An anesthetic technician works in collaboration with anesthesiologists and other members of a surgical team to deliver anesthesia to patients.
While certificate programs are commonly available (including some online) a small number of schools also have associate's degree programs in the field. An associate's degree can typically be earned in two years. Those interested in advancing their careers can continue on to 4-year bachelor's and 2-year master's degree programs to obtain credentials as a nurse anesthetist, or to medical school if they wish to become an anesthesiologist.
In addition to coursework, anesthesia technician students are also required to complete a clinical internship. To be admitted to an associate level programs, students should have their high school diploma or equivalent.
Associate's Degree in Anesthetic Technology
A high school diploma or GED is the minimum requirement for admissions into an associate's degree program. Applicants to an anesthesia technician program may also need to have completed coursework in anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry and English. General studies courses in mathematics, communications and social sciences are typically part of an associate's degree program. This program teaches students how to play a supportive role, assisting anesthetic teams in the health care environment. Core courses in this program include:
- Medical terminology
- Anesthesia basics
- Anesthesia and pharmacology
- Instruments for anesthesia
- Clinical procedures
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), surgical technicians, a category that includes anesthetic technicians, may have a 9% employment growth for the years 2018 through 2028. This employment growth was considered to be faster than the national average for all occupations. Anesthetic technicians earned a median hourly wage of $17.26 as of September, 2019 (www.payscale.com).
Continuing Education Information
The American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians offers a certification exam for professionals in this field. Anesthesia technicians who want to become an anesthesiologist must complete the same rigorous education as physicians, which include a bachelor's degree, a medical school degree, an internship and residency. The path to becoming a nurse anesthetist is a little shorter, consisting of a bachelor's degree in nursing and a master's degree in nurse anesthesia.
Anesthesia technology is a rapidly expanding career. For individuals with an interest in healthcare, pursuing an associate's in the field will give them the skills and knowledge required to be successful as anesthesia technicians.