How to Become an Anesthesia Technician in 5 Steps
Research what it takes to become an anesthesia technician. Learn about the educational requirements, certification, job outlook, and salary information to find out if this is the career for you.
What Does an Anesthesia Technician Do?
Anesthesia technicians provide assistance to licensed anesthesia professionals. They prepare equipment for the delivery of anesthesia to patients undergoing surgery or to those with chronic pain. These professionals sterilize any equipment used on the job as needed. Working with other healthcare professionals such as nurses and surgeons, you will assist in prepping patients for surgery by assisting with the administration of anesthesia and attend to them during and after the operation.
More information on this career can be found in the table below.
|Degree Required||Associate degree typical|
|Certification||Certified Anesthesia Technician (Cer.A.T.) can be helpful in job market|
|Education Field of Study||Anesthesia technology|
|Key Skills||Attention to details, physical stamina to stand for long periods, ability to manage stress|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||9% increase (surgical technologists)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$47,300 (surgical technologists)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Is an Anesthesia Technician?
Anesthesia technicians, or anesthesia technologists, assist anesthesiologists with the administration of drugs to patients who are in chronic pain or undergoing surgery. Working on an anesthesia team, you'll prepare the instruments and medication for anesthetic procedures.
Step 1: Research Anesthesia Technician Career Duties
As an anesthesia technician, you'll clean and sterilize equipment and order replacement supplies. You may test and troubleshoot the equipment used during these procedures. You'll work in a team with anesthesiologist assistants, nurses, and anesthesiologists to prep patients for surgery, and you'll remain with them during the surgery and post-op. In some instances, you may comfort or calm patients who remain conscious during surgery. You'll likely work in hospitals or outpatient medical centers.
Step 2: Complete High School
The first step to becoming an anesthesia technician is to complete high school. Before entering college you'll want to prepare with classes in math, science, and computer science. If given the choice of sciences, biology and chemistry are most appropriate to this career.
Step 3: Go to College
To prepare for this career, you'll want to look for associate degree programs in anesthesia technology. These 2-year programs are offered both online and on campus, though online programs will still require in-person clinical experiences. Courses in these programs teach you the basics of working with anesthesia, such as pharmacology, anatomy, medical ethics, medical terminology, anesthesia instruments, monitoring vitals, and procedures.
Some colleges offer 1-year technical skills programs in anesthesia technology. This type of program is taught year-round and includes a clinical experience.
Step 4: Complete a Clinical Experience
While some degree programs include clinical experiences, others don't. This clinical experience can be gained on the job if you move directly into a career out of high school. In some cases, you may be able to shadow current technicians prior to college admission, to decide whether the career is right for you. You'll become familiar with anesthetic instruments, medication, and working with real patients during these practicums.
Step 5: Become a Certified Anesthesia Technician (Cer.A.T.)
The American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT) provides certification for anesthesia technicians (www.asatt.org). ASATT offers several routes to becoming a Certified Anesthesia Technician (Cer.A.T.). As a high school graduate, you can acquire two years of experience through an internship then sit for the certification exam. You can also sit for the exam if you have completed a 2-year accredited college program in anesthesia technology.
What Are Some Related Careers?
Surgical technologists are a more general group of professionals to which anesthesia technicians are a part of. They assist surgeons and nurses during surgery in a similar manner to anesthesia technicians, handing them tools and ensuring sterility of equipment and the operating room during the procedure. Dental assistants help with administrative tasks in dentists' offices, as well as provide basic patient care and take X-rays of teeth prior to a dentist seeing the patient. Medical assistants have similar responsibilities to dental assistants, only within a doctor's office, filing papers, scheduling appointments, and meeting with patients prior to seeing the doctor.