Anesthesia Tech Job Description
Anesthesia techs assist anesthesiologists, nurses, and other medical staff working on anesthesia teams. Their main responsibility is to clean, maintain and prepare anesthesia equipment for use in surgical procedures. People who are excellent multi-taskers and pay attention to detail will thrive in this role. Most anesthesia techs work full-time in larger hospitals in acute care, trauma, and transplant departments, and outpatient surgery centers. Their shift hours may be longer than eight hours, and they may be assigned to work during evenings, weekends, or even holidays.
Anesthesia Tech Duties and Responsibilities
While the day-to-day duties and responsibilities of an anesthesia tech are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:
Set Up and Breakdown Anesthesia Equipment
Anesthesia techs engage in various pre-operation responsibilities such as setting up the anesthesia gas machine and checking gas lines. They prepare supplies for intubation, central breathing lines, oxygen measurement tools and more. After surgery is complete, anesthesia techs enter the operating room to break down this equipment.
Perform Equipment Testing
Checking, calibrating, and testing medical equipment such as machines, monitors, invasive lines, and pharmaceuticals is the job of anesthesia techs. Anesthesia techs keep daily records of their equipment inspections. They are required to troubleshoot any identified problems. When anesthesia equipment malfunctions, they make sure it is repaired or replaced.
Conduct Preventative Maintenance and Sterilization
Sterilization and cleaning of anesthesia equipment is another primary responsibility of anesthesia techs. They perform aseptic techniques according to established standards of care and infection control. They are in charge of making sure all equipment is safe to use on patients and free of any unhealthy bacteria.
Facilitate Patient Care
Anesthesia techs support other members of the anesthesia care team. They may be called upon to transport a patient to the operating room. Anesthesia technicians often operate a variety of mechanical equipment to evaluate and manage a patient’s condition while they are undergoing anesthesia. Successful techs maintain an effective working relationship with staff, managers, physicians, patients and their families. They positively contribute to a strong team culture.
Stock Anesthesia Supplies
Stocking needed supplies in any anesthetizing areas is another vital responsibility of anesthesia techs. They restock supplies in bronchoscopy carts, pediatric carts, emergency room airway bags, and other supply locations. Anesthesia techs also spot opportunities for improving efficiency and containing costs in their department.
Anesthesia Tech Skills and Qualifications
Successful anesthesia techs can comfortably multi-task and quickly follow directions. Employers typically look for candidates with a Basic Life Support (BLS) certification and graduation from an accredited training program, or at least one year of experience as a healthcare provider. They also look for potential employees to have the following skills:
- Anesthesia administration – although anesthetic techs do not perform anesthesia on patients, it is vital that they understand the process since they work with anesthesia delivery systems
- Medical equipment maintenance – anesthesia techs perform first-level maintenance on a variety of anesthesia tools
- Communication skills – since their job requires interaction with surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and patients, anesthesia techs must have strong interpersonal skills to be successful
- Organizational skills – anesthesia techs are charged ordering, disinfecting, and stocking many supplies, which they must organize according to standard procedures and guidelines
Tools of the Trade
Anesthesia techs work in a medical setting and are comfortable using the following equipment and tools in a typical workday:
- Anesthesia equipment and supplies
- Airway management equipment (e.g. emergency intubation kits, bronchoscopes, laryngeal masks)
- Computer hardware
Anesthesia Education and Training
Anesthesia techs can obtain employment with a high school diploma and a Basic Life Support (BLS) certification from the American Heart Association. Many anesthesia techs receive on-the-job training, however some technicians complete an accredited anesthesia technology training program, or obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Formal certification and a minimum of one full year’s experience as an anesthesia tech is most attractive to employers.
Anesthesia Tech Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median annual salary of anesthesia techs, considered as surgical technologists, as $46,310. The lowest ten percent of workers in this field make less than $32,470. The highest ten percent of workers earn more than $67,000.
Industry employment for surgical technologists is expected to grow by 12 percent through 2026, a rate the BLS describes as faster than average for all occupations. Aging baby boomers are expected to pursue surgeries to improve their quality of life, which requires the need for more anesthesia techs.
We searched the web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as an anesthesia tech. From industry groups to top rated manuals, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect, and engage.
American Society of Anesthesia Technologists – the official certifying body for anesthesia technologists with career and education resources as well as latest job postings in the field.
American Society of Anesthesiologists – get career guidance, training resources, and education on the latest techniques and education.
The Anesthesia Technician and Technologist’s Manual: All You Need to Know for Study and Reference – learn everything you need to know to successfully manage the day-to-day duties of an anesthesia technician or technologist.
Understanding Anesthesia Equipment – this step-by-step guide will walk you through the basics of anesthesia equipment.
Anesthesia Technician Survival Guide 2nd Edition – learn how to navigate the operation room as an anesthesia technician.
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