Sterile Services Technician
Sterile services technicians make sure that reusable medical devices (including surgical instruments) are sterile. They are involved in the whole process, from receiving the used items to providing sterile equipment ready for use. They keep accurate records of each stage of the process.
Also known as
- Decontamination Service Technician
As a Sterile Services Technician, you will make sure that re-usable medical devices are sterile.
First, you receive the used equipment. You must handle the equipment carefully because it might be delicate and expensive. You also need to protect yourself and other staff from any contamination.
Technicians make sure that the equipment being received is complete. If an item is missing, you report it to your Supervisor. Each item or set of devices is coded, so they can be traced throughout the reprocessing system.
Before cleaning, you have to dismantle each item. You put the devices into an automated mechanical washer-disinfector. This cleans, disinfects and dries the equipment.
After the items have been cleaned and disinfected, they are transferred into the production area where you inspect them to make sure that they are clean, dry and can work properly for their intended use. You also inspect and re-assemble the items where necessary, before packing, sealing and labelling them ready for sterilisation.
The packages are then passed to the sterilising area, where you load them into the steriliser.
After sterilisation, you allow the items to cool. Once cooled, you put the equipment in its correct place in the processed goods store until it is needed for distribution and further use.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Sterile Services Technician, you'll need:
- attention to detail and a careful approach to your work
- to follow procedures correctly at each stage of the process
- the ability to do some of your work without supervision
- teamwork skills
- the ability to work quickly and accurately under pressure, so equipment is ready to be used when it is needed
- physical fitness; the job involves pushing trolleys and some lifting
- record-keeping skills
Pay and Opportunities
NHS employees are paid on a rising scale within defined pay bands, according to their skills and responsibilities. The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting - Band 2: £17,652 - £19,020
- With experience - Band 3: £18,813 - £20,795
- Senior Sterile Services Technicians - Band 4: £21,089 - £23,761
Hours of work
Sterile Services Technicians usually work 36.5 hours a week, Monday to Friday, which may include early starts, shift work and call-outs.
Where could I work?
Employers include NHS and private hospitals, and the armed forces. Opportunities for Sterile Services Technicians occur in hospitals throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised on the website of the Institute of Decontamination Sciences (IDSc), the NHS Jobs website and on job boards, as well as in local newspapers, at Jobcentre Plus and on the Find a Job website.
Entry Routes and Training
You can apply for vacancies and then have on-the-job training.
Technicians work towards a technical certificate, which is approved by the Institute of Decontamination Sciences (IDSc) and accredited by an academic or other approved training body.
In this role you may be required to complete a care certificate before starting work. Take a look at our information article
Further training can include supervisory certificates, management diplomas and postgraduate qualifications.
Previous experience working in a caring environment such as working in a care home or in a hospital would be really useful for this career.
To become a Sterile Services Technician, you'll usually need GCSEs, including English, maths and a science, or equivalent qualifications.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
- 7% of people who work in occupations such as sterile services technician work part-time.
- 16% have flexible hours.
NHS Wales Careers
Publisher: National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare
Step into the NHS
Tel: 0345 6060655
Skills for Health
Skills for the health sector
Address: Goldsmiths House, Broad Plain, Bristol BS2 0JP
Tel: 0117 9221155
Institute of Decontamination Sciences (IDSc)
Address: c/o Fitwise Management Ltd, Blackburn House, Redhouse Road, Seafield, Bathgate EH47 7AQ
Tel: 01506 811077