing technicians assist licensed medical professionals (such as medical doctors or registered nurses) to make sure that all sanitation procedures are strictly followed.
North Carolina Certifications For Central Sterile Processing Technicians
Besides a high school diploma, there are no state-wide requisites needed to work in the SPT industry. As a result, there are no official certifications specific to North Carolina for prospective processing technicians or medical equipment preparers.
That said, there are national and international accredited associations that can provide students with certification.
Gaining an official qualification from a certification board could prove helpful in opening up more job prospects. Holding a formal certification also improves the salary range for a prospective central sterile processing technician.
The U.S. recognizes certification from two major associations:
- The Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA)
- The Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD)
The HSPA offers a Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) certification upon the successful completion of its national exam.
To qualify for the exam, students must have undergone 400 hours of experience in a clinical setting. Taking a central sterile processing course can help candidates get the experience hours required to sit the exam.
The CBSPD offers its own nationally recognized technician certification. To be eligible to write their exam, exam takers must either have 24 months of work experience, or work experience and some formal education.
Education Programs And Training For Sterile Processing In North Carolina
There are several technical colleges in North Carolina offering a central sterile processing program.
Durham Technical Community College, Fayetteville Technical Community College, and Wake Technical Community College all offer a 3-course, 1-semester comprehensive SPT program that prepares students for the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution exam.
Students enrolled in any of the above programs will receive training on:
- Sterilization processing techniques
- Managing the central service supply unit
- Distribution of instruments, supplies, and equipment
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community Collegedoes not offer a central sterile processing program, but it does offer a surgical technology program.
Surgical technology focuses on the specific skills and knowledge needed to assist surgeons in operating rooms. Although the ST program does not follow the same central sterile processing curriculum, it covers basic sterilization procedures for medical instruments, supplies, and equipment.
Sterile Processing Technician Salary Range In North Carolina
According to a 2021 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary that a central sterile processing technician could expect to make is $36,460 – an hourly rate of roughly $17.53. This is significantly lower than the national average annual income of $42,420.
That being said, a processing technician can potentially earn up to $47,250. Variables include location, type of healthcare facility, and any industry-related certification.
North Carolina Work Opportunities And Career Outlook
The areas in North Carolina with higher employment rates for central sterile processing technicians coincide with the larger, more populated cities. The three cities with the most work opportunities are Charlotte, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem.
In 2021, Charlotte employed 420 processing technicians, followed by Winston-Salem (280), and Raleigh (170).
Will I need work experience to enroll in a sterile processing technician training program?
Yes – in some cases. Each program is slightly different in terms of admission requirements. Double-check the websites of the school or college to be sure about the requirements and weather .
Does a sterile processing tech work with patients?
It is not likely that you will work face-to-face with patients. However, you will be working with other healthcare professionals on a regular basis.