How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Florida

prepping for surgery

Florida is the #5 state in the country for surgical assisting employment, according to the Bureau of Labor. It’s a great place to get started in this occupation.

Education & Training

Online certification courses, like ones below, can help you take the first steps.

Local Trade School Programs

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    Herzing University
    The online Diploma in Sterile Processing, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, offers a 24-credit program over 8 months to prepare students for a career and the CRCST certification exam. Featuring a flexible schedule, career-focused curriculum, and options to earn college credits for future advancement into a Surgical Technologist degree program.

    • Orlando, Tampa


    Pinellas Technical College
    Aims to enhance patient safety by providing a comprehensive education in medical device reprocessing, including courses on basic healthcare skills, central sterile service materials management, and sterile processing techniques, along with hybrid distance education, culminating in eligibility for the CRCST Certification Exam.

    • Clearwater, St. Petersburg


    South College

    • Orlando


How Long Does It Take?

Certification preparation courses, such as the ones above take about 12 months to complete.

Associate degree programs in sterile processing or a related field, generally takes 2 years to complete at a community college or vocational school.

So, becoming a certified sterile processing technician in Florida can take anywhere from 1 to 2 years, depending on the individual’s educational and career goals.

How Much Does It Cost?

$2800 for the certification course above.

Associate degree programs typically cost more due to their longer duration and may range from several thousand to tens of thousands in tuition and fees.

What Will You Study?

In a sterile processing technician course in Florida, students cover various topics essential for maintaining sterile environments in healthcare settings.

Some key points include:

  • Sterilization techniques: Understanding various steam, chemical, and gas plasma sterilization methods.
  • Infection control protocols: Learning principles of aseptic technique and measures to prevent the spread of infections.
  • Medical terminology: Familiarizing with the names and functions of medical instruments and equipment.
  • Regulatory compliance: Understanding state and federal guidelines governing sterile processing procedures.
  • Equipment maintenance: Learning to clean, inspect, and assemble medical instruments for sterilization.
  • Workplace safety: Training on handling hazardous materials and proper use of personal protective equipment.
  • Quality assurance: Ensuring the effectiveness of sterilization processes through monitoring and documentation.
  • Professional ethics: Emphasizing the importance of integrity, confidentiality, and professionalism in healthcare.

How Will You Benefit?

Completing a sterile processing program benefits you both personally and professionally.

Upon completion, you will:

Healthcare Sterile Processing Association

Salary Range

To give you an idea what you can make, below is a survey of salaries:

Average salaries for major Florida cities include:

City Hourly Yearly
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach $46.69 $97,120.00
Jacksonville $35.36 $73,540.00
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach $27.59 $57,380.00
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton $27.39 $56,960.00
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford $28.21 $58,680.00
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater $38.50 $80,070.00

Occupation: Surgical Assistants (SOC Code299093)
source: data.bls.gov

Considering the projected 5% career growth over the next decade, job opportunities for sterile processing technicians in Florida are expected to increase faster than the average for other occupations, potentially impacting salary trends positively.

organizing medical equipment

State Requirements

While Florida does not have its specific state certification for sterile processing technicians, employers often prefer or require candidates to hold national accreditation.

Certification

Previously, we mentioned the CRST certification.

Additional certifications from HSPA include:

CBSPD

CBSPD logo

In addition there is the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) that has a Technician Certification exam.

These certs will require passing an exam after completing a certain number of relevant work experience or training hours.  They demonstrate sterile processing techniques, infection control, and equipment handling competency.

Additionally, maintaining certification may require fulfilling continuing education requirements to stay updated on industry standards and best practices.

Entry Level Job Description

As a Sterile Processing Technician, or Central Service Technician, you play a critical role in healthcare operations by ensuring the cleanliness, sterilization, preparation, storage, and distribution of medical instruments.

An entry-level position as an SPT focuses on the sterilization and preparation of medical instruments and equipment.

No prior experience is typically required, but candidates must possess a high school diploma or equivalent.  Many employers provide on-the-job training, though completing a certificate program in sterile processing can enhance job prospects.

Job Duties

  1. Instrument Preparation and Delivery:
    • Clean and sterilize instruments and equipment for medical exams, surgeries, and clinical procedures.
    • Assemble sterilized medical equipment and surgical instruments into trays for clinical use.
  2. Pre-Procedure Setup:
    • Arrange surgical gloves and gowns prior to each procedure.
  3. Cleaning and Decontamination:
    • Collect, clean, and sort used and contaminated medical equipment and instruments.
    • Pack and prepare these items for the sterilization process.
  4. Sterilization Operations:
    • Operate and monitor sterilization equipment, such as autoclaves, to ensure all materials are sterile and safe.
    • Conduct meticulous inspections of supplies to confirm cleanliness.
  5. Equipment and Supply Management:
    • Maintain records of sterilization procedures, equipment maintenance, and inventory.
    • Manage inventory by reordering medical and surgical supplies, verifying expiration dates, and ensuring supply levels are maintained.
    • Report any issues with sterilization equipment and request necessary replacements.
  6. Waste Management:
    • Properly remove and dispose of medical waste.
  7. Preparation for Surgical Procedures:
    • Review and prepare inventory, assessing equipment and materials to ready the surgical suite for upcoming procedures.

A career as a sterile processing technician can serve as a vital first step for individuals looking to contribute to the healthcare sector, offering opportunities for professional growth and specialization in a field committed to patient care and safety.

Search Sterile Processing Technician Programs

Get information on Sterile Processing Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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