So You Want to Be a Traveling Sterile Processing Technician?

Travel assignments can be fun and financially rewarding. They offer a unique opportunity to explore the country, see new places, experience new cultures, and meet new friends.  I am a Registered Nurse and early in my career, I was a “traveler”.  I learned very quickly that being prepared was the key to getting the assignments and pay that I wanted.  Sure, travel nursing has been around for a long time and is very competitive; however, we are seeing dramatic increases in requests for travel Sterile Processing Technicians.  As the demand increases, you can bet that the completion for the premium jobs will too.  Be prepared!   Here are 10 tips that should help you be successful as a travel SPD and OR tech!


  • Sign up in advance with a reputable travel staffing company that understands the unique challenges associated with the Sterile Processing industry.

    Be available and be prompt!  It’s easy to submit your name and resume for an assignment. The fun starts when the hospital gives the green light.  You will be asked to provide much of the information included in this blog in addition to filling out paperwork, I9 verifications, W4s, applications, etc.  Your recruiter is not going to be happy if they can’t reach you in a reasonable time or if they have to keep reminding you to provide something they have requested.  You risk losing the opportunity if you drag your feet.  Also, be aware that you only get one chance to make a first impression on your new employer!

  • Get certified!

    Yes, we know most states don’t require it; however, most hospitals require it for travel positions.  Think about it.  The hospital pays more for a “traveler” so they expect more in return.  Certification will give you a significant advantage over the competition.

  • Build your resume.

    If you don’t have a resume, then build one or have someone build one for you.  Only include pertinent industry experience, education, and certification  Keep it to one page and make sure you keep it up to date!

  • Immunizations:  Keep your records! 

    Save them on the “cloud” you never lose them!  Most hospitals will require at a minimum: TDAP, MMR, HepB, TB test within the last 1 year, Varicella, and seasonal “Flu” shots.

  • Have an updated physical exam.

    Many hospitals require an annual occupational physical exam.  Keep your records!

  • Basic life support / CPR certification

    Although some don’t, most hospitals require BLS certification.  Even if they don’t, BLS certification is a good thing to have and a responsible choice as a healthcare provider.

  • Background test and drug screenings.

    Life Happens!  Most everyone I know has done something they regret at some point in time but please be aware that every hospital is going to require these.  If you suspect the results of either are going to be an issue, please be honest and transparent and discuss your concerns with your recruiter before they purchase the screenings. Your recruiter can then discuss your situation with the hospital to determine if it makes sense to proceed.  If you worked previously for a different travel company, request copies as they are typically valid for one year.

  • Start planning your travel and living arrangements as early in the process as possible.

    Good resources are Airbnb, Craigslist, and national chain Extended Stays.  Questions to consider would include:  Will you be driving? Will you be flying and utilizing public transportation?  Do you need daycare?  Do you have family in the area?

  • Finally, Enjoy the experience! 

    Yes, we agree the onboarding process for a traveler can be a huge headache; however, when it’s all said and done and you are sitting on the beach or looking at the mountains, or whatever your preference of location may be…you will be able to take a deep breath, reflect,  and know it was all worth it!

Find your next opportunity with MOAB Healthcare!

To learn more about hiring surgical specialists who are knowledgeable, experienced, and thoroughly vetted, contact the experts at MOAB Healthcare, the nationwide leader in sterilization technician staffing.

Reach out to us at

Call us at 1-833-SPD-TECH