Achieving Certification Status in Sterile Processing Part 2

Posted by Bioseal

Achieving Certification Status in Sterile Processing Part 2

Part one of this article discussed strategies for achieving Sterile Processing certification status. It provided access to the certification boards, their requirements, and how to overcome test anxiety and other deterrents. Once a technician achieves the initial certification, it creates a sense of accomplishment and motivation for advancing in knowledge, practicing Sterile Processing skills, and contributing to the Sterile Processing profession. One of the many ways to accomplish and keep the momentum is by gaining a higher certification. In the second part of the article, we will share some details and resources for those already certified SP Technicians who want to advance in their careers.

Positions Are Available

If you are in Sterile Processing, you are in luck! The opportunity for growth abounds. Experienced professionals are retiring, others are choosing a path that serves a work/life balance, and many are not aware of the available leadership positions. Our hospitals suffer an extreme shortage of experienced leadership and staff, which allows for additional opportunities.

As Advantage Support auditors have assessed SP departments, we have often observed the supervisor, educator, and even some manager roles filled by long-term department team members. These positions have been gained primarily on the merit of the staff's willingness. There is an enormous need for these positions around the country, and we would like to provide some strategies to fill them with qualified team members.


Most SP departments have a ladder for growth, which ultimately leads to professional development. The steps should require experience in the knowledge of the science of sterilization, communication and interpersonal skills, organizational skills, the ability to assess daily department needs, and, most importantly, certification/s. As the new leader initiates their role, the administration should provide a mentor to steer them in the right direction. The Peabody Award Winner, John Crosby, stated, “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”Mentoring

Mentorship is key to developing a successful leader. They build productive learning experiences with step-by-step guidance. They should assess the mentee’s current knowledge and skill base in real-time situations within the department and with Operating Room customers. From those encounters, mentors can guide the upcoming leader effectively and offer an appropriate learning curve when providing expectations. The expectations should include a “learning curve” when providing expectations. They will need understanding and a “pass” to accomplish a goal. It is human nature when failure leads to self-doubt leading to individual fears. As the team member pushes forward toward the advanced certification, that fear of failure may commonly creep in. Mentors can relieve most fears by being patient and understanding. Test-taking fears specifically can be addressed with the following statistics: In 2021, over 11,000 took the technician exam, and HSPA had a 75% pass rate on their first try. That’s a high pass rate, and if the team member has support throughout their preparation for the exam, they too can pass.

Certification is readily available, with many online and onsite class support options. Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA) and CBSPD provide the certification ladder to develop the department team members to achieve these leadership positions successfully. Both certification boards provide specialty and management status in SP and other departments, like endoscopy and ambulatory surgery centers. HSPA provides a Certified Instrument Specialist CIS certification for those departments that may be grooming Instrument Specialists or Quality Technicians. For grooming Sterile Processing supervisors, lead technicians, and managers, they provide a Healthcare Leader CHL option. CBSPD provides some growth options for managers as well.

In Conclusion

As we forge ahead for the remainder of 2022 and ready for 2023, let us set goals to groom the next generation toward leadership roles in Sterile Processing. Managers and directors can set yearly employee evaluation goals to encourage staff growth. They can provide access to certification programs with pay increase incentives. Let’s keep the momentum for those already certified as SP Technicians.


Jsupport. (n.d.). Certification Overview - Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA). Retrieved August 30, 2022, from

SPD technician certification exam C.S.P.D.T. CBSPD. (2022, August 1). Retrieved August 30, 2022, from