Anesthesia technicians work in operating rooms at hospitals and other medical facilities administering anesthesia during operations. They require a high school diploma or GED, and usually receive on-the-job training to prepare for this field. Associate's degree programs and certification in the field are also available.
Anesthesia technicians assist anesthesiologists in the administration of drugs that block patient pain during surgery or other medical procedures. These professionals usually work in emergency and operating rooms. Although this career only requires a high school-level education and on-the-job training, some individuals complete certificate and associate's degree programs that combine classroom studies and hands-on practice. Licensing is not required, but many anesthesia technicians seek professional certifications that can help them advance in their careers.
|Required Education||High school diploma or GED certificate|
|Projected Job Growth||15.9% for all health technologists and technicians from 2014-2024*|
|Median Salary||$36,631 (2016) for anesthesia technicians**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com
Education Requirements for Anesthesia Technicians
Aspiring anesthesia technicians can enter the field with a high school diploma and acquire training on the job. Certificate and associate's degree programs that can prepare prospective technicians for certification and career advancement are available at vocational and community colleges. These programs combine clinical experience with classroom instruction.
Topics covered often include EKG analysis, first aid/CPR, medical terminology and pharmacology. In the clinical component of these programs, students gain hands-on experience in operating rooms of local facilities. They may also learn about fluid management, blood products and devices used to administer anesthesia.
Graduates of training programs can earn the certified anesthesia technician (Cer.A.T.) credential by completing an exam offered by the American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT). Applicants who have a high school diploma and at least two years of work experience as anesthesia technicians can also pursue the Cer.A.T. designation. The certification exam is computer-based and can be taken at approved locations throughout the United States. ASATT is the only organization that offers a nationally recognized certification for anesthesia technicians.
Anesthesia technicians work under the supervision of nurse anesthetists, anesthesiologist assistants or anesthesiologists. Job duties include maintaining anesthesia equipment, preparing and monitoring patients, stocking anesthesia supplies and transporting patients. Technicians who are certified by ASATT have a more active role in assisting anesthesiologists with patient evaluations and the administration of anesthesia.
Employment settings for anesthesia technicians include hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities. According to PayScale.com, the median salary for an anesthesia technician was $36,631 in January 2016.
Anesthesia technicians can obtain certification by completing training programs, obtaining required experience in the field, and passing an exam. These professional earn a moderate salary as of 2016.