Becoming a Certified Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician (CSPDT) is a great foundation for moving into higher paying sterile tech jobs. The major stepping stone for both rewarding careers is continuing education. The right certifications prepare both sets of healthcare professionals for the critical work they do in hospitals across the county. This is an overview of what certification in sterile tech processing, and certified surgical technologist jobs (CST) entail.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most hospitals prefer their sterile techs be certified. Putting in the work earns the respect of your healthcare employer and their implicit trust; certification proves an expansive knowledge of infection control, surgical equipment and decontamination techniques. Sterile techs can get certified at community colleges and accredited organizations across the country in as little as 36 hours. Before embarking on your certification, sterile techs need a high school diploma or GED, as well as proof of immunizations. It’s also a good idea to see your physician for a clean bill of health.
Training as a sterile tech dovetails nicely into certification later on as a surgical tech; the coursework is familiar and will move the CSPDT seamlessly into surgical tech careers that could easily lead to OR management jobs, supervisory roles in hospital central supply and more! For example, a sterile tech training to be a CST might become a clinical educator, or sales rep for a medical manufacturer. Hello six figure salary!
The first step in landing a high paying surgical tech job is to earn a degree or certificate through a nine month to two year college or university program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) is another great resource for budding surgical techs.
The best place for surgical techs to take their certification exam is The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting
The NBSTSA organization will oversee all aspects of your test. Ambitious surgical techs may decide to use the NBSTSA to further specialize in their field, and advance to the position of First Assistant, a.k.a. surgical assistant. Coasting for 4 years is a big benefit to getting certified! CSTs who pass their certification exams enjoy an active title for four years, longer (an additional 4 years) if the CST earns at least 60 continuing education credits. If not enough CE credits are accrued, you must re-take the national certification exam.
This comprehensive certification exam, a multiple-choice test taken on a computer, is open to anyone who has:
- Earned a CAAHEP or ABHES-accredited degree from an institution
- Finished a 2-year hospital training program
- Seven years of experience in surgical technology
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For other useful career resource links that make everything A-OK in the OR, visit this site for the surgical technologist, training and careers! If all these acronyms are making your head spin, don’t despair. Call 310-436-3650 or apply online ASAP!