Sterile Processing Technician Certificate

In a busy hospital, it is essential to equip doctors, nurses and other caregivers with sterile, organized tools. A team of sterile processing technicians work together to make sure all the equipment is ready to go—from the medical instruments used during surgery to first aid supplies to equipment like beds and wheelchairs. Sterile processing technicians are the first line of defense against infections associated with health care.

As a sterile processing technician, you will play an essential role in ensuring that patient safety comes first. You’ll learn how to clean, organize, package, transport and store these tools using special procedures. Sterile processing technicians do not interact directly with patients, but do regularly interact with professional teams in health care settings like hospitals, surgical centers, specialty clinics, and dental clinics.

In one semester, you will get the training you need for an entry-level job as a sterile processing technician (also known as a medical equipment preparer or instrument technician). You will learn to use sterilizing equipment in our on-site lab. You will also get hands-on experience in a hospital setting through clinical training. And, you will be ready to get the work experience necessary to take the national certification exam.

You will learn from technicians who bring years of experience to the classroom and know exactly what you need to know to succeed on the job.

This is a limited enrollment health care program. For additional information, contact a health career advisor at healthcareeradvising@oakton.edu.

Certificate

Students will learn skills in accordance with the standards and guidelines recommended by the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM). Upon successful completion of the program and the required work experience the graduate is eligible to take a national certification exam.

Learn More About the Certificate

Job Outlook

The sterile processing technician field is growing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical equipment preparers (also known as sterile processing technicians) prepare, sterilize, install or clean laboratory or healthcare equipment and may perform routine laboratory tasks and operate or inspect equipment.

The national median annual wage is $38,220 per year.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

A sterile processor showcases surgical tools in a hospital environment.

What You Need to Know

Successful completion of EGL 089 or EGL 095 or reading placement into EGL 089 or EGL 095.

Students can waive official high school transcripts. However, you should still submit official high school transcripts if you apply for financial aid.

  1. New students should apply online at oakton.edu/apply. Current Oakton students should apply through their myOakton account.
  2. View your Admission Checklist. Your New Student Portal includes Admission Checklist and next steps.
  3. Submit admission documents, including transcripts (high school, college, AP, military) and proof of residency.
  4. Complete the minimum requirements for admission.
  5. Complete an interview. The application process must be completed prior to an interview.

Clinical placements require a health assessment, certain immunizations, yearly flu vaccine, criminal background check, specific skill certification (i.e., CPR). Clinical placements may require substance abuse testing and health insurance. These requirements represent an additional cost to the student.

Meet Your Faculty and Experts

Program Director
Donna Dickson
847.376.7688
ddickson@oakton.edu

Embry Alvarez
Sterile Processing Supervisor
Northshore University Health System

Gus Granchalek
VP of Perioperative Services and Anesthesia
Northshore University Health System

Donielle Horn
Sterile Processing Manager
Northshore University Health System

Courtney Mace Davis
Director of Sterile Processing
Northshore University Health System

Caryn Moore
Manager of High Level & Sterilization Operations

Shary Williams
Sterile Processing Manager at Highland Park Hospital

Kathy Zagorscak
Recruiter for Sterile Processing

What's Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton Community College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Clinical placement requires a health assessment, certain immunizations, flu and COVID vaccination, criminal background check and health insurance. The requirements may represent additional costs to the student. Students who refuse a criminal background check will not be considered "clear" and will not be authorized to participate in the clinical component of the program, necessitating withdrawal from the program at that time. Individual results of student background check are considered confidential.

Yes. Our program is designed to meet the guidelines recommended by the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association. Upon successful completion of the program and the required work experience the graduate is eligible to take a national certification exam.

Contact Us

Donna Dickson
Program Chair
847.376.7688
ddickson@oakton.edu

Tyler Matulef
Health Career Advisor
tmatulef@oakton.edu