Sterile Processing Technician Schools in New Mexico – Find Programs
The sterile processing of surgical instruments and medical equipment is an integral part of any healthcare system, with the diligent work of the technicians at its core.
The sterilization process is critical for infection control within healthcare facilities. Specific procedures and specialized knowledge are necessary to ensure the highest level of sanitary conditions.
Sterile processing technicians are healthcare professionals responsible for the sterilization of various medical tools. They are also responsible for the installation and preparation of patient care equipment used in the medical, surgical, dental, and laboratory sectors.
New Mexico State Requirements for Sterile Processing Technicians
Although there are no requirements needed to be a sterile processing technician in New Mexico, most healthcare facilities will want an employee to have some training in sterile processing. Alternatively, they will need to complete a training program specific to that particular healthcare facility.
At a minimum, a high school diploma is required to apply for processing technician jobs. Though, few employers will be satisfied with that level of education alone and will likely choose medical equipment preparers that are sterile processing technician grads.
Despite there being no specific healthcare sterile processing certification needed to practice in New Mexico, it is advantageous to undergo some formal or continued education to hold a nationally recognized certification.
Having relevant training and certification to practice will help when searching for jobs related to the field. Higher education levels might even help meet a higher-than-average salary.
Sterile Processing Certifications To Become A Processing Technician
As there is no education requirement in New Mexico to begin a career in sterile processing, some employers will look for the completion of a national sterile processor certification when hiring a sterile processing technician. The Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) offers a certification that is nationally recognized in the U.S. and valid for 5 years.
To take the certification exam, students are required to either have work experience with sterile processing or must have completed an official education program in sterile processing technician training
The Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA) is an international association that also offers a nationally recognized certification. Upon completion of the exam offered, the HSPA certification is valid for 1 year. If renewed in time, there is no need to take the certification exam again.
Their certification program is intended for students who have had a bit more work experience within the healthcare field. Upon completion, they are authorized to practice as Certified Registered Central Service Technicians.
Training Programs for Sterile Processing
There are a couple of sterile processing educational/training programs within New Mexico that interested students can complete which will help them into various sterile processing technician careers.
The Central New Mexico Community College offers a Sterile Processing Technician Certificate. It is a 4-month classwork-labwork combined program.
Over two courses, the certificate program covers a comprehensive introduction to the sterilization process. It covers topics such as;
- anatomy & surgical terminology
- microbiology & infection control
- sanitary packaging & storage
- instruments & equipment inventory
- installing & maintaining equipment for operating rooms/central processing units
San Juan College offers a 1-2 year intensive surgical technology program/associate degree with a one-term-long course that specifically covers central sterile processing. This course can be taken alone but should only be done so by those already holding sterile processing technician jobs.
Their program covers an array of topics such as;
- cellular biology
- anatomy & physiology
- surgery prep & operating room sterilization
- medical terminology & communications
- central sterile department organization & dispensing
- sterilization & handling of specialized surgical/medical equipment
A certified surgical technologist can on average earn up to $44,820 per year. The approximate hourly rate of $21.55. These figures are according to a report done by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2021.
Earnings also depend on where in the medical field and the type of healthcare facilities. The highest paying facility was specialized hospitals (national average salary of $59,180). The lowest paying facility was dentist offices (national average salary of $47,800).
Work Opportunities and Career Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare sector made up of medical practitioners and technical occupations accounted for approximately 6.2% of the U.S. national employment for 2021. Surgical technology and sterile technician positions fall under this percentage.
Within New Mexico alone, there was a total of 740 surgical technologists hired in 2021. The average employment rate is 0.95 per 1,000 jobs. Additionally, the salary and employment rate for sterile processing technician majors varies depending on geographic location within New Mexico.
Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest city has the highest employment rate for 2021. It had 450 hires, but an average annual salary of $45,180. This is compared to the northern non-metropolitan areas. They host higher annual salaries of around $46,800, but lower rates of hire. There were around 120 persons hired in the entire northerly quarter of New Mexico in 2021.
Is sterile processing rewarding work?
Yes, you can take pride in keeping your fellow healthcare workers and patients safe from infectious diseases and other biohazards.
What are the best qualities a processing technician can have?
Strong organizational skills and sharp attention to detail are of the utmost importance when working in sterile processing.