Sterilising technicians clean, sterilise and package surgical instruments and other hospital equipment, soft goods and linen in a sterilisation unit.
New sterilising technicians usually earn
$47K-$56K per year
Experienced sterilising technicians usually earn
$57K-$67K per year
Source: Rest of NZ DHBs and PSA, 2020.
Pay rates for sterilising technicians varies depending on experience and qualifications.
- Sterilising technicians who are working and training usually start on minimum wage.
- Qualified sterilising technicians can earn up to $56,000 a year.
- Senior sterilising technicians and those with extra skills or responsibilities can earn between $57,000 and $67,000.
Source: Rest of NZ DHBs, PSA, ‘Allied, Public Health and Technical Multi Employer Collective Agreement’, 2020.
- PAYE.net.nz website – use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Employment New Zealand website - information about minimum wage rates
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Sterilising technicians may do some or all of the following:
- clean and disassemble surgical equipment and instruments
- load, operate and empty washing and sterilising machines
- reassemble and repackage equipment and instruments for different operations
- ensure sterile instruments and equipment are clean and working properly, and are distributed to hospital surgical wards as ordered
- answer customer requests for information about the sterile service
- keep records of sterilised equipment.
Skills and knowledge
Sterilising technicians need to have knowledge of:
- sterilising techniques, and surgical equipment and instruments
- safe working practices including appropriate protective clothing.
- usually work rostered shifts and may work weekdays, nights and/or weekends
- work in the sterilising units of public and private hospitals and clinics.
To become a sterilising technician you need to:
- gain a position as a trainee sterilising technician
- study for a New Zealand Certificate in Sterilising Technology (Level 3) from Open Polytechnic. Most sterilising technicians study by correspondence while working and training on the job.
- The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand website - information about the Certificate in Sterilising Technology
No specific secondary education is required to enter this job, but health education, biology and maths to at least NCEA Level 3 are useful.
Sterilising technicians need to be able to:
- pay attention to detail
- follow instructions
- work as part of a team with other health professionals.
Useful experience for sterilising technicians includes work in health administration or health services.
Sterilising technicians need to have good hand-eye co-ordination.
The New Zealand Sterile Services Association recommends that sterilising technicians register with them.
- New Zealand Sterile Services Association website - information on sterilising technician registration
Find out more about training
- New Zealand Sterile Services Association (NZSSA)
- firstname.lastname@example.org - www.nzssa.org
What are the chances of getting a job?
Slow turnover of staff, but the occupation is growing
Turnover among sterilising technicians is average due to people tending to stay in the role for at least a few years.
However, sterilsing technician appears on Immigration New Zealand's Green List. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled sterilsing technicians from overseas to work in New Zealand.
Chances of securing a job as a sterilising technician are best if you approach employers directly.
According to the Census, the number of sterilising technicians grew from 552 in 2013 to 696 in 2018.
Sterilising technicians usually work in the health sector
Sterilising technicians usually work for Te Whatu Ora Health NZ, private hospitals and clinics. A few work in other areas such as tattoo parlours, beauty therapy, the military and education providers such as the University of Otago.
- Immigration New Zealand, Green List, April 2023, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- New Zealand Sterile Services Association website, accessed September 2020, (www.nzssa.org).
- Green, K, central sterilising unit manager, Northland District Health Board, careers.govt.nz interview, 23 November 2020.
- The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand website, accessed November 2020, (www.openpolytechnic.ac.nz).
- Rest of NZ DHBs, PSA, ‘Allied, Public Health and Technical Multi Employer Collective Agreement’, accessed 2020, (www.bopdhb.govt.nz).
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2020.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Sterilising technicians may progress to become team leaders or anaesthetic technicians.
Last updated 13 April 2023