Medical equipment preparers are sometimes referred to as sterile processing technicians, central service technicians and equipment technicians. Duties typically include cleaning medical instruments to prepare them for sterilization, and operating and maintaining equipment such as steam autoclaves, respirators and dialysis machines. Cleaning equipment can include using water to flush waste products.
Examining medical equipment to ensure proper function is an important duty of this occupation. Medical equipment preparers check for leaks, worn and loose parts, and other malfunctions. Additional essential job function is keeping good records of equipment sterilization activities and testing results. Stocking crash carts and other storage units with supplies, as well as ensuring supplies are not out of date, is another typical task for medical equipment preparers.
Medical equipment preparers also install and maintain equipment, deliver equipment to hospital locations or patient residences, and maintain inventory and equipment usage records. They assist hospital staff with patient care duties like setting up equipment and transporting patients.
Medical Equipment Preparers Job Profile
- The vast majority of medical equipment preparers are employed by hospitals.
- Most entry-level positions require a high school diploma and on-the-job training.
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts job growth in this field will be as fast as average in the coming years.
Work Environment for Medical Equipment Preparers
Medical equipment preparers usually work in clean and well-lighted environments, including hospitals, physicians’ offices, clinics, laboratories and other healthcare facilities. They may travel to patient homes to deliver, install or repair equipment. Physical activity is typically required for this job, and medical equipment preparers can be on their feet much of the work day. Most full-time medical equipment preparers work 40 hours per week; part-timers may be required to work evenings and weekends.
Education, Training and Licensing
Most medical equipment preparer jobs require a high school diploma; some employers prefer to hire candidates with some vocational training or previous experience. Many workers receive on-the-job training lasting from a few months to one year. Others complete formal training programs, sometimes provided at the employer’s expense. Community, technical and junior colleges may offer one- and two-year certificate or associate’s degree programs.
Individuals interested in medical equipment preparer jobs must have manual dexterity, good hand-eye coordination, excellent near vision, and the ability to follow directions. Good oral and written communicate skills are also important attributes for this career choice.
Employment Figures, Projections, Outlook and Earnings
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) records for May 2009 indicate that medical equipment preparers held approximately 47,070 jobs; most were employed by hospitals.
What kind of job growth is expected for medical equipment preparers? The BLS predicts employment in this field will grow about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job growth will occur as the result of increased demand for healthcare services.
The BLS reports that medical equipment preparers earned a median yearly salary of $28,970 in May 2009. The middle 50% earned between $23,870 and $34,710, while the lowest 10% earned about $20,390. The highest 10% earned upwards of $40,770 annually.