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Sterile Processing Technician

Sterile processing technicians gather, disassemble, clean, disinfect, assemble, package, sterilize, store and distribute surgical instruments, supplies and equipment for re-use in a health care facility.

  • Avg. Salary $38,099.00
  • Avg. Wage $23.85
  • Minimum Education High school diploma
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 4,400
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Central Supply Aide, Health Care Assistant, Medical Assistant, Surgical Processor, Medical Device Reprocessing Technician

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

50%
50%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Sterile Processing Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Central Supply Aides
NOC code: 3414.5
OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating machines such as instrument washers, sonic sinks, cart washers and steam autoclaves to clean, reprocess and sterilize supplies for reuse

METHODICAL

Interest in copying information to assemble packs of sterile supplies and instruments for delivery to hospital departments

innovative

Interest in assisting health care staff by collecting and sorting soiled supplies and instruments from hospital departments, and by delivering sterile supplies to departments as required

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Sterile processing technicians' primary responsibility is infection prevention and control. Their duties vary from one position to another but, in general, they:

  • sort, disassemble, clean and disinfect trays, instruments, carts, supplies and equipment
  • select and use appropriate cleaning methods
  • load, operate and maintain cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing equipment
  • perform standard tests to monitor the effectiveness of sterilization procedures
  • sort, assemble and package medical and surgical instruments and equipment
  • report damaged or malfunctioning equipment and supplies
  • store and rotate sterilized items
  • provide instrument sets for surgical procedures and case carts for booked and emergency surgery
  • inventory, select and replenish supplies to medical and surgical carts on a regular basis, and monitor quota levels and changes in demand levels
  • make appropriate substitutions when necessary and report problems regarding availability of instruments and supplies
  • use computers to order supplies, and process and maintain records
  • communicate with operating room personnel to provide required instruments and surgical supplies.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Sterile processing technicians work in health care environments that are noisy, busy and stressful. They work with chemicals and must observe safety precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to infectious diseases and injury from hot surfaces and sharp instruments. Technicians are on their feet most of their shift, routinely handle items that weigh up to 10 kilograms, and move loaded sterilization and case carts that weigh much more.

Hospital central supply and sterile processing departments may operate 24 hours a day so technicians must work shifts that may include nights, weekends and holidays.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Sterile processing technicians need the following characteristics:

  • the ability to stand or walk for long periods of time with repeated bending at the knees and waist 
  • no sensitivities to latex, disinfection and sterilization chemicals, or the sight of blood and human tissue
  • good motor co-ordination, manual dexterity and finger dexterity
  • the ability to work under pressure and pay close attention to details
  • good organizational skills
  • good communication and teamwork skills
  • an interest in contributing to community health and safety.

They should enjoy working with a team, operating equipment and using hand tools, and having clear guidelines and organized methods for their work.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Some sterile processing technicians have been trained on the job but employers generally prefer to hire applicants who:

  • have completed a related training program (see below)
  • have received certification in medical device reprocessing
  • have a high school diploma (or equivalent)
  • have good English language skills and knowledge of basic medical terminology
  • are computer literate.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Sterile processing technicians are employed in:

  • hospital central processing facilities, operating rooms and day procedure facilities
  • doctors' offices
  • private health care facilities
  • surgical centres
  • colon cancer screening centres
  • dental offices.

Without further education, advancement opportunities are limited.

Sterile processing technicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3414: Other assisting occupations in support of health services. In Alberta, 83% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 7,700 Albertans are employed in the Other assisting occupations in support of health services occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.2% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 246 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As sterile processing technicians form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for sterile processing technicians.  

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Other assisting occupations in support of health services
NOC code: 3414

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $14.00 $28.90 $21.05 $21.45
Overall $16.00 $34.03 $23.85 $23.41
Top $18.00 $36.20 $26.05 $25.07

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Retail Trade

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

50%
50%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

21%
21%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

3%
3%

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
    • Human and Social Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences

Updated Mar 18, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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