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How to Become an Anesthesia Technician

Learn how to become an anesthesia technician. Research the education requirements, training, certification information and experience you will need to start a career in healthcare.

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Do I Want to Be an Anesthesia Technician?

Anesthesia technicians help to ensure the current functioning of anesthesia equipment before, during and after surgical procedures. They contribute to safe and efficient anesthesia care by assessing dosages of medications given to patients and supporting the anesthesia provider during the insertion of medical devices. Many work hours might be spent standing; technicians may need to lift or turn patients.

Job Requirements

Anesthesia technicians are required to have at least a high school diploma. Some employers prefer to hire technicians who have completed a formal training program and earned certification. The following table contains essential requirements for anesthesia technicians:

Common Requirements
Degree Level High school diploma is minimum education level requirement; employers may look for applicants with a 2-year degree*
Degree Field Varies; certification requires completing an ASATT-approved program*
Licensure/Certification Certification is voluntary; must pass the ASATT national certification exam*
Experience At least one year of experience in a related setting may required**
Key Skills Attention to detail; problem-solving and communication skills*
Computer Skills Basic computer skills training*
Technical Skills Must be able to operate, maintain and repair biomedical equipment and anesthetic devices such as ventilators and catheters****
Additional Requirements Basic life support certification**

Sources: *American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT), **Job Postings from employers (August, 2012) ***Westchester County Government, ****Michigan Jobs and Career Portal.

Step 1: Meet the Education Requirements

The minimum education requirement for entry-level anesthesia technicians is a high school diploma. Courses in math, science and technology may be beneficial in preparing for this career. Some employers prefer to hire technicians who have completed degree programs specifically designed for anesthesia technicians that cover related topics like medical terminology, pharmacology and anesthesia equipment functions.

Success Tip:

  • Gain experience. Opportunities to gain experience and entry into the field include mentorships, job shadowing and internships. Students can use these opportunities to learn more about a technician's duties and gain hands-on experience in a health care setting.

Step 2: Earn Certification

Some employers prefer to hire technicians who have passed the American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT) national certification exam. Currently, this is the only nationally recognized certification for anesthesia technicians. Individuals who pass this examination are referred to as Certified Anesthesia Technicians. In order to take the exam, candidates must have a high school diploma and at least two years of experience, graduated from an ASATT-approved 2-year program or an approved program that offers a clinical component. The certification exam covers topics such as infection control techniques, operating room tasks, and types of anesthesia.

Success Tip:

  • Maintain certification. Certification is valid for two years. In order to remain certified, anesthesia technicians must complete a minimum amount of continuing education credits.
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