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Sterile services technician Decontamination technician

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Sterile services technicians clean and sterilise equipment for hospital operating theatres, clinics, A&E departments and wards.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,250 to £22,500 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English, maths and science.

Some employers may want you to have work experience within the NHS.

NHS Choices has more information on hospital volunteering.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • good spoken and written communication skills
  • the ability to follow detailed instructions
  • the ability to work quickly and precisely
  • IT skills

3. 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

4. Salary

Starter: £15,250 to £18,000

Experienced: £16,750 to £19,750

Highly Experienced: £22,500 (supervisor or manager)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You may work within a 24-hour, 7 day a week shift system.

The work can be physically demanding, and involve lifting equipment and pushing heavy trolleys.

You’ll work in the sterile services department of a hospital, and wear protective clothing like gloves and face visors.

Working conditions can be humid when operating sterilising equipment.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to assistant manager, service manager, head of department or general health service management.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018