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How to Become an Anesthesia Aide: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Learn how to become an anesthesia aide. Research the education and career requirements, training and licensure information, and experience required for starting a career in the medical field. View article »

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Should I Become an Anesthesia Aide?

Anesthesia aides, also known as anesthesia technicians, provide support to anesthesiologists in hospital operating rooms, emergency rooms and ambulances. They are a type of specialized operating room technician. Common duties include cleaning and sterilizing equipment, purchasing supplies and operating patient monitoring equipment. These workers must spend several hours a day on their feet, lifting patients and carrying potentially heavy trays and equipment. Shifts that span over eight hours are common in this field, and many anesthesia aides must work night and weekend shifts.

Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma or equivalent; certificate or associate preferred
Licensure and Certification Anesthesia technician certification preferred but voluntary; basic life support certification required
Experience 1-2 years of experience
Key Skills Excellent oral and written communication skills; mathematical aptitude and reasoning ability
Salary $36,631 (2016 median salary for anesthesia technicians)

Source: PayScale.com, Job postings by employers (July 2012).

A high school diploma or equivalent is required, although many employers prefer to hire applicants who have completed a certificate or associate's degree program. Anesthesia technician certification is preferred by many employers, but is not required for employment. Basic life support certification is required as well as 1 to 2 years of experience. These professionals should have excellent oral and written communication skills, mathematical aptitude, and reasoning ability. According to 2016 earnings data from Payscale.com, the median salary for anesthesia technicians was $36,631.

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Steps to Become an Anesthesia Aide

Step 1: Complete Education and Training

Although not required, many employers prefer to hire applicants who have completed a training program. These programs cover how to safely prepare, monitor and transport patients before and after procedures, as well as courses in anatomy and physiology, anesthesia technology and patient care skills. Many programs also require clinical training, which allows students to gain experience working with patients under the supervision of an instructor. Most training programs lead to a certificate or associate's degree and can be completed in two years or less.

Step 2: Gain Experience

Many employers prefer to hire anesthesia aides who have one or more years of experience in a healthcare setting. Graduates of training programs can look for entry-level positions to gain the necessary experience in a healthcare environment, such as an in-patient operating room at a local hospital. Certain employers will consider candidates who have the required education and less experience.

Step 3: Pursue Certification for Career Advancement

The American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT) provides the only nationally recognized certification for anesthesia aides. This computer-based test is offered year round at a variety of locations. Individuals who successfully pass this exam will be certified anesthesia technicians. Anesthesia aides seeking certification must meet one of three requirements, such as a high school diploma or equivalent and at least two years of experience as an anesthesia aide or completing an approved ASATT program and clinical training. Maintaining certification will require a minimum of twenty continuing education contact hours and review by the committee. Recertification is required every two years.

Individuals interested in taking the ASATT certification exam should visit the ASATT website and download the ASATT technician certification handbook. An exam overview and recommended references are available for help students prepare for the exam. There is also a computer-based practice exam that can be taken before the scored exam.

Anesthesia aides need at least a high school diploma and experience and some employers prefer candidates with a relevant associate's degree.

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