All About Anesthesia Technicians: Job Requirements, Opportunities and Career Outlook in Healthcare

The healthcare industry is filled with the best kind of co-dependency. You know, the kind where one healthcare professional would have a hard time performing their job without the essential support of other healthcare professionals. Think about it – just about every role in healthcare requires direct support from critical team players within a medical team. One such team player, is the anesthesia technician. And let’s face it, it’s hard to imagine a more important area of healthcare to support than one that provides comfort and eases pain during some of the most challenging medical situations.

Yes, anesthesiology is pretty far up the ladder in terms of the most important areas of healthcare. That makes the healthcare heroes dispensing aid to the other healthcare heroes dispensing the anesthesia – vital to any medical team. If you’ve been considering pursuing a career in healthcare, this is one path worth considering. Join us as we explore everything you wanted to know about anesthesia technicians. Let’s start with the basics.

What is an Anesthesia Technician?

Anesthesia technicians are the right-hand man or woman assisting anesthesiologists as they administer anesthesia to patients before, during or after surgery, an accident, or any other medical scenario where sedating or intravenous pain relief is required. They work alongside not only anesthesiologists, but also doctors, surgeons, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in diverse settings and circumstances. So, diverse, it’s safe to say working as an anesthesia technician is a far from ordinary, everyday is the same – kind of career.

Typical Duties of an Anesthesia Technician

An anesthesia technician plays a critical role in the operating room and typically perform the following tasks under the direction of an anesthesiologist on a regular basis:

  • Clean and prepping OR for procedures
  • Maintaining and sterilizing medical equipment
  • Setting up IV drips
  • Monitoring patient vital signs
  • Educating patients on procedures
  • Patient transport and monitoring
  • Inventory and stocking medical supplies

But anesthesia technicians don’t just have to have the technical skills to perform their day-to-day activities. They should also possess strong interpersonal, and people skills to communicate effectively with patients, family members, and other healthcare professionals, often in high-pressure situations.

Education and Training Requirements for Anesthesia Technicians 

To become an anesthesia technician, you typically must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. However, most employers prefer candidates who have completed a formal training program. Such programs are available through vocational schools, community colleges, and hospitals. These programs can range from 6 months to 2 years in length and typically include both classroom instruction and hands-on training. Coursework usually covers topics such as anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, anesthesia equipment, patient monitoring, and emergency procedures.

In addition to formal education, many anesthesia technicians receive on-the-job training. They may start out as assistants to experienced technicians and gradually take on more responsibilities as they gain experience. And while certification is not always required, it can be beneficial for career advancement. The American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT) offers certification for anesthesia technicians who have completed an accredited program and passed the certification exam.

Career Outlook for Anesthesia Technicians

Considering how important anesthesiology is to the healthcare industry in general, it’s not surprising that the demand for anesthesia technicians is on the rise. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the industry will add 7,700 new jobs by 2031. Combine that with a projected number of annual openings of 9,600 as a result of workers retiring or transferring to different occupations, and job security looks pretty solid for the foreseeable future for anesthesia technicians.

Where Can Anesthesia Technicians Find Employment?

Anesthesia technicians can find work in a variety of healthcare settings including hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, specialty clinics, and more. Basically, where-ever patients need anesthesia, there will be a need for the essential support of anesthesia technicians.

Benefits of Working as an Anesthesia Technician

It feels good to help others feel better: Like so many roles in healthcare, it’s a rewarding feeling to make a difference in the lives of patients on a daily basis. It’ even more true when your job is actually all about helping people feel comfortable and easing their pain. That’s why anesthesia technicians play such a crucial role in the healthcare industry.

Job security is solid: With the demand for all healthcare services rising, there’s always going to be a need for skilled and experienced anesthesia technicians.

Pays well: The median salary for anesthesia technicians as of May 2021 was $48,320 with the highest 10% earning as much as $96,870!!

Growth opportunities: As an anesthesia technician gains experience, they can advance to more challenging positions, such as supervisor or department head. In addition, those who wish to advance their training can specialize in different areas, such as cardiovascular anesthesia or pediatric anesthesia, which can also lead to more opportunities.

Chance to be part of a dedicated medical team: There’s nothing like working as a team to help improve the lives of patients to bond you with your co-workers. Being a part of a dedicated medical team is a great way to form life-long relationships with people who share your passion for making a difference in peoples’ lives.

Never a dull moment: Working as an anesthesia technician is not likely to be boring. Working with people from all walks of life in so many different situations – no two days will ever be the same. That means life as an anesthesia technician will never be dull or ordinary.

Wrapping It Up

Choosing a career path is one of life’s biggest decisions. That’s why it’s important to get to explore all the pros and cons of the path you’re considering. If you’re a person who enjoys working in a dynamic and challenging environment, providing direct patient care, and collaborating with a team of healthcare professionals, a future as an anesthesia technician might be a great option. If you’d like to learn more about careers in the field of anesthesia technology, please visit MyCareers Job Portal for a list of programs in your area. Additionally, you can also be a part of the MyCareers Community to stay updated on the latest news and career trends in the healthcare industry.

Resources

  • https://www.asatt.org/index.php/about-us/about-asatt
  • https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/surgical-technologists.htm
  • https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/surgical-technologists.htm#tab-5
  • https://www.asatt.org/
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