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How to become a decontamination technician

To become a decontamination technician in the NHS, you must complete a work-based training programme. You can apply for trainee decontamination technician opportunities on our recruitment website.

What is a decontamination technician?

Decontamination technicians work in teams that decontaminate reusable medical devices to make sure they are returned to the users in a sterile condition for reuse on patients.

These devices, which are used in operations, procedures or examinations, might come from:

  • theatres
  • wards
  • clinics

As a decontamination technician, you’ll provide a safe and efficient service to all specialties, including:

  • orthopaedics
  • general surgery
  • ear, nose and throat (ENT)
  • ophthalmic
  • gynaecology
  • urology

Starting your career as decontamination technician

Choosing subjects at school

To become a decontamination technician, you'll need a good standard of education. Useful subjects include:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science

Speak to your guidance teacher about subjects offered at your school.

Work placements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some healthcare experience by doing a work placement or volunteering. You’ll get training, increase your knowledge, and learn new skills. This could help you when applying to university, college or a new job with NHSScotland. 

Education and training pathway

You’ll need to complete a work-based training programme to become a decontamination technician in the NHS. 

Institute of Decontamination Sciences (IDSc) training programme

As a trainee, you’ll complete the IDSc training programme in the workplace. It is equivalent to SCQF level 6. Throughout your training, you’ll learn all the skills you need to work in each area of the unit. You’ll also have a mentor and be supported by colleagues.

Once you complete the programme, you’ll sit the IDSc Technical Certificate exam.

You can apply for training opportunities on our recruitment website.

Get to know the role

You’ll begin a training programme once you start work as a decontamination technician. During the one-year training progeramme, you’ll be mentored and supported by colleagues and a supervisory team.

The training programme is designed to make you multiskilled. It means you'll have the knowledge and skills to decontaminate medical devices for all specialities in every work area of the unit. 

As a decontamination technician, you’ll work with a variety of medical devices. You'll carefully follow guidelines and procedures to make sure they’re properly decontaminated.

Every medical device needs to be:

  • disassembled
  • cleaned
  • disinfected
  • checked
  • reassembled
  • packaged
  • sterilised
  • despatched
  • tracked

You’ll use a range of automated equipment to carry out these tasks.

Once you’ve completed your training, you may also be expected to help train junior staff in your service.

You'll need these skills:

  • attention to detail
  • communication
  • time management
  • organisation

You should also have basic computer skills.

You’ll work alongside other decontamination technicians and senior supervisors in the decontamination unit.

You’ll work a rotating shift rota as a decontamination technician. You could be working in the washroom, cleanroom, or steriliser room during your shift.

Learning and development

With training and experience, you could become a supervisor, where you’ll train and manage decontamination technicians.

Professional bodies

Once you become a decontamination technician, you can register to join the Institute of Decontamination Sciences (IDSc).

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