Applicants must attend formal education training program or have on-the-job training to become a sterile processing technician. Some online schools provide sterile processing technician programs; a laboratory class component is also necessary for certification.
Community colleges and vocational schools often offer programs to learn how to become a sterile processing technician. A typical program can take up to nine months to complete and can cost several thousand dollars. Programs include both classroom and hands-on training through an externship. The curriculum may vary between schools, but it generally includes topics such as sterilization processes, decontamination tools, ethics and medical terminology.
Becoming a sterile processing technician through on-the-job training is more likely in areas of the country where competition for the position is low. Hospitals may only require a high school diploma or equivalent for the position if they are providing the training. This career path offers both training and an income at the same time; it is a good option for those who desire a job in health care but don?t have the financial resources to attend a higher education program. However, a drawback to only obtaining on-the-job training is that it does not provide a degree or certificate. Therefore, it may be harder to change location of employment since an increasing number of medical facilities and states require formal training.