How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Arkansas

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If you’re searching for a healthcare career that won’t require years of med school and tons of student debt, a career as a Sterile Processing Technician might be right for you.

You could learn to keep medical tools sterilized and decontaminated in advance of procedures, ensuring you have a part in the process of helping people heal and recover.

If that sounds right up your alley, read on to find out how you can become a Sterile Processing Tech in the state of Arkansas!

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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How to Become an SPT

Arkansas doesn’t require any sort of degree or certification for SPTs, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look into getting certified.

Though you can, in theory, get a job in Sterile Processing with just your high school diploma or GED, the job market is very competitive, so getting yourself certified will give you a leg up on other candidates.

Luckily, the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association offers five levels of certification, four of which are specific for SPTs.

The Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA)

You can obtain your certification through one of the HSPA’s four levels of certifications:

  • Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) – the base-level certification for SPTs
  • Certified Endoscope Reprocessor (CER) – an endoscope-specific certification
  • Certified Instrument Specialist (CIS) – an advanced instrument certification
  • Certified Healthcare Leader (CHL) – a certification for SPT management

Once you’ve submitted your full application, complete with all the necessary documentation, and get accepted, you’ll be able to take the certification test of your choosing.

The HSPA provides everything you’ll need to study for the test, from content outlines and reference materials to online courses to the HSPA’s Certification Handbook.

Passing the test grants you certification for an entire year, and renewal is relatively easy.

You’ll just have to prove you’ve been attending continuing education courses, keeping abreast of any new or improved SP techniques, and pay a $50 renewal fee.

Sterile Processing Schools in Arkansas

If you’d like a little extra preparation before you take the certification test, however, the best thing to do is attend an accredited program.

Luckily, there are a few colleges in Arkansas that offer SP programs.

Southeast Arkansas College Marketing | Southeast Arkansas College (SEARK)

Southeast Arkansas College’s Sterile Processing program prepares students specifically for a different certification test — the Certification Board for Sterile Processing Distribution’s (CBSPD) exam.

However, it’s likely that a lot of the quiz materials overlap with HSPA’s CRCST exam, so the course should prepare you adequately for that, too.

Their admission qualifications are a bit specific compared to other courses.

In addition to your high school diploma or GED, you’ll also need one or all of the following test scores:

  • Accuplacer Reading score of  at least 75
  • Next Generation Accuplacer Reading score of at least 250 ACT Reading score of at least 19 
  • COMPASS Reading score of at least 83, OR 
  • Completion of a courses in developmental reading with a letter grade of C or better

You’ll also need to pass a drug test and a background check and be CPR certified.

You will also be charged a fee for malpractice insurance, but Financial Aid is available for students enrolled in the program.

Arkansas State University Logo Download Library

Arkansas State’s online course prepares you directly for the HSPA’s CRCST exam — as well as inventory management, storage guidelines, and even human relations in a hospital setting.

Enrollment in the course also allows you access to their Clinical Experience Guide and Clinical Experience Team.

You will need a high school diploma or GED, a stable internet connection, and a PC, Mac, or Chromebook in order to take the course, as well as access to an email account.

The self-paced, 12-month course is 190 hours long and costs $3,390 total, which can be paid in installments with Affirm.

They offer open enrollment, and all course materials will be shipped to you as soon as you’re enrolled.

Northwest Technical InstituteNorthwest Technical Institute - Arkansas NEXT

For a shorter program, you could take a look at Northwest Technical Institute’s 14-week SPT course.

The course costs approximately $1,406 for in-state attendees, with classess Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.

In order to apply, you’ll need to pay the $10 application fee and score a 224 or higher for Reading Comprehension on the Next Generation Accuplacer test, which also costs $10.

You must also submit your official transcripts, whether they’re high school, college, or a record of your GED, as well as proof of CPR certification and at least one letter of recommendation.

Their health and safety standards also require:

  • Two measles and rubella vaccines
  • A negative TB skin test or chest X-ray
  • Either two chicken pox vaccines or physician proof that you at one point had chicken pox
  • A DTAP vaccine in the past ten years whose effectiveness will cover the length of the course
  • Three Hepatitis B vaccines
School Name Address
Southeast Arkansas College 1900 Hazel Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas 71603
Arkansas State University 2105 Aggie Rd Jonesboro, AR 72401 US
Northwest Technical Institute 709 S Old Missouri Road Springdale, AR 72764


But what could you actually make as an SPT?

In the state of Arkansas, Sterile Processing Technicians make $41,107 on average, though some make as much as $45,820.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Little Rock $41,654
Fort Smith $39,402
North Little Rock $41,654
Fayetteville $41,094
Jonesboro $41,486
Pine Bluff $40,372
Springdale $41,094
Conway $41,248
Rogers $40,851
Hot Springs $41,248

Regional Salary in Arkansas

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR160$34,130$16.41$38,240$30,260
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Medical Equipment Preparers, OCC Code 31-9093, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be licensed to work as a Sterile Processing Technician in Arkansas?

No, but getting your certification will help your job search in the long run!

Are there any online Sterile Processing courses available in Arkansas?

Yes, Arkansas State University offers an online, self-paced Sterile Processing course with open enrollment.

How much could I make as a Sterile Processing Technician in Arkansas?

SPTs usually make about $41,107 in Arkansas, though you could fluctuate anywhere between $36,000 to almost $46,000.

Certification  gives you a better shot at a higher wage overall.

Sterile Processing Technician Info by State

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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