How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Tennessee

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Sterile processing technicians are behind-the-scenes employees at hospitals, cosmetic surgery facilities, dentists’ offices, and other surgery centers.

These professionals are accountable for receiving used surgical equipment and sterilizing, cleaning, and decontaminating it to make it safe for future use.

Also, sterile processing technicians maintain, store, and repair this equipment.

The position requires extensive skill and knowledge to ensure patients are safe during procedures.

Therefore, budding sterile processing technicians must complete a training program to find a position within one of these medical facilities.

To learn more about how to kickstart your career as a sterile processing technician in Tennessee, keep reading the following!

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Steps to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Tennessee

The steps to becoming a sterile processing technician in Tennessee are brief but require training before entering the workforce.

These include the following:

One: Choose a Program

A high school diploma or GED is required to enter a sterile processing technician program in all 50 states.

Therefore, it’s advisable to start looking at schools in your junior or senior year, so you can enter the training program immediately after graduation to enter the workforce quickly.

The best option for learning more about the different schools and programs is to talk to an adviser at each location.

They can help you with scheduling and career goals and give curriculum overviews.

Two: Complete an Internship

Most schools require an internship or externship to complete the program.

For those that don’t, professionals agree that having on-the-job experience is critical to gaining your first job and succeeding in the field.

During an internship, students can apply classroom knowledge and skills to a local medical facility and gain real-world experience.

As a result, many interns are given permanent employment upon program completion.

Three: Pass the Certification Exam

The state requires all sterile processing technician graduates to be credentialed and participate in yearly continuing education.

The Certified Registered Central Service Technician label and Certified Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician designations prove to the state that graduates have been well trained and can perform the required job functions.

In addition, training programs prepare students for the workforce and to pass the examination.

Four: Find Additional Education (Optional)

With all medical positions, continuing education is required.

However, many sterile processing technicians continue schooling while advancing to becoming nurses, medical assistants, surgical technologists and technicians, and sterile processing supervisors.

Sterile Processing Technician Schools in Tennessee

Trade schools and community colleges across Tennessee offer sterile processing technician training.

The most popular include:

Concorde Career College – Memphis

Concorde Career College Logo

The sterile processing technician program at the Concorde Career College in Memphis teaches students proper sterilization, storing, cleaning, and inspection methods of equipment and surgical instruments.

This diploma program can be completed in at least three months and includes a 128-hour sterile processing externship requirement.

Additionally, students are prepared to sit for the Certified Registered Central Service Technician examination.


Fortis Logo

With locations in Nashville and Cookeville, Fortis offers a sterile processing technician training program that prepares graduates for entry-level positions.

The program requires students to complete clinical rotations, laboratory practice, and classroom lectures to ensure they are well-prepared for certification exams and to start working immediately.

Nashville State Community College

Nashville State Community College Logo

The Central Processing Technology Certificate offered by Nashville State Community College specializes in surgical instrumentation, medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology.

Students are given written and practical exposure to these topics through classroom lectures and clinical practice in a lab.

Learners are also encouraged to enroll in an internship program to gain on-the-job experience before graduating.

Tennessee College of Applied Technology

Tennessee College of Applied Technology Logo

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology has campuses in Smyrna and Murfreesboro.

Both locations award graduates with a Central Sterile Processing Technology certificate.

The curriculum includes the storage, sterilization, and distribution of equipment, cleaning techniques and practices, decontamination methods, and infection control and prevention.

Sterile Processing Technician Schools in Tennessee – Summary Table

Top 4 Schools in Tennessee

School NameAddress
Concorde Career College – Memphis5100 Poplar Ave # 132, Memphis, TN 38137, USA
Fortis3354 Perimeter Hill Dr. Suite 200, Nashville, TN 37211, USA
Nashville State Community College120 White Bridge Rd, Nashville, TN 37209, USA
Tennessee College of Applied Technology100 White Bridge Pike, Nashville, TN 37205, United States


With a median U.S. annual salary of $45,900 and a pay range of $36,200 to $60,000, the sterile processing technician position can be a lucrative career.

However, Tennessee sterile processing technicians have a lower annual salary of $41,700 with a pay range of $32,900 to $54,500.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Sterile Processing Technicians in Tennessee

City NameSalary
Johnson City$33,220
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Tennessee

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Chattanooga, TN-GA90$33,690$16.2$49,660$17,630
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA80$31,310$15.06$44,390$22,880
Knoxville, TN180$29,800$14.33$44,200$17,760
Memphis, TN-MS-AR180$39,710$19.09$50,400$29,020
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN580$42,800$20.58$58,440$30,380
* 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

What are some of the daily activities of a sterile processing technician in Tennessee?

In addition to sterilizing, storing, maintaining, and repairing equipment, sterile processing technicians gather equipment from different rooms within the medical facility for inventory, maintain extensive cleaning, repair, and maintenance records, and work closely with other medical personnel.

What are the prerequisites for entering a Tennessee sterile processing technician program?

Most programs require the following:

  • At least 18 years old.
  • Completion of a health form.
  • Have a clean criminal background.
  • Hold a high school diploma.
  • You must carry 50 pounds and be able to stand for long periods.

Should sterile processing technicians be licensed to work in Tennessee?

No, the state doesn’t require licensure for employing sterile processing technicians in Tennessee.

However, certification is needed for a specific period, like in most other states.

It’s important to note that this career is essential within medical facilities, so the area is heavily regulated.

Sterile processing technicians must keep precise records and follow stringent procedures, which is why certification is required.

What are the governing sterile processing technician certification bodies?

Two organizations exist in Tennessee that govern certification programs:

  • IAHCSMM – the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materials Management, offers the Certified Registered Central Service Technician designation.
  • CBSPD – Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution offers the Certified Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician certificate.

Both require passing an examination to prove knowledge in the field.

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