Anesthesia Technician: Career, Outlook and Education Requirements

An anesthesia technician assists nurses and doctors by caring for the equipment and supplies used to administer surgical anesthesia. Find out educational and certification requirements as well as job duties and employment outlook. Schools offering Anesthesia Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is An Anesthesia Technician?

Prior to surgery an anesthesia technician will ensure the anesthesia equipment is clean, calibrated, and ready for use. Anesthesia technicians assist anesthesiologists in administering anesthesia to patients prior to surgery, and monitor the patient during the surgery. The technician pays close attention to the equipment to ensure it's working properly and notes any anomalies and performs inspections of the equipment after the surgery. When repairs are needed the anesthesia technician makes those arrangements. The table below contains important details about becoming anesthesia technician.

Degree Required 2-year degree or 1-year certificate preferred
Education Field of Study Anesthesia technology
Key Duties Assist anesthesiologists in surgery
Job Growth (2014-2024) 15%* (all surgical technologists)
Median Salary (2017) $37,940**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com.

What Education Do I Need to Become an Anesthesia Technician?

While a degree is not required to become an anesthesia technician (AT), some employers want you to have a 2-year degree in an AT program or a healthcare field. Many community and technical colleges offer an Associate of Science in Anesthesia Technology. Some schools offer 1-year AT certificate programs. Your education may include basic life support, anesthetic pharmacology, medical terminology, EKG analysis and clinical experience.

What Certification Do I Need?

If you have a 2-year degree from an approved AT program or at least two years of AT experience, you may gain certification by passing the Certified Anesthesia Technician (Cer.A.T.) exam, which is offered by the American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT). An ASATT survey done in 2006 indicated that earning certification could help you earn more pay and allow you to perform more advanced surgical tasks (www.asatt.org).

After you gain some experience as a Cer.A.T., you are eligible to take an exam to become a Certified Anesthesia Technologist (CER.A.T.T.). As a CER.A.T.T., you may participate in advanced surgical tasks, such as the operation of auto transfusion equipment, management of volume resuscitation and cardiac life support.

What Would My Job Duties Be?

According to the BLS, 70% of ATs work in hospitals as of 2014. As an AT, you may work under the supervision of an anesthesiologist or a registered nurse to maintain, test and troubleshoot anesthesia equipment and supplies. You might also monitor delivery systems used to administer anesthesia to patients. If you are a Cer.A.T., you might maintain supply inventory, assist in patient assessments, insert intravenous lines and maintain patient airways.

What Is the Career Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for surgical technologists and technicians, such as anesthesia technicians, were expected to grow much faster than average (www.bls.gov). The BLS pointed to the aging population, which may require more surgery, as one reason for the expected 15% increase during the decade 2014-2024. The BLS also noted that more surgeries are being performed, contributing to an increased need for surgical technologists and technicians. As of January 2017, PayScale.com stated that most anesthesia technicians earned an annual salary that ranged from $28,062 to $61,888.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Medical assistants, nurses and dental assistants all perform some tasks that are similar to those of anesthesia technicians. They all use medical equipment that they have to monitor and inspect regularly. Nurses may perform duties that range from personal care of a patient to updating their charts or assisting with a surgery. Medical assistants may also perform a similar range of duties. Dental assistants work with the dentist during dental procedures, and may also assist during dental surgery.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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