How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Washington

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A sterile processing technician is a healthcare professional who cleans, sterilizes, and readies medical equipment for medical purposes such as surgeries.

The technician is also responsible for maintaining records of items sterilized and the sterilization procedures involved.

With their job responsibilities, sterile processing technicians ensure the safety of medical professionals handling instruments and contribute indirectly to patient care.

If you are looking to carve a non-doctor career in the medical field, then a job as a sterile processing technician may interest you.

This blog post details the process involved in becoming a technician, including the qualifications an aspirant has to acquire.

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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 in Washington: Step-by-Step Guide

Washington State does not need sterile processing technicians to hold a license for practice.

There is no state body to supervise the qualifications of aspirants.

However, employers prefer job seekers to be equipped with a national-level certification.

Given the meticulous nature of the job, employers and healthcare facilities are subject to internal and external examination.

A technician needs to be knowledgeable and aware of the responsibilities involved in the job to be efficient.

A certification equips aspirants with these essential skills and puts them ahead on the career graph.        

Step 1: Graduate from High School

A national certification needs work experience in SPD (Sterile Processing and Distribution) activities or an SPD training certification.

Finishing high school would be a good move to set a strong foundation for your career as a sterile processing technician.

Consider choosing courses that align with the domain, such as medicine, biology, chemistry, and other health sciences.

If you are a high-school dropout, take a GED (General Educational Development) test, which is equivalent to a high school diploma.

Step 2: Complete an SPD Course or Obtain Work Experience

National certification programs require aspirants to have direct work experience in the SPD field or complete an SPD training.

Hands-on experience in SPD activities is essential if you decide to take up a job.

Work settings like hospitals, doctors’ offices, outpatient clinics, and medical device manufacturing units are ideal to gain experience.

If you are considering taking the SPD training route, then a grade of 70 or more is essential to qualify for national certification exams.

Explore schools offering programs in sterile processing and distribution and complete the program.

After program completion, enroll as an apprentice and obtain experience to increase your chances of employability.

Step 3: Obtain National Certification

Certification is not mandatory to become a technician in sterile processing in Washington.

However, a national certification is key to positioning yourself as an employable candidate.

Some industry-recognized national certification programs include:

  • CBSPD or the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution
  • CRCST or the Certified Registered Central Service Technician from the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association or HSPA

The CBSPD and the CRCST certifications evaluate candidates for competency in surgical instrument handling, including cleaning, sterilization, decontamination, high-level disinfection, sterile storage and distribution, and assembly and packaging.

Candidates passing the CBSPD test are qualified to be CSPDT or Certified Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician.

This certification is valid for 5 years post which a recertification is essential.

The CRCST certification is recognized by the NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies) and the ANAB (ANSI National Accreditation Board).

This certification is valid for 1 year, necessitating an annual renewal.

Sterile Processing Technician Schools in Washington

Washington has many colleges that offer career-oriented sterile processing technician training programs.

These programs require aspirants to hold a high school diploma or an equivalent like GED.

Columbia Basin CollegeColumbia Basin College

The SPT (Sterile Processing Technician) program from this institute in Pasco is a 2-quarter format that trains students hands-on in clinical settings.

Students get 400 hours of experience during the program and a short-term certificate after program completion.

The application process starts in September every year.

This program helps candidates position themselves for entry-level jobs in sterile processing.

Clover Park Technical CollegeClover Park Technical College

This college offers a 3-quarter program at its campuses in Puyallup and Lakewood.

The program – Central Service or Sterile Processing Technician Program – offers candidates hands-on experience in managing sterile and surgical instruments.

The program is structured according to the principles of the local healthcare advisory committee and the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association.

Renton Technical CollegeRenton Technical College

This college has a 6-quarter Accredited Surgical Technologist program that trains students in preoperative, postoperative, and intraoperative roles.

The program includes active student participation in 120 surgical cases.

Some other institutions that offer Sterile Processing Technician programs:

Yakima Valley CollegeYakima Valley College

Bellingham Technical CollegeBellingham Technical College

School Name Address
Columbia Basin College 2600 N 20th Ave, Pasco, WA 99301, United States
Clover Park Technical College 4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, WA 98499, United States
Renton Technical College 3000 NE 4th St, Renton, WA 98056, United States
Yakima Valley College W Nob Hill Blvd &, S 16th Ave, Yakima, WA 98902, United States
Bellingham Technical College 3028 Lindbergh Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225, United States

Sterile Processing Technician Salary in Washington

The mean annual wage of technicians, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $46,350, which is greater than the national mean wage estimate.

Washington is one of the states with the highest job concentration in the sector.

Salary could be higher depending on factors such as experience and the type of healthcare setting you are working in.

Some facilities such as high-end hospitals, may offer a higher income to retain qualified technicians.

Candidates entering the workforce need more experience before they can earn higher salaries.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Seattle $50,008
Spokane $44,615
Tacoma $48,740
Vancouver $47,096
Bellevue $50,008
Everett $49,111
Federal Way $48,740
Kent $48,643
Yakima $45,730
Bellingham $46,582

Regional Salary in Washington

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Kennewick-Richland, WA110$37,800$18.17$49,360$30,140
Olympia-Tumwater, WA100- NA -- NA -- NA -- NA -
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA1,140$49,530$23.81$63,270$33,870
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA270$44,630$21.46$51,910$35,980
Wenatchee, WA30$45,520$21.89$63,080$33,990
Yakima, WA50$39,860$19.17$50,080$32,570
* 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

Where are sterile processing technicians in demand in Washington?

Medical institutions are always in need of knowledgeable and skilled people to handle medical equipment.

Facilities such as hospitals, private clinics, laboratories, and dental practices recruit competent candidates with hands-on experience.

As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate is high in general medical and surgical hospitals, dentist offices, outpatient care facilities, and physician offices.

What skills can help improve employability in Washington?

The demand for sterile processing technicians is high in Washington, given the high job concentration here.

So, candidates need to prepare themselves to stay ahead and competitive.

Certification equips candidates with practical knowledge and experience.

But some skills help candidates learn better on the job and advance faster.

These include good time management capabilities, attention to detail, communication, and being a team player.

Will there be a demand for sterile processing technicians in the future in Washington?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there will be more than 7,000 jobs in the sterile processing technician field by 2024.

With Washington being one of the high-demand locations for sterile processing technicians, the future looks promising for candidates.

Most sterile processing technicians work in hospitals and private medical settings such as nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care clinics.

Technicians in hospitals may see overtime hours and weekend work.

Technicians in private facilities may have regular hours.

The demand for this profession will only grow in the coming years, which makes it a perfect career choice.

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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