Is Being A Sterile Processing Technician Stressful?

Processing sterile materials is a relatively low-stress job, despite the high demands that come with it. While this position has high expectations and a heavy workload, it is generally less stressful than other healthcare jobs due to the minimal patient interaction involved. Additionally, sterile processing technicians have limited involvement in complex decision-making directly impacting a patient’s health.

What Is A Sterile Processing Technician?

Technicians who clean surgical instruments and equipment are known as sterile processing specialists. To prepare for both planned and urgent surgeries, they organize surgical units. Central sterile technicians use autoclaves and other specialized sterile equipment to sterilize reusable surgical instruments. Hospital hygiene resources are also taken care of by sterile process technicians. They even keep track of where clean tools are located.

Is Sterile Processing Stressful?

The responsibilities of a sterile processing tech are considerable, as they require an unwavering focus on detail and a delicate touch when handling sensitive machinery. Additionally, the following tasks contribute to the level of responsibility associated with this role:

  • Collecting soiled and used equipment
  • Preparing tools and materials for decontamination and sorting
  •  Given the critical nature of sterilizing and cleaning medical equipment and instruments, sterile processing technicians must exercise extreme caution. Their duties involve retrieving contaminated supplies, delivering sterilized supplies, managing inventory, and assembling clean instrument trays for surgeries, tests, and procedures.

Other Duties Of Sterile Processing Job:

    Certified Sterile Processing Tech

    The responsibilities associated with this position can be demanding due to the need for meticulous attention to detail and a gentle touch when handling delicate machinery. The following are examples of duties that are carried out by certified sterile processing tech: Collect used and contaminated tools, supplies, and equipment for separation and decontamination.

  • Perform manual decontamination of supplies, remove waste, and operate and maintain equipment.
  • Maintain and operate sterilization machinery.
  • Thoroughly inspect supplies to ensure they have been properly cleaned and sanitized.
  • Test sterilization equipment and report any issues.
  • Sterilize, prepare, wrap, and fill instrument trays with the necessary supplies for medical procedures.
  • Prepare and deliver all tools and equipment required for operations, tests, treatments, and medical carts for those holding sterile processing certification.

How To Become A Sterile Processing Technician?

To become a certified sterile processing tech, there are a few steps you can take:

Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent: A high school diploma or GED is usually required to pursue a career as a sterile processing technician.

Complete a sterile processing technician program: You can enroll in a sterile processing technician program offered by community colleges, technical schools, or vocational schools. These programs typically last between 6-12 months and provide training in sterilization techniques, infection control, and handling medical instruments.

Gain work experience: Many healthcare facilities require sterile processing technicians to have some work experience in the field. You can gain experience by working as an intern or apprentice in a healthcare facility.

Obtain certification: Although certification is not always required, it can enhance your job prospects and earning potential. The Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) and International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM) both offer sterile processing diplomas.

Apply for jobs: Once you have completed your training and gained some work experience, you can start applying for jobs in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, surgical centers, and clinics.

Advantages Of Becoming A Sterile Processing Technician

Becoming a sterile processing technician is a great career choice for individuals interested in healthcare and medical fields. Sterile processing technicians play a crucial role in ensuring that medical instruments, equipment, and devices are safe and free from contamination before they are used in surgical procedures. Here are some advantages of becoming a sterile processing technician:

High demand: As the healthcare industry continues to grow, so does the need for certified sterile processing tech. This means that individuals with the proper training and certification are in high demand, making it easier to find job opportunities in various healthcare facilities.

Job security: Due to the high demand for sterile processing technicians, individuals who pursue this career path can enjoy job security. As long as healthcare facilities require surgical procedures, sterile processing technicians will always be needed.

sterile program

Opportunity for growth: Becoming a sterile processing technician is just the beginning. With experience, individuals can move up the ladder to supervisory positions or transition to related roles such as surgical technologist or healthcare administrator.

Competitive salary: The median annual salary for a sterile processing technician is around $38,000-$45,000, which is competitive compared to other entry-level healthcare positions.

Fulfilling work: Central service technicians play a critical role in ensuring patient safety and preventing the spread of infection. Knowing that their work directly contributes to the well-being of patients can be a source of pride and fulfillment for individuals in this profession.


A sterile processing technician’s job is undoubtedly tricky. They have daily errands to run in the clinics and hospitals. Yet, even though this industry has many benefits and drawbacks, interest in careers in this area is remarkably growing. Learn more with PTTI’s sterile processing certification.

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