The curriculum is made up of didactic coursework and clinical training in various medical facilities offering inpatient and outpatient surgical procedures. Most programs are offered over a period of two years, although some are flexible and part-time enrollment may be possible. The American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT) offers a professional certification process for those with two years of employment experience or an associate's degree in anesthesia technology.
Associate Degree in Anesthesia Technology
Students complete general studies courses in communications, general sciences, and humanities. The curriculum also includes core classes in pharmacology, anatomy, and critical care procedures. Other courses include:
- Sterile techniques
- Anesthesia technology
- Medical terminology
- Clinical procedures
Career Outlook and Salary Info
Anesthesia technicians are allied health professionals who support the anesthesia patient care team in surgical settings by setting up, operating and maintaining anesthesia delivery equipment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for surgical technologists are expected to grow at a rate of 15% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS expected the increase to come from the increase in the older population and surgical procedures. Per the BLS, the mean annual salary for surgical technologists was $45,940 as of May 2015.
Completion of an associate degree program in anesthesia technology from an ASATT-approved program prepares the student to take the ASATT examination for anesthesia technicians. Upon completion of the exam, the technician may use the title Certified Anesthesia Technician (Cer.A.T.).
After completing 30 continuing education credits and maintaining a good standing as a certified anesthesia technician, ASATT offers an anesthesia technologist examination, which leads to the Certified Anesthesia Technician and Technologist (Cer.A.T.T.) designation. This is the final level of certification available through the organization. Anesthesia technologists may pursue continuing education in order to become an anesthesiologist assistant (A.A.); however, achieving the A.A. level requires completion of a bachelor's and a master's degree program in the field.
Students who see themselves working as an anesthesia technician can earn an associate's degree in anesthesia technology and gain a combination of lectures and hands-on training. Students who complete the necessary requirements can become certified anesthesia technicians.