More Than “Just a Tech”

WCC launches new certificate program to meet industry job demand.

Have you ever had surgery? If so, you undoubtedly gave a lot of thought before your procedure about the skill of your surgeon, the quality
of care you’d receive from your nurses and the reputation of the hospital. But did you ever take into account the health care professionals working behind the scenes?

What is sterile processing?

“Sterile processing is one of the most important parts of surgery,” explained Elizabeth Connors, chair of the newly created Sterile Processing program at Washtenaw Community College. Sterile processing technicians operate the sterilizing equipment that cleans and sanitizes equipment, gloves and needles. They check, assemble and adjust all medical tools to ensure they are all working properly before a surgery begins. “The sterile processing technician plays a vital role in maintaining the cleanliness, functionality and inventory of health care instruments and equipment. Their work ensures that patients avoid infections and that doctors, nurses and other health professionals are quickly able to access sterile instruments and equipment.”

UM Health System currently operates six sterile processing sites in Washtenaw, Livingston and Wayne counties and two more are on the way.

“Sterile processing is a great job for someone who needs flexibility in their work schedule,” said Marsh. “Shifts are available morning, afternoon and night, so sterile processing technicians are able to work a schedule around other requirements like family
and school.”

Sterile Processing at WCC

WCC’s Sterile Processing Technician certificate program will start in the Fall semester. The program will provide classroom studies, as well as opportunities for students to work in the College’s on-campus operating room simulation lab and clinical settings. Graduates will be fully prepared to sit for the national certification exam.

“We are the only Sterile Processing program in Washtenaw County,” said Connors. “It’s a perfect program for anyone looking for a good paying, stable job.” The program is also stackable—it leads you right into the Surgical Technology Associate in Applied Science Degree. “It can be a wonderful stepping stone if you want to go further with a health care career,” continued Connors.

Program Information

This certificate program prepares students for an occupation in central processing and sterilization of hospital instruments, supplies and equipment. Students will apply theories and practices of central service departments in hospitals, surgery centers or clinics. The classes provide the fundamentals of central processing, supply and distribution, and provide instruction and practice in aseptic technique. Upon successful completion of this program, the student earns a certificate and will be fully prepared to sit for the International Associate of Healthcare Central Service Material Management National Certifying Examination.


Continuing technological advancements in medical supplies/devices and instruments has led to a growing demand for highly trained technicians.
2016 Median Pay



2016 Median Pay

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