Sterilising Technician Kaihangarau Whakahoromata

Sterilising technicians clean, sterilise and package surgical instruments and other hospital equipment, soft goods and linen in a sterilisation unit.

The New Zealand Sterile Services Association recommends that sterilising technicians register with them.

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.

Physical Requirements

Sterilising technicians need to have good hand-eye co-ordination.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for sterilising technicians includes work in health administration or health services.

Personal Qualities

Sterilising technicians need to be able to:

  • pay attention to detail
  • follow instructions
  • work as part of a team with other health professionals.


Sterilising technicians need to have knowledge of:

  • sterilising techniques, and surgical equipment and instruments
  • safe working practices including appropriate protective clothing.


Sterilising technicians:

  • usually work rostered shifts and may work weekdays, nights and/or weekends
  • work in the sterilising units of public and private hospitals and clinics.

Subject Recommendations

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 can earn around $44K-$56K per year.

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 usually earn between $44,000 and $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.

Sterilising technicians may progress to become team leaders or anaesthetic technicians.

Years Of Training

2 years of training usually required.

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.
Sterilising Technician