Home page

Medical Equipment Preparers

At a Glance

  • Sterilize and set up medical equipment
  • Most train on the job
  • Work with medical staff
  • Work as part of a medical team
  • Usually work full time

Career summary

Medical equipment preparers clean and sterilize surgical instruments and medical equipment. They also prepare instruments and equipment for use.

Medical equipment preparers may also be called central service or central processing technicians or sterile processing technicians.

Medical equipment preparers clean and sterilize instruments and equipment such as:

Medical equipment preparers record when the instrument was used. They run tests to make sure that the sterilization process is complete. They also test equipment to make sure it is running properly.

Medical equipment preparers deliver medical equipment and may install the equipment, using a variety of small hand tools. They prepare surgical trays before a procedure. They organize the tray so that the tools are laid out in the proper order.

Medical equipment preparers must keep their skills up to date. They attend training sessions offered through their employer. They may also help other medical staff with routine patient care.

Related careers

This career is part of the Health Science cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Military careers

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to medical equipment preparers.

Common work activities

Medical equipment preparers perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, medical equipment preparers:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Medical equipment preparers frequently:

It is important for medical equipment preparers to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for medical equipment preparers to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Medical equipment preparers need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Work with things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a medical equipment preparer, you typically need to:

Education after high school

No formal education is required beyond high school. However, more employers look for applicants with some additional training via coursework or a certificate in an applicable field.

On-the-job training

Almost all medical equipment preparers learn their skills on the job from an experienced worker. You begin by observing and helping other workers. On-the-job training usually lasts up to six months.

Military training

Some branches of the military train people to be medical care technicians. Training lasts seven to 52 weeks, depending on your specialty. Additional training occurs on the job.

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements. You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Employers may require a high school diploma, equivalent, or experience. Many employers have training programs. Employers prefer to train people who are healthy, patient, and tactful. They want workers who like to help people and who can be depended on. They look for teamwork skills, such as working well with others, communicating carefully, and being willing to do routine tasks over and over.

Costs to workers

Some workers join professional associations, which may have annual dues.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


The minimum wage for Washington State as of January 1, 2020 is $13.50 per hour. Some areas of the state may have a higher minimum wage.

Medical equipment preparers (SOC 31-9093)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $13.90 $16.24 $19.22 $22.70 $25.09
Monthly $2,409 $2,814 $3,331 $3,934 $4,348
Yearly $28,900 $33,770 $39,990 $47,210 $52,190
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $13.32 $15.12 $18.28 $20.80 $23.85
Monthly $2,308 $2,620 $3,168 $3,605 $4,133
Yearly $27,705 $31,450 $38,011 $43,267 $49,621
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $13.57 $15.25 $18.41 $21.32 $24.54
Monthly $2,352 $2,643 $3,190 $3,695 $4,253
Yearly $28,221 $31,719 $38,306 $44,359 $51,048
    Longview Hourly $12.57 $15.49 $19.04 $22.53 $24.98
Monthly $2,178 $2,684 $3,300 $3,904 $4,329
Yearly $26,137 $32,231 $39,610 $46,864 $51,951
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $14.49 $16.59 $18.77 $22.05 $24.36
Monthly $2,511 $2,875 $3,253 $3,821 $4,222
Yearly $30,149 $34,491 $39,052 $45,854 $50,655
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $13.87 $16.41 $19.08 $22.53 $25.11
Monthly $2,404 $2,844 $3,307 $3,904 $4,352
Yearly $28,845 $34,143 $39,689 $46,871 $52,226
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $15.54 $17.84 $21.40 $24.44 $27.40
Monthly $2,693 $3,092 $3,709 $4,235 $4,748
Yearly $32,337 $37,116 $44,501 $50,832 $57,001
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $14.80 $16.61 $18.52 $21.26 $24.36
Monthly $2,565 $2,879 $3,210 $3,684 $4,222
Yearly $30,782 $34,536 $38,510 $44,228 $50,661
    Vancouver Hourly $16.06 $18.10 $21.84 $25.71 $29.92
Monthly $2,783 $3,137 $3,785 $4,456 $5,185
Yearly $33,407 $37,661 $45,426 $53,473 $62,233
    Wenatchee Hourly $14.26 $16.38 $19.27 $22.68 $25.09
Monthly $2,471 $2,839 $3,339 $3,930 $4,348
Yearly $29,671 $34,071 $40,089 $47,170 $52,183
    Yakima Hourly $12.87 $14.20 $16.51 $19.22 $22.46
Monthly $2,230 $2,461 $2,861 $3,331 $3,892
Yearly $26,766 $29,543 $34,357 $39,974 $46,723
United States Hourly $12.19 $14.23 $17.42 $21.51 $25.74
Monthly $2,113 $2,466 $3,019 $3,728 $4,461
Yearly $25,350 $29,590 $36,240 $44,750 $53,540

Wages vary by the equipment preparers level of training and experience. Wages also vary by area of the country.

Benefits may vary by employer. However, most equipment preparers receive typical benefits, such as paid vacation, sick leave, and health insurance.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Medical Equipment Preparers (SOC 31-9093)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 1,541 20.8% 16.1% 272
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 59 27.1% 13.4% 11
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 36 16.7% 8.6% 6
    Benton and Franklin Counties 110 22.7% 15.0% 20
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 58 24.1% 11.9% 11
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 69 24.6% 15.2% 13
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 148 20.9% 14.1% 26
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 99 22.2% 14.6% 18
    King County 465 23.4% 19.6% 86
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 38 7.9% 13.8% 5
    Pierce County 201 24.4% 15.2% 37
    Snohomish County 153 24.2% 12.4% 28
    Spokane County 110 17.3% 13.9% 18
United States 57,600 8.0% 5.2% 7,300

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation will be strong. Technology advances in medical procedures mean more procedures will be performed. An increase in the aging population will increase the need for medical procedures. Hospitals are the main employers of equipment preparers.

Job openings will occur as people leave the occupation for better paying jobs. Job prospects are good for entry-level workers.

Other resources

Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (external link)
1392 US Hwy 22 W
Lebanon, NJ 08833


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational cluster