Instrument Technician Training, Certification and Degree Program Info

Instrument technicians are also known as sterile processing technicians and central services technicians. An instrument technician ensures that surgical instruments are sterile and ready for the surgeon prior to operations and medical procedures.

Essential Information

Although there is no specific degree for this career, an associate's degree program in surgical technology may assist the aspiring instrument technician.

There are also certification programs to enhance the technician's knowledge base and resume. Graduates can apply for certification at several levels from the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management, which requires passing competency exams.

This degree program incorporates the job of instrument technician along with other related careers. In doing so, it gives the aspiring technician not only the skills required to perform his or her duties, but also a sense of how those tasks relate to the jobs of those they work with and for. Courses may include medical terminology, medical ethics and legal issues and the culture of healthcare. Students are trained in laboratory technology and the sterile processing of instruments. Some programs have a clinical component.

  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED, minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Program Length: 2-years at most school
  • Other Requirements: Some schools may require a full year of general education courses; criminal background check; drug screenings

Certification in Instrument Technician Training

This program is designed to give students a broad view of the technical side of medicine, along with a picture of where they fit in the large scheme of instrument technology. Several accredited schools and institutions offer surgical instrument technician and sterile instrument technician courses and certification. Classes focus on subjects such as:

  • Medical terminology basics
  • Culture and language of healthcare
  • Lab technology
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Disease and pathology
  • Departmental safety operations

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 30% increase in jobs for the 2012-2022 period, which is just slightly higher than the national average for all occupations. Surgical technologists made an average salary of $45,010 in 2014, according to the BLS. The majority of these workers were employed in hospitals.

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