Anesthesia Technician School Guide
An anesthesia technician school can help you prepare to join the health care field in a critical supporting role.
Modern health care would likely not exist without anesthesia. Medical teams rely on anesthesia technicians to support the professionals who administer anesthesia to block pain or sensation in patients undergoing surgical procedures. You could find anesthesia tech jobs within hospital operating rooms, intensive care units, and other medical facilities.
As an anesthesia technician, your responsibilities could include:
- Monitoring hospital equipment
- Preparing intravenous drugs
- Communicating with patients
- Assisting other health care workers during surgeries
- Many other medical duties
Anesthesia Technician School & Career Questions Answered
As you consider anesthesia technician training, you may have questions about schooling and what the career itself entails. You may be wondering what an anesthesia tech job description looks like, what you might learn in school, and how long it will take to complete your training. Keep reading to uncover these details and more about joining this important occupational field.
What Is an Anesthesia Technician?
An anesthesia technician supports the health care professionals—like anesthesiologists—who administer anesthesia to patients before surgical procedures. You may be responsible for monitoring patients before, during, and after surgery while taking care of other important tasks. Anesthesia techs are typically required to possess knowledge of anesthetic equipment, practices, and technology.
As you explore this career field, you may find that an anesthesia technician job description includes some or even all of the following responsibilities:
- Obtain supplies and equipment required for medication administration.
- Prepare intravenous solutions and medications.
- Set up anesthesia machines and equipment.
- Clean, sterilize, assemble, calibrate, test, and troubleshoot equipment.
- Solve technical problems with anesthesia equipment.
- Transport patients to and from the operating room.
- Manage inventory and order and stock medications and supplies.
- Maintain equipment records.
- Assist in setting up and tearing down the operating room.
- Assist anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, and anesthesia assistants as required.
What Could Anesthesia Tech Schools Teach Me?
Anesthesia technician schools typically help you attain general medical knowledge first. Then, the remainder of your program focuses on the areas specific to anesthesia administration and management. And most programs offer a combination of classroom lectures, lab training, and clinical experience to provide you with a well-rounded, practical education.
Although each school varies, here are some of the topics that you may study:
- Anatomy and physiology of organ systems
- Medical terminology
- Medical law and ethics
- Anesthesia fundamentals
- Anesthesia technology
- Anesthesia pharmacology
- Medication preparation
- Pain management monitoring
- Equipment maintenance and sterilization
- Patient evaluation
- Airway management
- Fluid therapy
- Cardiac monitoring
- Emergency procedures
How Quickly Could I Complete an Anesthesia Technician Program?
Many people do not realize how fast they can complete an anesthesia technology program. Most schools offer associate degree programs that can typically be completed within one to two years, depending on how the courses are structured. There are also bachelor's degree programs available at some institutions. These usually take anywhere from two to four years to complete.
Is Anesthesia Tech Certification Required?
Anesthesia technician certification is not mandated in any state, and it is voluntary for you to obtain. However, many people do opt for certification since there are many employers that require it.
The American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT) no longer offers a certification exam for anesthesia technicians. If you wish to pursue certification as an anesthesia technologist, here are the key steps you will need to take:
- Check with your chosen school before registering to ensure the ASATT recognizes their program.
- Apply to take the exam once your training is complete.
- Include the exam fee with your application.
- Complete the exam within 90 days of receiving your confirmation from the ASATT.
- Recertify every two years, which requires 30 continuing education hours.
Where Do Anesthesia Technicians Work?
Some of the more common work settings for anesthesia technicians include:
- Hospital operating rooms
- Intensive care units
- Emergency rooms
- Delivery rooms
- Outpatient surgical centers
- Health care clinics
- Emergency ambulatory vehicles
- Military divisions
- Other surgical facilities
What Is the Average Anesthesia Tech Salary?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not list specific salaries for anesthesia technicians. However, according to 2021 data, surgical technology—a closely related field—has a median salary of $48,530.* If you are a more experienced or certified anesthesia technician, the salary would likely be higher.
There are additional factors that can determine your pay level, including the state you are in or the work setting.
What Is the Job Outlook?
Like many healthcare-related jobs, anesthesia technician jobs are expected to grow in number. This potential growth is largely due to a growing demand for health care services for some of the following reasons:
- Overall, the population is growing, so, naturally, more people will require health care.
- The elderly population is also growing, and seniors tend to require more health care services.
- The number of people with chronic diseases and conditions is growing, leading to an increase in medical procedures.
* Unless otherwise noted, salary information is based on May 2021 data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program.