What Are the Duties of an Anesthesia Tech?
Anesthesia technicians support anesthesiologists by preparing and maintaining anesthesia equipment. Read on to learn about the duties and education requirements for anesthesia technicians.
Overview of the Anesthesia Technician Position
As an anesthesia technician, you'll work in a hospital or doctor's office, maintaining and preparing anesthesia-related equipment for use in surgical operations. You may also be responsible for ordering and stocking anesthesia supplies, equipment and medications. You'll sterilize equipment and make sure everything is in working order. Surgical teams will rely on you for your technical knowledge of the anesthesia equipment, and you may have to use your expertise if there are technical difficulties during a surgical procedure. You'll be directly supervised by an anesthesiologist or registered nurse.
Salary.com reported that anesthesia technicians earned a median annual salary of $41,171 as of June 2019; however, your exact responsibilities and salary will likely depend on your level of certification.
Important Facts About This Occupation
|Similar Occupations||Anesthesiologist, certified veterinary technician, oral surgery assistant|
|Median Salary (2018)||$47,300 (surgical technologists)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||12% growth (surgical technologists)|
|Key Skills||Dexterity, integrity, physical stamina, and stress-management skills|
|Work Environment||Full-time, sometimes on-call and in shifts longer than eight hours|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Duties of a Non-Certified Anesthesia Technician
As a non-certified anesthesia tech, your duties may include preparing anesthesia equipment before surgery, monitoring equipment during surgery and maintaining equipment between surgeries. You'll also sterilize pieces of the equipment and order additional equipment and supplies as needed.
To prepare for a career as a non-certified anesthesia technologist, you may only need a high school diploma. However, in some cases you may need to obtain a diploma, certificate or associate's degree in anesthesia technology. These programs typically include coursework in topics like medical terminology, anesthesia instrumentation, clinical procedures, human anatomy and physiology.
Duties of a Certified Anesthesia Technician
If you choose to become a certified anesthesia technician (Cer.A.T.), your duties will be similar to the duties of a non-certified tech; however, in addition to preparing, monitoring and maintaining anesthesia equipment, you may be responsible for administrative and budgetary concerns. Your supervising anesthesiologist will expect you to have a deeper understanding of the medical and technical aspects of anesthesia than a non-certified technician would. You'll also be expected to be familiar with human anatomy and physiology, and you may assist the anesthesia provider in assessing patients, inserting intravenous lines and managing patients' airways.
To become certified by the American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT), you'll need to have acquired two years of full-time work experience in anesthesia technology and a high school diploma or its equivalent, or you'll need to have graduated from a 2-year anesthesia technology program. You must then pass the ASATT's certification exam to earn the Cer.A.T. credential. Cer.A.T. holders must complete at least 20 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain certification.
Duties of a Certified Anesthesia Technologist
As an anesthesia technologist, you'll perform all the duties of non-certified and certified anesthesia technicians. You'll also have advanced duties, such as setting up intra-aortic balloon pumps, operating auto-transfusion equipment, inspecting anesthesia gas delivery systems, assisting with intra-operative fluid management, monitoring EKGs and providing life support as needed. Knowledge of maintaining a safe environment is important, and you'll make sure used and expired drugs are properly disposed of. You may also be responsible for training new staff.
If you're a certified anesthesia technician in good standing, you have the option to become a certified anesthesia technologist (Cer.A.TT.). It is recommended that you have a diploma, certificate or degree in health care administration, as well as at least two years of experience in anesthesia administration or a related area. You'll need to pass an exam administered by the ASATT to earn your certification. Once certified, you need to complete 30 continuing education hours every two years to maintain your certification.