How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Iowa

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Do you wish you could have a career in healthcare without having to go to med school or get a degree?

You should consider becoming a Sterile Processing Technician, a necessary member of any hospital, medical center, or clinic.

SPTs sanitize and decontaminate medical tools, then distribute them to surgeons for medical procedures.

Read on to find out what you need to do to become an SPT in Iowa.

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How to Become an SPT

Like most states, you don’t need to be certified or have any sort of degree to work as a Sterile Processing Technician in Iowa.

However, it’s still highly recommended that you pursue certification through the HSPA, which has been certifying people since 1971 and even has Iowa-specific seminars available for those interested.

That way, you’ll have experience and certification — and a better chance at getting hired.

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

Before you can get accepted to a testing session, you’ll have to submit an application and pass a criminal background check.

Before the test, you’ll be provided with all you need to study: online courses, content outlines, reference materials, and the HSPA’s Certification Handbook.

Certification lasts for a full calendar year, after which you’ll have to renew by paying a $50 fee and showing that you’ve taken some continuing education courses.

Sterile Processing Schools in Iowa

If you’d like to be even more prepared, Iowa has some Sterile Processing courses available.

Des Moines Area Community College

DMACC only offers their Sterile Processing Supply Tech course every Fall semester, with info sessions available every August.

It’s a total of 60 course hours, broken down into 40 hours of classroom instruction and 20 hours of clinical experience, and costs only $745.

Classes are every Friday from 10:30 am-2:30 pm.

Iowa Western Community College

In order to apply for IWCC’s Sterile Processing Course, you need to pass a background and drug test administered by the school and provide documentation that you’re up to date on your vaccinations (including COVID-19 vaccinations).

The course costs $795 in total, including tuition and all the supplies you’ll need, and an additional $150 non-refundable processing fee; however, Iowa residents may qualify for free tuition.

The end goal of the course is to prepare students to take the National Certification as a Sterile Processing Technician test.

Kirkwood Community College

Kirkwood Community College provides a Central Sterilization Service Technician course that costs $699. 

The non-credit course is 10 weeks long and 100 hours in total.

It directly follows the training methods provided by the HSPA to prepare students to take the certification test, and it includes both classroom instruction and clinical training.

Iowa Lakes Community College

Iowa Lakes Community College offers a self-paced, 190-hour course for Sterile Processing that takes place mostly online.

The course also includes a voucher so you don’t have to pay the registration fees for the HSPA’s certification course.

Apart from the clinical hours, the course is fully online, and it costs $3,290 in total.

All you’ll need is a functional computer and internet to complete the course, as well as access to a personal email account — everything else will be provided for you.

School Name Address
Des Moines Area Community College 1144 7th St. Des Moines, IA 50314
Iowa Western Community College 2700 College Rd. Council Bluffs, IA 51503
Kirkwood Community College 6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404
Iowa Lakes Community College 300 South 18th Street Estherville, IA 51334 US


You can expect to make an average base salary of $43,271 a year in Iowa.

Some SPTs make over $48,000 a year, though, depending on their experience and training.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Des Moines $43,665
Cedar Rapids $43,262
Davenport $42,912
Sioux City $39,251
Waterloo $41,114
Iowa City $42,909
Council Bluffs $42,748
Dubuque $42,681
Ames $43,258
West Des Moines $43,665

Regional Salary in Iowa

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL50$38,410$18.46$46,410$30,920
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA100$36,750$17.67$47,540$31,390
Iowa City, IA150$42,080$20.23$53,210$32,750
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD40$39,140$18.82$51,430$31,560
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA40$35,890$17.26$43,100$31,600
* 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 certified to be a Sterile Processing Technician in Iowa?

No, like most US states Iowa doesn’t require certification for Sterile Processing Techs, but certification is highly suggested to give you a better chance at getting hired.

How much can I make as a Sterile Processing Technician in Iowa?

On average, Sterile Processing Techs make $43,271 a year in Iowa.

Are there any Sterile Processing Training courses in Iowa?

Yes, there are a couple affordable in-person Sterile Processing courses in Iowa, as well as one fully online course.

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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