By Adam Okada
Before embarking on a career in Sterile Processing, most people like to search for “sterile processing technician salary”, to see if it would be worth their while to explore this particular career path. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to the question, “How much do Sterile Processing technicians make?”. The answer will vary by location, certification status, facility, and position description. For more information on “What is Sterile Processing?”, see our article here: https://sterileeducation.com/what-is-sterile-processing-a-guide-for-spd-newcomers/
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2018), Sterile Processing technicians are officially listed as “Medical Equipment Preparers”. This is likely the most reputable place to find data on Sterile Processing technician salary, as their numbers are based on technicians who are actively working in the industry, and their income as reported on their taxes.
According to BLS.gov, and as of May, 2018, the hourly range of SPD technicians starts at $12.19 and tops out at $25.64. The median hourly wage for SPD technicians is $17.42. But again, this number is deceptive, because there are a number of factors to consider when looking at what YOU will be able to make in Sterile Processing.
The first consideration would be your location. According to Zip Recruiter (ziprecruiter.com, 2020) technicians in Massachusetts make $27.50 per hour, while technicians in Florida and Mississippi make under $18.50. This is further broken down by specific counties within your home state. In California, technicians in San Francisco can expect starting wages over $23 per hour, while technicians in less populated areas of the state might start at $15. This is usually based on cost of living rates in a given area (but not always).
Your certification status is another consideration. At most facilities, certification is recommended or required, and most will reward certified technicians with a pay increase. Certified technicians often start at a “Tech II” level position whereas uncertified techs stay at “Tech I” status. Some states such as Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Tennessee do require certification to work in SPD, so getting your certification will be very important.
Another factor to consider would be the type of facility. According to BLS.gov, technicians in an outpatient surgery center can expect a slightly higher rate of pay compared to their general hospital equivalents. Trauma facilities should also pay slightly better due to the emergent need of their services, and increased responsibilities relative to other facilities.
Sterile Processing traveling is another potential career path. SPD travelers are temporary workers hired for 8-13 week “contracts” and can travel all over the country. Since these positions require experience and usually require certification, I will cover that in a separate article.
Sterile Processing salaries can range anywhere from $12 to $28 per hour depending on your location, certification status, and facility. It’s best to do research on your specific area and remember that a starting salary point will often be a few dollars lower than an “average” or “median” hourly rate. But in any case, Sterile Processing is a challenging and rewarding career that has a tremendous impact on patient safety.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Website “Medical Equipment Preparers” – https://www.bls.gov/oes/2018/may/oes319093.htm
Zip Recruiter – “What is the Average Sterile Processing Technician Salary by State” – https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/What-Is-the-Average-Sterile-Processing-Technician-Salary-by-State