How to Become a Sterile Processing Tech in Texas

sterile processing

According to the Bureau of Labor, Texas is the #1 state in the country for surgical assistant employment.  Learn how to get started on this rewarding career path.

Education & Training

For those with no little or experience, an online certification course is the best way to begin:

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

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Benefits of Taking a Course

While you will gain all the necessary knowledge to perform the joob, the main benefit will be the ability to take the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) exam, from the HSPA.

Healthcare Sterile Processing Association

What Will You Study?

A range of topics such as:

Sterilization techniques: Prospective sterile processing technicians learn about various methods of sterilizing medical instruments and equipment, including steam sterilization, chemical sterilization using disinfectants, and procedures for monitoring the effectiveness of sterilization processes.

Microbiology, anatomy, and physiology: Students study the fundamentals of microbiology, human anatomy, and physiology to understand the biological basis of infection transmission, the structure and function of human tissues and organs, and how these factors relate to patient care and safety.

Decontamination procedures: The procedures and protocols for removing contaminants and infectious agents from medical instruments and equipment ensure they are safe for further patient processing and use.

Instrument assembly and packaging: Prospective technicians learn how to correctly assemble and package sterilized instruments and equipment to maintain their sterility and ensure they are ready for use in medical procedures.

Quality assurance: Students are taught methods for ensuring the quality and effectiveness of sterilization processes, including monitoring and documentation procedures to track equipment performance and verify compliance with regulatory standards.

Regulatory standards: This area of study focuses on the regulations and guidelines set forth by organizations such as OSHA and AAMI, which govern the safe handling, processing, and sterilization of medical instruments and equipment in healthcare settings.

Hands-on training in sterile processing facilities: Students gain practical experience working in simulated or actual sterile processing environments, where they learn to apply their knowledge and skills in instrument processing, equipment maintenance, and workflow management under the guidance of experienced professionals.

How Long Does it Take?

6 months to 1 year.

Alternatively, some individuals pursue an associate degree in sterile processing or a related field, typically taking about 2 years to complete.

How Much Does it Cost?

$2,500 for the program above.  The price will be different if you pursue other programs. Monthly financing is an option.

Other Local Trade School Programs

    Concorde Career College
    4 month Sterile Processing Technician Diploma with 80 hour externship in hybrid format.

    • Dallas, Grand Prairie, San Antonio


Salary Range

Here are some local numbers from the BLS:

  • Corpus Christi: $58,860
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington: $77,650
  • El Paso: $61,350
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land: $66,580
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission: $79,620
  • San Antonio-New Braunfels: $74,990
  • Tyler: $53,580

Certification

In Texas, individuals typically need to pass one of these two nationally recognized certification exams:

These exams assess knowledge and competency in sterilization techniques, infection control, equipment management, and regulatory standards. Upon successfully passing the exam, individuals earn the respective certification (CRCST or CSPDT), demonstrating their proficiency and readiness to work as sterile processing technicians in Texas healthcare facilities.

Additionally, while not mandatory, some employers in Texas may require candidates to hold a current Basic Life Support (BLS) certification from the American Heart Association (AHA) or a similar organization, demonstrating competency in basic life-saving techniques such as CPR.

Typical Job Description

Techs are responsible for performing a range of duties aimed at ensuring the cleanliness, sterilization, and readiness of patient equipment, instruments, and supplies necessary for the care and treatment of patients.

Their daily duties and responsibilities could include:

Essential Functions:

  • Preparation and Organization: Prepares rooms and organizes instruments, equipment, treatment trays, and supplies for various departments.
  • Cleaning and Decontamination: Cleans and decontaminates instruments, containers, and patient equipment using appropriate detergents and disinfectant solutions, adhering to regulatory standards and internal policies.
  • Sterilization Operations: Operates semi-automatic and automatic sterilization equipment and washers. Performs all steam, Sterrad, and ethylene oxide sterilization activities ensuring cycle and documentation accuracy.
  • Inventory and Distribution: Manages inventory, orders, replenishes, and distributes instruments, reusable medical equipment, and medical supplies including surgical carts. Assures accuracy in the assembly and packaging of all necessary instrumentation and equipment for sterilization.
  • Compliance and Safety: Ensures compliance with safety, environmental, manufacturer, and infection control practices. Inspects and lubricates all instruments and power equipment as per manufacturer recommendations to ensure cleanliness and proper working order.
  • Training and Support: Participates in providing in-service training, and assists in training and mentoring of Level 1 Sterile Processing staff.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Instrument Processing: Performs instrument processing activities, including decontamination, assembly, sterilization, and restocking of instruments to remote locations, ensuring availability to areas providing direct patient care.
  • Routine Cleaning and Maintenance: Participates in routine cleaning activities of sterilizers, surface areas, storage carts, etc. Transports and decontaminates all soiled instrumentation and equipment, ensuring items are cleaned and disinfected.
  • Customer Service: Maintains customer focus and service responsiveness, answering incoming calls in a timely manner and responding immediately to emergency requests.

Key Success Factors:

  • Expertise in Sterilization: Proficient knowledge of equipment and instrument sterilization methods and procedures.
  • Medical Knowledge: Understanding of basic medical terminology.
  • Communication Skills: Strong relational and communication skills to interact effectively with patients and staff.
  • Compliance: Ability to comply with safety, environmental, manufacturer, and infection control practices.

Prioritization: Ability to prioritize work activities to ensure that all instruments are available as needed for scheduled surgical procedures on a daily basis.

Pursuing a career as a sterile processing technician in Texas opens doors to a vital role within the healthcare industry, where precision and attention to detail are crucial.

Whether you’re drawn to the field by a passion for ensuring patient safety or seeking a dynamic profession with growth opportunities, becoming a sterile processing technician can be fulfilling. From understanding the intricacies of sterilization techniques to mastering the latest advancements in medical equipment management, the path to becoming a certified sterile processing technician in Texas involves a blend of education, hands-on training, and dedication to excellence.

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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