Dental Sterilization Technician Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More (2023)

Table Of Contents

  • Dental Sterilization Technician Job Duties
  • Dental Sterilization Technician Job Requirements
  • Dental Sterilization Technician Skills
  • Dental Sterilization Technician Work Environment
  • Dental Sterilization Technician Trends
  • How to Become a Dental Sterilization Technician
  • Advancement Prospects
  • Job Description Example

Dental sterilization technicians are responsible for ensuring that dental instruments and equipment are properly cleaned, disinfected, and sterilized before being used on patients. This is a critical role in the dental field, as improperly cleaned or sterilized instruments can lead to serious infections or other complications.

Dental sterilization technicians typically work under the supervision of a dentist or dental hygienist. They may also work with other dental professionals such as dental assistants or dental laboratory technicians.

Dental Sterilization Technician Job Duties

Dental sterilization technicians have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Maintaining inventory of sterilizers and other equipment used for sterilization processes
  • Communicating with the dentist about details of the procedure
  • Observing instruments during sterilization procedures to ensure that sterilization standards are being followed
  • Cleaning and sterilizing equipment used in dental offices such as drills and x-ray machines
  • Performing sterilization tasks such as autoclave sterilization and dry sterilization
  • Preparing sterilization equipment for use by maintaining sterilizer logs and maintenance schedules
  • Determining whether sterilization equipment is working properly by performing routine maintenance checks
  • Preparing sterilization solutions such as chemical solutions used in autoclaves
  • Sterilizing dental instruments using various methods such as immersion, exposure to radiation, or dry heat sterilization

Dental Sterilization Technician Salary & Outlook

Dental sterilization technicians’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $40,504 ($19.47/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $68,000 ($32.69/hour)

The employment of dental sterilization technicians is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

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As dentists continue to expand their practices, they will need more dental equipment and supplies. In addition, as the population ages, there will be a greater demand for dental services, which will require more dental sterilization technicians to ensure that the equipment is properly cleaned and sterilized.

Related: Dental Sterilization Technician Interview Questions and Answers

Dental Sterilization Technician Job Requirements

A dental sterilization technician typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Dental sterilization technicians are typically required to have a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some employers may require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as biology or chemistry. Courses in biology, chemistry and mathematics can help dental sterilization technicians understand the dental field and assist them in their job.

Training & Experience: Most dental sterilization technicians receive on-the-job training. This training is usually part of the orientation process with a new employer and may last for a few weeks. During this time, the dental sterilization technician will learn about the facility’s sterilization procedures and equipment. They will also learn about the facility’s sterilization log and how to use the sterilization monitoring software.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not usually a requirement for this role, although some states do have licensure requirements for sterilization technicians. Sterilization technicians should therefore check the requirements in their state before applying for positions.

Dental Sterilization Technician Skills

Dental sterilization technicians need the following skills in order to be successful:

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Attention to detail: When sterilizing dental equipment, it’s important to follow the proper procedures to ensure the safety of patients and the longevity of the equipment. Attention to detail can help you follow the proper sterilization procedures and identify any issues with the equipment. This can help you identify and repair any issues before they affect patient care or the equipment.

Communication skills: Communication skills are necessary for dental sterilization technicians to have, as they often work with other members of a dental team. These professionals often communicate with patients and other members of the dental team to relay information and ensure that the sterilization process is completed correctly.

Knowledge of sterilization methods: Dental sterilization technicians use a variety of sterilization methods to ensure the safety of dental equipment and materials. They should have a thorough understanding of the different methods of sterilization, including radiation, steam and chemical sterilization, to ensure they are using the most effective methods. They should also be familiar with the different types of sterilization equipment, such as autoclaves and sterilization cabinets, to ensure they are using the correct equipment for each method.

Ability to work independently: When working as a dental sterilization technician, you may be required to complete your duties without supervision. This means you may need to know how to complete your tasks and checklists independently. This can help you work efficiently and complete your tasks on time.

Technical knowledge: Dental sterilization technicians should have a thorough understanding of sterilization processes and procedures. They should be able to identify the types of equipment and materials used in the sterilization process and understand the proper methods for using them. This knowledge can help them to ensure that the sterilization process is effective and safe.

Dental Sterilization Technician Work Environment

Dental sterilization technicians work in dental offices, clinics, and laboratories. They work full time, and their work hours may include evenings and weekends. Dental sterilization technicians may be exposed to infectious diseases and to hazardous chemicals. They must take precautions to protect themselves, such as wearing gloves, masks, and protective clothing.

Dental Sterilization Technician Trends

Here are three trends influencing how dental sterilization technicians work. Dental sterilization technicians will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

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The Need for More Dental Hygienists

The dental industry is growing rapidly, and the need for dental hygienists is increasing along with it. This means that dental sterilization technicians will be in high demand as they are responsible for ensuring that dental instruments are clean and ready to use.

As the dental industry continues to grow, dental sterilization technicians will be needed to help keep up with the increased demand for dental services. They will need to be able to work quickly and efficiently in order to meet the needs of their patients.

More Focus on Preventative Dentistry

Preventative dentistry is becoming increasingly popular among dental professionals, as it allows them to identify and treat problems before they become too severe. This trend is likely to continue as more and more people realize the importance of preventive care.

As a dental sterilization technician, you can capitalize on this trend by becoming an expert in preventative dentistry. This will allow you to provide valuable services to your patients, such as cleaning teeth and providing advice on how to maintain good oral health.

A Greater Emphasis on Patient Comfort

(Video) Dental Sterilization

Dental offices are placing a greater emphasis on patient comfort in order to create a more pleasant environment. This is being done through the use of technology, such as music and television, as well as through the use of soft materials in the waiting area.

As a dental sterilization technician, you can play a key role in creating a comfortable environment for patients. By using soft materials and music, you can help to make patients feel at ease while they wait for their appointment.

How to Become a Dental Sterilization Technician

A dental sterilization technician has a unique career path that can lead to many different opportunities. They can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. They can also specialize in different areas, such as infection control or instrumentation.

To be successful in this field, it’s important to have strong communication skills, be able to work independently, and be detail-oriented. It’s also helpful to have knowledge of the latest sterilization techniques and regulations.

Advancement Prospects

Dental sterilization technicians may advance to positions such as dental hygienist, dental assistant, or office manager. With experience, they may open their own dental practice.

Dental Sterilization Technician Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we provide high-quality dental care to our patients. As a sterilization technician, you will be responsible for ensuring that all of the dental instruments are properly sterilized. This is a critical role in protecting our patients from infection. You will also be responsible for maintaining all of the sterilization equipment and keeping accurate records. The ideal candidate will have experience working in a dental office and be able to work independently.

Duties & Responsibilities

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  • Adhere to all safety protocols and infection control procedures while handling dental instruments, materials, and devices
  • Select the appropriate sterilization method for each type of instrument, material, or device based on manufacturer’s instructions
  • Operate autoclaves, ultrasonic cleaners, and other decontamination equipment according to manufacturer’s instructions and OSHA standards
  • Prepare instruments and materials for sterilization by cleaning, wrapping, and labeling them according to established protocols
  • Maintain accurate records of all items sterilized, including dates, times, and methods used
  • Inspect sterilized items for damage and proper functioning before use
  • Restock supplies of clean instruments, materials, and devices as needed
  • Keep work areas clean and organized at all times
  • Dispose of biohazardous waste according to OSHA standards
  • Assist dentists and dental assistants with patient care as needed
  • Perform routine maintenance on sterilization equipment according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • Attend continuing education courses as needed to keep up with changes in technology and infection control guidelines

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Completion of a dental sterilization technician program
  • Registered with the state dental board
  • 1-2 years experience working in a dental office
  • Thorough understanding of OSHA and CDC guidelines for infection control
  • Excellent communication, customer service, and time management skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Associate’s degree in a related field
  • Certification from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB)
  • Experience working with autoclaves and other sterilization equipment
  • Knowledge of dental terminology and procedures


Which duties and responsibilities of a sterilization assistant? ›

Cleans and sets up treatment rooms for scheduled procedures. Prepares, Decontaminates, and disinfects instruments, tray set up and instrument sterilization. Records treatment information on patient charts. Secondarily assists front desk personnel and performs administrative duties when needed.

What are the roles of a sterile processing technician? ›

The Sterile Processing Technician is assigned duties performing decontamination, preparation, sterilization and distribution of surgical instruments and medical equipment throughout the surgery center, utilizing infection control and safety practices during all phases of the process.

What does sterilization do in dentistry? ›

Sterilization in dentistry is a critical procedure in the reprocessing of reusable dental equipment after its use. Sterilization kills, deactivates, and eliminates all forms of life and other biological agents. In dental procedures, dental instruments come into contact with saliva, blood, and other biological fluids.

What is the top pay for a sterile processing technician? ›

Sterile Processing Technician Salary in California
Annual SalaryMonthly Pay
Top Earners$88,173$7,347
75th Percentile$74,200$6,183
25th Percentile$43,000$3,583

What are the responsibilities of sterility assurance? ›

Provide oversight and Sterility Assurance expertise to Operations to assure all applicable regulatory requirements are met. Write, review, and/or approve environmental cleaning protocols to support cleaning practices. Design and implement training program(s) for cleanroom behavior and contamination control practices.

What are the four major areas of the sterilization department? ›

Sterile Processing Departments are typically divided into four major areas to accomplish the functions of decontamination, assembly and sterile processing, sterile storage, and distribution.

What is the most important aspect of sterile processing? ›

Sterile processing is a crucial aspect of healthcare, ensuring that all medical instruments and equipment are properly cleaned, disinfected, and sterilized to prevent the spread of infection and disease.

What is the role of a sterile processing team lead? ›

Duties. Supports daily operations of all activities that relate to the reprocessing of reusable medical supplies and instrumentation including decontamination, cleaning, assembly, wrapping, sterilization, and storage processes within all set professional standards and regulations.

What temperature is a dental sterilizer? ›

Different Types of Dental Sterilizers

In addition to a sterilizing temperature of 375°F (191°C), many have a cool down cycle. This means you can easily handle the material immediately after sterilization.

What is a dental assistant sterilization? ›

GENERAL PURPOSE: The Dental Sterilization Technician (DST) is under the supervision of the RDA Clinic Lead, and is responsible for keeping dental instruments clean, sanitized, organized and ready for use throughout the day. As well as set up/ breakdown of treatment rooms.

What are the 3 most common forms of heat sterilization in the dental office? ›

In dentistry, there are three ways to sterilize instruments: steam under pressure, dry heat, and chemical vapor.

How much does a sterile technician earn in the US? ›

$41,500 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $71,500 is the 75th percentile.

How much do sterile processing techs make an hour in Florida? ›

Sterile Processing Technician Salary Guide: Florida

The average salary for a Sterile Processing Technician in Florida is $16.36 per hour. This is 50% lower than the US average of $24.57. Estimate based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

What is the hourly pay for sterile processing technician in Florida? ›

$16.20 is the 25th percentile. Wages below this are outliers. $27.88 is the 75th percentile.

What are the responsibilities of a nurse in sterilization? ›

The nurse should wear a sterile gown and rubber gloves, assist the surgeons during the operation, should be responsible for the sterility during operation, if any breach in the sterility technique, she should bring it immediately to the notice of the surgeon. Sterilisation by boiling in the hospital ward.

What is the role of sterilization in nursing practice? ›

Achieving disinfection and sterilization through the use of disinfectants and sterilization practices is essential for ensuring that medical and surgical instruments do not transmit infectious pathogens to patients.


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