How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in New Mexico

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A sterile processing technician (SPT) is responsible for sterilizing, cleaning, processing, assembling, storing, and distributing medical equipment and supplies.

If it weren’t for the incredible and diligent work they do daily, hospitals and other medical facilities would be overwhelmed by outbreaks, illnesses, and infections.

Considering how essential SPTs are to the industry, there will always be a demand for more.

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

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How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician – Step by Step

Becoming a sterile processing technician in New Mexico is a fairly straightforward process.

It generally takes 1-3 years to make your way through the postsecondary training program and internship, but the skills, experience, and knowledge gained will set you on a fast track to success in the SPT community.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a sterile processing technician, then you’ve come to the right place.

We’re going to teach you everything you need to know about becoming an SPT in New Mexico and the many different requirements that must be met before someone can confidently enter the workforce.

High School Diploma or GED

To ensure aspiring sterile processing technicians have the basic skills to advance in the industry, most training programs, internships, and employers require they be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.

Of course, this is relatively standard for most careers in the health/medical field.

If you haven’t received a high school diploma in New Mexico (or any other state), then you can sign up for the GED exam – a high school equivalency diploma open to anyone 18 years or over (you can take the exam at 16 or 17 if you have permission from your local school district, as well as your parents/guardians.

Enroll in an SPT Training Program

A high school diploma proves you have a basic understanding of medical terminology, but it won’t prepare you for the challenges you’ll face as an SPT.

Most of the skills and education needed to succeed in this career will be learned in an accredited postsecondary training program, which could take 1-2 years.

The four most prominent SPT training programs in New Mexico are offered by:

Aspiring technicians aren’t necessarily required to complete a training program to advance in this field, but it’s highly recommended for those who want to set themselves up for success.

Most programs offer a healthy balance of in-classroom learning and hands-on experience – preparing them for what lies ahead.

Complete an SPT Internship

Before a sterile processing technician can apply for certification, they must first complete an internship in the field.

This will be an aspiring technician’s first real experience working as an SPT – putting their skills and knowledge to the test.

Most internships take place inside a hospital, medical facility, or health clinic.

There are two main things to consider before starting an internship.

First, make sure you confirm that the internship is accredited by the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA).

Second, find yourself an internship that aligns with your standards, goals, expectations, and interests (make sure it’s a good fit).

Obtain a National Certification

Most internships are between 250 to 400 hours, which can take anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks to finish – this varies from one organization to the next.

Once finished, aspiring technicians will be ready to apply for a national certification.

There are two accrediting bodies for SPT certifications in the United States:

  • Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD)
  • Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA) [formerly IAHCSMM]

The HSPA certification is the more popular option because of its far-reaching presence across 40 states and four countries (China, Ghana, Pakistan, and Taiwan).

You can apply for the HSPA certification if you have 400 hours of on-the-job experience – you’ll need to pass an exam before earning the certification.

Start Applying to Job Listings

Congratulations – you’re officially a certified sterile processing technician and are ready to begin a career that you’ve worked so hard for.

All those months of training, in-classroom learning, on-the-job experience, and exams will prepare you for whatever this career throws at you – you’re going to do great; we know it!

You can start your job search on Indeed, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or whatever online job search engine you prefer.

You can also start introducing yourself to decision-makers in the industry by visiting nearby hospitals, medical facilities, research laboratories, surgery centers, health clinics, etc.

Sterile Processing Technician Schools in New Mexico

Enrolling in an SPT training program through an accredited school or organization is the best way to learn the ins and outs of the trade.

If you have a high school diploma and are looking to start your journey to becoming a sterile processing technician, here are a few of the most prominent programs to consider:

Central New Mexico Community CollegeCentral New Mexico Community College

  • Location: 900 University Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
  • Program: Surgical Technologist (Certificate or Degree)
  • Course Length: 5 terms (62 credit hours)
  • Tuition Cost: $3,700 (degree) or $264 (certificate)

Located in the heart of Albuquerque, NM, the Central New Mexico Community College offers two options for aspiring technicians – an Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology and a Certificate of Achievement as a sterile processing technician.

The degree will open the door to more opportunities.

San Juan CollegeSan Juan College

  • Location: 4601 College Blvd, Farmington, NM 87402
  • Program: Central Sterile Processing
  • Course Length: about two years
  • Tuition Cost: n/a

Located just 25 miles south of the Colorado border and three hours northwest of Albuquerque, NM, San Juan College offers a Central Sterile Processing program that leads to an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree – part of the Surgical Technology curriculum.

Courses are offered in the Fall and Spring.

University of New MexicoUniversity of New Mexico

  • Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Program: Sterile Processing Technician
  • Course Length: 1 year (190 course hours)
  • Tuition Cost: $3,000

Located in the heart of Albuquerque, NM, the University of New Mexico offers a one-year SPT program that’s available online – making it easy to receive a quality education from the comfort of your own home.

Aspiring technicians learn everything they need to know to pass the HSPA’s CRCST certification exam.

School Name Address
Central New Mexico Community College 4700 Morris St NE, Albuquerque, NM 87111, United States
San Juan College 4601 College Blvd, Farmington, NM 87402, United States
University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM 87131, United States

Sterile Processing Technician Salary in New Mexico

Sterile processing technicians make an average of $45,322 per year (between $39,982 and $50,521) in the United States – unfortunately, that salary dips to $41,805 for New Mexico residents (between $36,879 and $46,600).

Don’t let that discourage you, though – becoming an SPT is still one of the most rewarding, stable, and gratifying careers in the United States right now.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Albuquerque $42,613
Las Cruces $38,524
Santa Fe $42,829
Rio Rancho $42,477
Roswell $39,747
Farmington $42,042
Alamogordo $40,427
Clovis $40,828
Hobbs $40,459
Carlsbad $39,747

Regional Salary in New Mexico

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Albuquerque, NM150$42,780$20.57$50,740$31,490
* 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

How long does it take to become a sterile processing technician in New Mexico?

It can take anywhere from 1-3 years to become an SPT in New Mexico, depending on what type of training programs and internships you complete.

Is a state-issued license required to become an SPT in New Mexico?

Like most states in the US, New Mexico doesn’t require SPTs to obtain a state-issued license – though most employers require a national certification.

How many hours of on-the-job experience are required to become a certified SPT in New Mexico?

Aspiring technicians who want to obtain a national certification from the HSPA will have to complete 400 hours of on-the-job experience.

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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