Sterile Processing Technician Schools In New Jersey – Find Programs
One of the most important background roles of any well-functioning healthcare system is that of the sterile processing technician.
Away from patients and working diligently behind the scenes, processing technicians ensure that all the medical equipment and surgical instruments used in patient care are being properly sterilized and processed correctly for reuse in surgical centers, hospitals, clinics, and doctors’/dentists’ offices.
With their expert knowledge and specialized skills, sterile processing technicians work to ensure that sanitization procedures are up to standard to maintain a high level of infection control.
New Jersey Requirements For Sterile Processing Technicians
New Jersey operates differently from most other states when it comes to the minimum requirements needed to work as a sterile processing technician. Although they do not have state-specific regulations or credentials, they require processing technicians to be certified through a nationally recognized association.
It is not necessary to have the official sterile processing technician certificate to initially work as a processing technician. However, the certification will need to be acquired within the first 3 years of employment.
National Certifications For Sterile Processing Technicians
There are two main sterile processing associations that are well-recognized in the U.S. healthcare industry. There is the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) and the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA)
The CBSPD offers a certification that is valid for 5 years. After this period, it can be renewed through a review process and a short study program that includes test questions.
To qualify to take the CBSPD certification exam, students are required to have completed an official sterile processing program at an educational institution or to be already working within the sterile processing industry.
HSPA (formerly known as the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management) offers a nationally and internationally recognized sterile processing certification. Upon completion of the certification exam, you will be officially recognized as a Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST).
The CRCST certification from HSPA is valid for 1 year but can be renewed yearly without the need to retake the exam.
To be eligible to take the CRCST exam, students need to have 400 hours of hands-on work experience working in the sterilization of medical instruments and surgical equipment at an established clinical site. These 400 hours need to be completed within the 5 years leading up to the certification exam, or 6 months after passing it.
Education Programs And Training For Sterile Processing In New Jersey
In New Jersey, there are a few processing technician educational/training programs to choose from. All programs mentioned below help in some way to prepare students to take the necessary nationally recognized HPSA certification exam.
Berkley College offers a full-time, 1-year program, with three NJ campuses to choose from.
Students can expect to gain:
- In-depth knowledge of decontamination theory & techniques
- Clinical skills in a surgical processing environment
- Comprehensive knowledge of anatomy & physiology
- An understanding of legal & ethical health science practices
To apply to this program, students will need to meet the following requirements:
- Hold a high school diploma
- Go through a criminal background check
- Pass a physical evaluation
- Pass drug screening
- Hold up-to-date immunizations
Additionally, the credits completed in this CRCST program can count towards getting a Health Sciences associate degree at BC.
Medical Carrer Institute and Marie’s Allied Health & Technical Institute
The Medical Career Insitute (MCI) and Marie’s Allied Health & Technical Institute (MAHTI) both offer extensive in-person training programs.
MCI’s program is 32 weeks long, with classes 4 times a week. Students can opt to take day or night classes. MAHTI’s program is 52 weeks long and only meets twice a week in the evenings.
Both programs cover the following core topics:
- Anatomy & physiology
- Microbiology & infection prevention
- Decontamination and sterilization procedures
- Identification & proper handling of complex surgical instruments
The Americation Career and Training School
The Americation Career and Training School offers an online self-paced, 2-month program in which students will learn:
- Microbiology & infection control
- Packaging & storage of medical instruments
- Inventory control and distribution
- Anatomy & physiology terminology
- Decontamination & sterilization of surgical instruments/patient care equipment
Salary Range In New Jersey
As per a 2021 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual income for a central service technician in New Jersey is $44,760, or roughly $21.52 per hour.
In the same labor statistics report, the national mean salary was $42,420. This means that New Jersey’s average income for central service technicians is a couple of thousand dollars higher per year than what the rest of the country typically earns for the same position.
However, factors such as geographical location and healthcare facility determine how much income a sterile processing technician actually makes in New Jersey. The highest reported income for New Jersey in 2021 was $61,370 and the lowest was $37,300.
New Jersey Work Opportunities And Career Outlook
New Jersey is one of the states with the highest location quotient (1.45). This means that NJ employs more people within the sterile processing industry than the rest of the country does.
Although there is not a lot of data on the regional areas within New Jersey, the metropolitan areas of Newark (near New York City, NY) and Jersey City are likely to have a higher employment rate due to the more dense population found there.
The 2021 labor statics did however note that Atlantic City held a location quotient of 2. This means that the Atlantic City area employs double the amount of sterile processing technicians than the rest of the nation does.
Is being a processing technician physically demanding?
Yes, you will be standing for long periods of time in addition to walking to deliver supplies and lifting inventory stock.
Will I be in danger of contracting a disease while working as a sterile processing technician?
It is not likely as you will be wearing personal protective equipment, following strict infection control protocols, and up to date on personal immunizations.