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Medical Equipment Preparer Training and Education Program Info

Community colleges and technical schools offer sterile processing technician certificate programs that can prepare students for careers as medical equipment preparers, also known as sterile processing technicians or central sterile supply technicians.

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Essential Information

A medical equipment preparer works in a healthcare facility to sanitize and prepare instruments and equipment. A sterile processing technician certificate program teaches students the proper procedures for sterilizing, stocking and preparing medical tools, supplies and equipment within clinical facilities. Students learn how to operate sterilization equipment and are instructed in infection control techniques.

Certificate completion generally requires between 15 and 42 credit hours, depending on the school offering the program. A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for enrollment, and some schools require health clearance or proof of immunizations. Voluntary national certification is available to graduates of these programs, which can enhance employment eligibility.


Medical Equipment Preparer Certificate Program

The curriculum included in a medical preparer certificate program takes up to a year and a half to complete and covers introductory topics in the healthcare field as well as specific topics relating to medical tools and sterilization. In addition, students take courses essential for the medical field so they know how their work affects patients. Some course examples include:

  • Microbiology
  • Infection control
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Decontamination
  • Sterilization processes
  • Surgical instrumentation processing and distribution

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical equipment preparers held roughly 50,330 positions around the country in 2015 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that the median annual salary for those workers in 2015 was $33,330.

Continuing Education Information

The Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution offers national certification for medical equipment preparers. To gain eligibility to sit for the certification examination, individuals must have completed two years of employment in the field, completed a certificate program in the field, or completed two years in the field of surgical instrument and equipment sales.

Training for individuals in search of entry-level work as medical equipment preparers is offered though medical equipment preparer certificate programs. In these programs, students learn about equipment preparation, medical supply storage and infection control.

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