Sterile services technicians clean and decontaminate equipment used in hospital operating theatres, clinics and wards.
Salary range: £17,652 to £23,761
How to become a sterile services technician
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could do a college course like a Level 3 Diploma in Applied Science or A level Biology or Chemistry. This may give you an advantage when applying for a trainee job after you finish.
You may need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
You could start by taking a healthcare science intermediate apprenticeship or higher apprenticeship for healthcare science associates.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
Volunteering and experience
You can get some work experience by volunteering in the NHS. This could help if you apply for an apprenticeship or a job.
You can apply directly for jobs if you’ve got some of the relevant skills and experience needed for this role.
There are no set requirements but you’ll usually need good literacy and numeracy skills. Some employers may ask for GCSEs or equivalent.
Professional and industry bodies
You could join organisations like The Institute of Decontamination Sciences for professional development, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.
You can find out more about careers in sterile services from Health Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- customer service skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to work on your own
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- sensitivity and understanding
- knowledge of English language
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- collecting re-usable medical and surgical instruments and devices from wards, clinics and operating theatres
- taking apart pieces of equipment for cleaning
- cleaning and sterilising equipment
- putting equipment pieces back together when sterilised
- checking that all instruments are clean and working properly
- delivering sterile supplies by trolley to wards and departments
- restocking supplies of items like dressings, needles and syringes
- operating a steam sterilising machine
You could work in an NHS or private hospital.
Your working environment may be physically demanding and humid.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could progress to assistant manager, service manager, head of department or general health service management.