How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in California

Search Sterile Processing Technician Programs

Get information on Sterile Processing Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Search
California map

Hospitals, dentist’s offices, surgery centers, or other medical facilities can only safely operate with the effective sterilization of supplies and equipment.

To maintain all safety standards, these facilities utilize sterile processing technicians who specialize in following specific procedures that stop the spread of equipment-related bacteria and infections.

If you’re interested in helping the medical community, a career as a sterile processing technician can be a lucrative and rewarding career.

Keep reading to learn more about how to become a sterile processing technician in California!

Search Sterile Processing Technician Programs

Get information on Sterile Processing Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Listings

Steps to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in California

To become a sterile processing technician in California, these are the most common steps:

One: Enroll in a Diploma Program

Although some employers require a degree, many in this field start with a sterile processing diploma, which can be earned in as fast as 42 weeks.

In addition, the requirements to enter most programs include proof of a high school degree and passing the Scholastic Level Exam.

Two: Acquire Certification

Holding licensure or certification is optional by the State of California.

However, it makes graduates considerably more marketable to potential employers than those without certification.

Three certifications exist:

  • CBET – Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician
  • CLES – Certified Laboratory Equipment Specialist
  • CRES – Certified Radiology Equipment Specialist

Three: Seek Employment

Once you have earned a diploma and certification, the final step is to seek employment.

The better diploma programs also have a career services team, which can assist graduates with job placement.

In addition to utilizing the school’s services, pushing your resume onto as many job posting websites, like LinkedIn or Indeed, is essential.

Also, since most programs require hands-on training, contact hiring managers from your training to determine if any positions are open.

Sterile Processing Technician Schools in California

There are a few schools where interested candidates can earn sterile processing technician training, including:

Central Sterilization School

Central Sterilization School Logo

Located in Southern California, this institute specializes in all forms of sterilization training, including for the medical industry.

The primary focus of the Central Sterilization School is utilizing independent learning and virtual classes.

The curriculum is prepared by management personnel and seasoned technicians who have been in the industry for years.

In addition to the lecture, students must complete 400 hours of hands-on training at local medical facilities.

Contra Costa Medical Career College

Contra Costa Medical Career College Logo

Nestled in the Bay Area of Northern California, Contra Costa Medical Career College allows students full-time day courses or part-time night classes.

Whichever option you choose required 344 classroom and lab hours followed by 256 hands-on training hours while working with experienced professionals.

Silicon Valley Surgi-Tech Institute

Silicon Valley Surgi-Tech Institute  Logo

Also in Northern California, the Silicon Valley Surgi-Tech Institute boasts a two-part curriculum.

The first segment is comprised of 300 hours of the sterile processing program.

The second part consists of 240 supervised hours of firsthand training at a local medical facility.

Students must complete both to graduate.

Sterile Processing Technician Schools in California – Summary Table

Top 3 Schools in California

School NameAddress
Central Sterilization School20010 Orange Terrace Pkwy, Riverside, CA 92508, USA
Contra Costa Medical Career College4041 Lone Tree Wy #101, Antioch, CA 94531, USA
Silicon Valley Surgi-Tech Institute1729 S Main St, Milpitas, CA 95035, USA


Depending on where you live, the Sterile Processing Technician’s salary can significantly vary from $36,200 to $60,000, with an average base pay of $45,900 in the U.S.

For example, in the most expensive city in California, San Fransisco, the average base pay is $57,300, ranging from $45,200 to $75,000 annually.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Sterile Processing Technicians in California

City NameSalary
Los Angeles$42,850
San Diego$41,190
San Jose$47,900
San Francisco$47,710
Long Beach$42,560
Santa Ana$42,590
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in California

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Bakersfield, CA140$53,710$25.82$76,930$37,500
Chico, CA90$51,440$24.73$76,860$39,120
Fresno, CA250$49,910$23.99$68,400$32,990
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA2,660$55,110$26.5$72,040$37,390
Madera, CA30$44,300$21.3$64,120$33,490
Napa, CA30$63,050$30.31$88,740$43,740
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA160$50,530$24.29$72,790$30,420
Redding, CA40$61,840$29.73$83,300$39,520
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA760$51,130$24.58$68,130$31,410
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA610$66,100$31.78$83,910$40,100
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA510$58,140$27.95$70,770$37,600
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA1,510$71,280$34.27$94,520$43,850
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA530$66,330$31.89$83,820$46,620
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA40$58,280$28.02$77,250$38,740
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA40$53,940$25.93$74,400$35,780
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA70$56,460$27.15$64,490$39,200
Santa Rosa, CA110$70,470$33.88$84,260$44,470
Stockton-Lodi, CA120$58,950$28.34$76,010$39,820
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA100$69,480$33.4$83,870$42,380
Visalia-Porterville, CA70$46,210$22.22$58,750$37,310
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Medical Equipment Preparers, OCC Code 31-9093, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does California require a certification or license?

California requires no state-issued certification or licensure for any medical equipment preparer type, including sterile processing technicians.

However, experts recommend that potential candidates meet more than the state minimum requirements to improve employment chances.

What are some of the duties of a sterile processing technician?

Besides sterilizing medical equipment before use, daily responsibilities include testing, calibrating, and installing equipment, replacing or repairing parts, implementing preventative maintenance, and keeping maintenance records.

Other duties involve explaining medical equipment operation, attending training sessions for new equipment, and managing medical equipment replacement.

What are the typical hours of a sterile processing technician?

Most work only 40 hours weekly, and the job isn’t overly stressful.

For those who work as contractors, travel to different medical facilities is usually required.

What are the most common skills a sterile processing technician should possess?

The most critical skill a sterile processing technician should possess is mechanical knowledge.

Also, the best in the field can quickly troubleshoot, have excellent dexterity, communicate effectively, and excel at time management.

Integrity and physical stamina are also essential since most sterile processing technicians will be on their feet, moving around all day.

Search Programs