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Launching Your Healthcare Career: Sterile Processing Technician vs. Practical Nurse Program

The idea of becoming a healthcare professional can be simultaneously thrilling and overwhelming. As a healthcare professional, there are many career paths to choose from; therefore, it is important to be aware of each job’s roles and responsibilities. In this extensive guide, we shall look at the area of the Sterile Processing Technician and the Practical Nurse Program in detail. 

In the end, you will be a step closer to becoming a healthcare professional and will have a clearer vision of which career you should choose based on your personal goals and desires.

What is a Sterile Processing Technician?

Have you ever thought about the techniques hospitals employ to ensure their instruments are both clean and sterile? That is where sterile processing technicians step in. They are an integral part of the patient safety system because they correctly and completely sterilize medical instruments, equipment, and supplies.

The role of a Sterile Processing Technician in ensuring the high quality of work and a low risk of infections during surgical and other medical procedures is a vital issue that should be taken into account. Without them, procedures like surgeries and medical interventions would be hazardous because of the risk of infection.

Training Program

To become a Certified Sterile Processing Technician, you generally need to complete a training program, and this program lasts from a few months to a year. These programs deal with topics like infection control, sterilization techniques, medical terminology, etc.

Interactive training in healthcare facilities is often a part of the course offering hands-on training in a healthcare setting. These training courses provide you with all the equipment and information that are necessary for you to keep the safety and performance of medical procedures by sticking to the sterilization processes.

Job Outlook: Sterile Processing Technician

Over the next few years, the healthcare sector is predicted to expand, and the demand for Sterile Processing Technicians will increase concurrently. With an aging population and medical technology development, there will be more demand for sterile processing services to support surgical procedures and other medical interventions.

With the development of healthcare to bring about the needs of the changing population geography and the evolving medical practices, the role of the Sterile Processing Technicians becomes even more vital.

What do the Practical Nurses (PN) do?

In some states, practical Nurses, also known as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs), are essential members of the healthcare team. They work under the supervision of registered nurses and doctors to provide basic nursing care to patients in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities.

Working under the direction of registered nurses and physicians, Practical Nurses take on the most important role of making sure that the patients receive the support and care they need. Practical nurses are the ones who approach the patient massage and ensure patient wellbeing, and they play critical roles that contribute to the general quality of healthcare delivery.

PN Program

To become a Practical Nurse, you have to enroll in a Practical Nurse Program that will take you 12 to 18 months to complete. One of the main goals of these programs is to teach students the basics of anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and patient care techniques. There is the practical side, too, which you will be able to gain through clinical rotations in different healthcare settings, where you will learn to administer medication, take vital signs, and assist with patient care.

Job Outlook: Practical Nurses

The demand for Practical Nurses is expected to remain strong due to the growing need for healthcare services. As the population ages and chronic diseases become more prevalent, there will be an increased demand for skilled nursing professionals to provide care and support to patients in various settings.

With a wide range of job functions and healthcare demands growing exponentially, the career prospects for Practical Nurses are very promising, enabling them with plentiful employment and professional growth opportunities within the healthcare industry.

Choosing the Right Path

So, which path is right for you? 

At the end of the day, it is a matter of individual preferences, career aspirations, and personal interests.

If you’re a detail-oriented person and you’re interested in providing patient safety in a behind-the-scenes position, then a job as a Sterile Processing Technician can serve you well.

On the other hand, if you like being in direct contact with patients, providing hands-on care, and making a positive impact in their lives, then you can consider a Practical Nurse career as the right one for you.

Additional Considerations

The choice between being a Sterile Processing Technician or a Practical Nurse is significant, but we have to consider many more factors. For example, think about the prerequisites for education and the possible opportunities for promotion in each specialty. The Sterile Processing Technicians can have a chance to specialize in areas such as endoscopy or surgical instrument repair, while the Practical Nurses can expand their education to become Registered Nurses (RNs) or assume leadership roles.


Even though the roles of a Sterile Processing Technician and a Practical Nurse may be distinctly different, both these professions are crucial for the healthcare sector. Whether you decide to pursue a career as a Sterile Processing Technician or enroll in a Practical Nurse Program, you will go through a path that is difficult yet fulfilling. It will be a great chance to change the world for the better.

Moreover, you need to pursue your passion, make use of your talents, and reach your goals by choosing a career that is in line with your interests, strengths, and goals. If you are dedicated, determined, and fortunate enough to receive the right education and training, you can become a member of the healthcare field.

So, check out all possible courses of action, pay attention to advantages and disadvantages, and make a thoughtful decision for a successful healthcare career!

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