While there are associate's and bachelor's degree programs available for anesthesia technicians, this profession does not require a formal education. The main responsibility of these technicians is to maintain the equipment related to anesthesia, while working as a support for nurses and anesthesiologists.
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Anesthesia technicians perform a variety of duties to assist other members of anesthesia care teams. Formal education and certification might not be required to obtain a job in this field, but they can be helpful.
|Required Education||On-the-job training; optional certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs available|
|Other Requirements||Certification offered by the American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT) may be required|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||15% (surgical technologist)*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$44,330 (surgical technologist)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau Labor Statistics (BLS)
Certified Anesthesia Technician Job Description
Anesthesia technicians support anesthesiologists, anesthesiologist assistants, nurses and other members of anesthesia care teams. Their main duty is maintaining anesthesia equipment. While many people consider anesthesia technology their career, aspiring anesthesiologists, anesthesiologist assistants and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists sometimes start out as anesthesia technicians to gain experience working with anesthesia equipment and other anesthesia professionals.
Certified Anesthesia Technician Job Duties
Job duties might vary by an anesthesia technician's skill level, as well as the state and type of facility in which he or she is employed. In general, anesthesia technicians clean, sterilize, test, calibrate and troubleshoot anesthesia equipment, as well as keeping records of equipment inspections. More advanced duties might include transporting patients to surgery, explaining procedures to patients and operating equipment, such as electronic and pneumatic devices, that monitors patients who are under anesthesia.
Certified Anesthesia Technician Job Outlook and Salary Information
Certified anesthesia technicians can also be categorized as surgical technologists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for surgical technologists may increase by 15% between 2014 and 2024. The BLS reports individuals in this profession earned a median salary of $44,330 in 2015. The highest-paying states for surgical technologists that year were California, Nevada, Hawaii, Connecticut and the District of Columbia, as reported by the BLS.
Educational Requirements in Anesthesia Technology
Anesthesia technicians often are trained on the job, but those who prefer to complete a formal education program can find anesthesia technology training at the certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree levels. These programs, which are quite uncommon, can take from 1-5 years to complete.
Courses in an anesthesia technology program might include introduction to anesthesia, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and clinical monitoring. Some programs require students to gain clinical experience by applying the skills they've learned in a hospital setting, while others can be completed entirely online.
Anesthesia Technology Certification
Certification is not a requirement to work as an anesthesia technician. However, since it denotes a certain skill level, some employers might prefer that job applicants be certified, while others generally require their anesthesia technicians to attain certification within a certain time frame. The American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT) offers a certification examination that's open to graduates of 2-year, ASATT-approved educational programs, as well as current anesthesia technicians with at least two years of work experience. A Certified Anesthesia Technician (Cer.A.T.) must recertify every two years by meeting continuing education requirements.
Anesthesia technicians look after the equipment that delivers anesthesia to patients, although their duties can be expanded to include delivering patients to surgery and operating monitoring devices. Depending on the employer, professional certification may be necessary to work as an anesthesia technician; however, this is generally not a requirement of the profession. Anesthesia technicians often receive on-the-job training to help them learn their duties, although certificate and undergraduate degree programs are available.