Sterile Services Technician

Job Description:

Sterile services technicians clean and decontaminate equipment used in hospital operating theatres, clinics and wards.

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

As a sterile services technician, you could:

  • collect, clean and sterilise equipment
  • check that all instruments are clean and working
  • deliver sterile supplies to wards and departments
  • restock supplies of items like dressings, needles and syringes
  • operate a steam sterilising machine


You’ll need:

  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
  • pass enhanced background checks
  • the ability to analyse quality or performance

As well as:

  • concentration skills
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • observation and recording skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisation skills)
  • the ability to work on your own
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a sterile services technician, you’ll need a strong foundation in science, health, and technical skills. While there are no specific subjects that are mandatory for this career, certain subjects can provide a foundation for skills and knowledge that will be helpful in your future studies and career as a sterile services technician.

Here are some subjects that can be beneficial:

  1. Biology: Biology provides an understanding of the principles of life sciences and the human body, which is valuable for understanding infection control and sterilisation techniques.
  2. Chemistry: Chemistry can provide knowledge about chemical processes, reactions, and the properties of materials, which is relevant for understanding sterilisation methods and equipment.
  3. Physics: Physics can help you understand the physical properties and principles involved in the operation of sterilization equipment and medical devices.
  4. Mathematics: Basic mathematical skills are important for measurements, calculations, and record-keeping in sterile services.
  5. Information Technology (IT): Proficiency in IT skills is valuable for managing and documenting sterilization processes, as well as working with electronic records and equipment.
  6. Health and Social Care or Vocational Courses: If your school offers health and social care or vocational courses related to healthcare, they can provide insights into the healthcare environment and infection control practices.
  7. Design and Technology: Courses in design and technology can help you develop practical skills and an understanding of equipment design and maintenance, which is applicable in sterile services.

Ultimately, becoming a successful sterile services technician requires attention to detail, a commitment to maintaining high standards of hygiene and safety, and a dedication to ensuring that medical equipment and instruments are properly sterilised for the safety of patients and healthcare professionals.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

Courses which may give you an advantage when applying for trainee roles include:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Applied Science
  • A level Biology or Chemistry
  • T Level in Healthcare Science

You could start by taking a Healthcare Science Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship or a Healthcare Science Associate Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship.

You might have an advantage when looking for jobs if you have volunteering experience in a healthcare setting.

Direct Application
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, in English and maths.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typically you could work 37 to 42 hours a week, potentially including evenings, weekends, or holidays.

You could work in an public or private hospital.

Your working environment may be physically demanding and humid.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could become a supervisor or manager in a decontamination sciences department.

With further training you may be able to move into other areas of healthcare or general health service management.