What is a Sterile Processing Tech?

A Sterile Processing Technician, also called a SPD Technician, is a medical professional responsible for the cleaning, decontamination, sterilization, and preparation of surgical instruments for use in operating rooms and other medical settings.

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Job Description

A Sterile Processing Technician is responsible for the sterilization of surgical equipment and instruments. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and laboratories. Their work is essential to protecting patients from infection.


A sterile processing technician, also known as a medical equipment preparer or decontamination technician, is an allied health professional who sterilizes and prepares medical equipment and devices for surgery. This is achieved through a series of processes that clean, disinfect and package the equipment for safe storage or use.

The duties of a sterile processing tech can be divided into three main categories: cleaning, decontaminating and sterilizing medical equipment; preparing medical instruments and devices for surgery; and maintaining accurate records of sterilization procedures.

Cleaning: Sterile processing techs must clean all types of medical equipment using approved methods and solutions. This includes crevices, nooks and crannies that can harbor contaminants. All surfaces must be free of dirt, debris, blood and other bodily fluids before the decontamination process can begin.

Decontaminating: Once all surfaces have been properly cleaned, the next step is to decontaminate the equipment. This is done using a combination of heat, chemicals and filtration to destroy all microorganisms. The goal is to remove as many contaminants as possible without damaging the integrity of the equipment.

Sterilizing: The final step in the process is to sterilize the equipment using either steam, dry heat or chemical vapor. This will kill any remaining microorganisms and make the equipment safe for surgical use. Sterile processing techs must follow strict protocols when sterilizing medical devices to ensure they are effective.

Preparing Equipment for Surgery: In addition to cleaning, decontaminating and sterilizing medical equipment, sterile processing techs must also prepare it for surgery. This includes assembling instrument trays according to surgical protocols, checking that all required items are included and ensuring that everything is properly labeled. Sterile processing techs must also maintain accurate records of all surgical procedures they prepare instruments for in case there are any questions or concerns later on.


A successful candidate for a sterile processing tech job will have completed an accredited certification program, and will have at least one year of experience working in a sterile processing department within a hospital or other healthcare facility. In addition to sterile processing and decontamination skills, the successful candidate will also have:

-Good communication skills
-The ability to work well under pressure
-Attention to detail
-The ability to follow written and verbal instructions
-Physical dexterity

Education and Training

If you’re interested in a career in sterile processing, you’ll need to complete a sterile processing tech program. This program will teach you how to properly clean and sterilize medical equipment. You’ll also learn how to handle hazardous materials and how to store medical supplies.


There are no formal education requirements for becoming a sterile processing technician, but many employers prefer candidates who have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. Many community colleges, technical schools and universities offer certificate and associate’s degree programs in sterile processing and related fields, such as medical technology. These programs can provide students with the technical skills and knowledge needed for the job and may improve their employment prospects. Some employers may require certification from the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM).


Working as a sterile processing tech can be a very rewarding career. It is a position that offers good pay and multiple opportunities for advancement. There are many different types of sterile processing tech jobs available, so it is important to do your research and find the one that is right for you.

The average salary for a sterile processing tech is $32,000 per year. The salary range for this position varies depending on experience, education, and location. Some sterile processing tech jobs may offer sign-on bonuses or other incentives.

Career Outlook

A Sterile Processing Tech is an individual who clean and sterilizes surgical instruments and equipment. They are an important part of the medical field and are in high demand. The career outlook for a Sterile Processing Tech is very good and the pay is decent.

Job Growth

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of sterile processing technicians is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. The aging population and the resulting demand for health care services are expected to lead to increased demand for sterile processing technicians in hospitals and other health care facilities.

If you’re interested in a career in sterile processing, you may also want to explore some related careers. These careers share some similar duties, such as working with healthcare tools and cleaning equipment, but there are also some key differences. Here’s a look at three careers that may be of interest to you:

-Surgical technologist: Surgical technologists work closely with surgeons and other members of the surgical team to ensure that operations run smoothly. They may help to set up the operating room, prepare and sterilize surgical instruments, and assist with patient care before and after surgery.
-Dental hygienist: Dental hygienists clean teeth and provide other preventive dental care. They also teach patients how to practice good oral hygiene.
-Central service technician: Central service technicians work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities to clean, sterilize, and maintain medical equipment. They may also be responsible for stocking supplies and conducting inventory control.

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