How to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Washington

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Washington pays sterile processing technicians well above the national average salary in this field and has over 100 different hospitals and dental facilities that may hire these professionals.

That makes this career a promising one for someone interested in medical work.

Thankfully, becoming a sterile processing technician in Washington is not a challenging or demanding process.

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Steps to Become a Sterile Processing Technician in Washington

Washington doesn’t require specialized training for its sterile processing technicians and doesn’t have a state-based certification or licensing program.

However, most hospitals and medical facilities want their techs to pass the national certification exam to ensure they understand their role and duties.

This process is relatively simple and doesn’t require extensive or challenging work.

Finish High School

Certification programs require that students have a high school diploma or a GED.

If you have yet to earn either, finish your education before attempting to get one of these jobs.

People who dropped out of high school can still use their GED to begin this career.

Complete a Background Check

Most certification programs require a background check, including a criminal record examination and drug test.

They’ll typically schedule these exams to ensure you complete them.

After you pass these tests, you can apply for a program.

Research Your Programs

Identify different schools in the area that provide sterile processing technician training.

We list four different schools below, but other options may be nearby.

Gauge their prerequisites and requirements and ensure you meet them before applying.

Choose a Training School

Pick a training program or school that suits your needs, such as one that accepts your financial aid package or is close to you.

Then, please apply to the facility’s sterile processing technician class and begin its courses, which typically include hands-on training options.

Complete Your Program

Work through your courses with your teachers, learning more about sterile processing tech and how you can transition to a career in this field.

These courses often include clinical examinations and usually last 1-2 years, though some may take shorter or longer.

Finish an Internship

Before completing your training program, you will get fitted into an externship or internship program.

Here, you’ll work with sterile processing technicians to learn more about your career.

Typically, these programs work like apprenticeships and help you earn experience and a little money.

Pass the Credential Examination

After completing your scheduled internship or externship program, you must pass a national certification exam.

These exams include multiple questions that challenge your knowledge of sterile processing tech.

Once you complete this test and pass, you can start looking for jobs.

Sterile Processing Technician Schools in Washington

Washington provides multiple training facilities where you can learn how to begin a sterile processing technician.

These include technical and community colleges focusing on hands-on training that prepares you for an internship and the national certification test.

Columbia Basin College in Pasco

Columbia Basin College in Pasco Logo

This college provides a sterile processing technician program that prepares you for an entry-level career.

You learn decontamination, sterilization procedures, and how to process invasive therapeutic equipment and medical supplies.

This two-quarter program includes 400 hours of applied technical experience and requires passing several prerequisites.

Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham, WA

Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham, WA Logo

Bellingham Technical College provides a three-quarter training program that includes comprehensive surgical tech programs that focus on every level of sterilization.

You’ll learn how to handle sterilization equipment, how prepare for surgery, and work in a class-based and clinical environment.

BTC currently has a 90% certification rate for its program graduates.

Clover Park Technical College

Clover Park Technical College Logo

This technical college has multiple campuses throughout Washington, including in Lakewood and Puyallup.

Its program takes about three quarters and teaches you the ins and outs of sterile processing, including proper equipment handling and more.

In addition, its smaller class sizes help you get more personalized training from professionals who fully understand the demands of this career path.

Renton Technical College in Renton

Renton Technical College in Renton Logo

RTC provides a six-quarter program focusing on in-depth preparation for sterile processing technician careers.

The goal is to earn each student their CAAHEP certification through hands-on work in a real clinical setting.

You are placed in a clinical setting and must complete 120 total surgical cases in multiple roles to finish this program and receive your certification.

Sterile Processing Technician Schools in Washington – Summary Table

Top 4 Schools in Washington

School NameAddress
Columbia Basin College in Pasco2600 N 20th Ave, Pasco, WA 99301, USA
Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham, WA3028 Lindbergh Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225, USA
Clover Park Technical College4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, WA 98499, USA
Renton Technical College in Renton3000 NE 4th St, Renton, WA 98056, USA


Nationally, sterile processing techs average around $45,891 annually, making a low of about $36,214 and a high of nearly $60,000.

By contrast, Washington sterile processing technicians earn an average of $49,012, a low of $38,677, and a high of $64,051, making it above the national level.

In fact, Washington’s 20 out of 50 average state salaries put it in the top 50% of the nation.

Most jobs in the state are pretty high earning, though some may include longer training cycles and more demanding educational needs than a sterile processing technician career.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Sterile Processing Technicians in Washington

City NameSalary
Federal Way$41,050
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Washington

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Kennewick-Richland, WA110$37,800$18.17$49,360$30,140
Olympia-Tumwater, WA100- NA -- NA -- NA -- NA -
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA1,140$49,530$23.81$63,270$33,870
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA270$44,630$21.46$51,910$35,980
Wenatchee, WA30$45,520$21.89$63,080$33,990
Yakima, WA50$39,860$19.17$50,080$32,570
* 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

Do You Need to Get a New Certification Regularly?

Once you receive a sterile processing technician certification, it’s your duty to keep it updated regularly.

Doing so helps to keep your job active and increases your ability to find a new one.

Typically, you need to get one every year or so, depending on your certification.

How Much Does Certification Cost?

Your certification costs about $125 every time you get it renewed and requires passing a written test.

This test covers topics you’ve likely already mastered in your career, though it may require studying for specialized focuses, such as innovations in the field since you started.

Is This a High-Earning Job in Washington?

Washington’s average salary is about $58,076 or around $4,839 monthly.

That’s well above the $49,012 average paid for sterile processing technicians.

Note that the salary level of this state is increased due to programmers and other professionals throughout the region.

Where Can I Get a Job in This Field?

Facilities like UW Medicine-University of Washington Medical Center, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital, and Overlake Medical Center and Clinics all hire sterile processing technicians, as do dentist offices.

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