How to Become an
Anesthesia Technician

An anesthesia technician with scrubs, mask, and hairnet inside an operating room

If you’re planning a career as an Anesthesia Technician, then keep on reading. This guide contains information about educational requirements, what it’s like to be an Anesthesia Technician, the median salary and more.

What Does an Anesthesia Technician Do?

Anesthesia Technicians are a vital part of any medical facility’s anesthesia care team. They ensure that the anesthesia equipment is clean and functional and, most importantly, use their technical knowledge to protect the safety of the patient. Anesthesia Technicians can work in any setting where anesthesia is administered to patients, including hospitals, dentistry practices and specialized surgery centers.

Along with sanitizing anesthesia equipment, Anesthesia Technicians are also in charge of stocking necessary supplies, properly setting up patient monitoring devices, troubleshooting equipment in need of repair and assisting anesthesia providers with certain patient procedures. Common Anesthesia Technician duties and responsibilities include:

  • Technical tasks, such as identifying problems with equipment and making sure that the equipment is repaired and inspected

  • Clerical tasks, such as keeping records of inspections and maintenance

  • Patient care tasks, such as explaining procedures to patients and assisting with the administration of anesthesia

Anesthesia Technician Skills

While sterilizing and stocking anesthesia equipment may sound pretty straightforward, one of the most crucial skills of Anesthesia Technicians is remaining calm and effectively performing duties even in a stressful operating room situation. Anesthesia Technicians must not only have an excellent technical understanding of anesthesia equipment and supplies, but must also be able to act as a helpful assistant to anesthesia providers during both routine and complex surgeries.

Other key Anesthesia Technician skills include:

  • Knowledge of medical terminology

  • Ability to track and regulate the cost of anesthesia equipment, supplies, and delivery

  • Calm disposition and good bedside manner

  • Understanding of and adherence to protocol

How Do You Become an Anesthesia Technician?

Education and Training

Based on our analysis of online job listings, employers require potential candidates to have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent. For listings seeking an uncertified Anesthesia Technician, this is the only concrete requirement. However, many employers state a preference for Anesthesia Technicians with official certification and/or two years or more of previous experience as an Anesthesia Technician.

Anesthesia Technicians can become certified through the American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT). First, you must graduate from an ASATT approved or accredited educational program, which typically take two years to complete. To find an approved program near you, click here.

After completing an approved program, you will be eligible to take the ASATT anesthesia technologist certification test. Click here to access the exam application form and learn more about the examination process.

Finding a Job

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for Surgical Technologists, which includes Anesthesia Technicians, is increasing by a rapid rate of 15%, which means that 14,700 new positions will become available between 2014 and 2024.

This above-average increase in demand is a result of an increase in surgical operations, which itself is a result of improved surgical safety.

Before you start looking for open positions, make sure that you’re setting yourself up for success with a professional and high quality resume. Check out our library of Anesthesia Technician resume samples for guidance and ideas. Once your resume is good to go, start searching the Internet for job listings. When you’re ready to start applying, prepare a cover letter that can tell your prospective employers what your areas of expertise are, why you’re interested in the position and what makes you a great candidate. Check out our library of sample cover letters for guidance.

How Much Do Anesthesia Technicians Get Paid?

Depending on whether they’re employed as a full-time employee or a contractor, Anesthesia Technicians are paid either on an hourly wage basis or a yearly wage basis. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Anesthesia Technicians have a median hourly wage of $21.31, with the lowest-paid earning $15.10 per hour and the highest paid earning $30.48 per hour.

Top Ten States for Anesthesia Technician Salary

Anesthesia Technicians in the following ten states earn the highest median hourly wage in the U.S.

    Nevada

    $29.31

    California

    $28.01

    District of Columbia

    $27.25

    Alaska

    $25.66

    Connecticut

    $25.35

    Hawaii and Washington

    $25.24

    Maryland

    $24.57

    Minnesota

    $24.38

    Rhode Island

    $24.24

    New York

    $24.20

    Anesthesia Technician Resources

    We put together this list of resources to help you keep exploring your career as an Anesthesia Technician.

    Professional Groups

    American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians
    The ASATT provides a quarterly magazine, education and continuing education, certification and a number of local, regional and national meetings. They also offer discounted membership rates for students.

    International Anesthesia Research Society
    The IARS provides a monthly journal, educational resources and annual meetings. Reduced student membership rates are available.

    Anesthesia Technicians on LinkedIn

    Anesthesia Technician Group
    This group of over 3,000 members touches on all aspects of being an Anesthesia Technician, from daily life to exam preparation.

    Anesthesia Professionals
    This group of over 8,000 members focuses on professional networking as well as the sharing of anesthesia-related ideas.

    Anesthesia Technician Books

    The Anesthesia Technician and Technologist’s Manual
    This study and reference guide gives the reader a broad overview of all the skills and knowledge needed to be an Anesthesia Technician. It can be used either as a study guide for those preparing to take a certification exam or as a reference manual for those who need a quick refresher on the job.

    Anesthesia Technician Survival Guide
    This book is a pocket-sized resource of information, which goes over everything from equipment cleaning to complex surgery protocol.

    The information in this article comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job postings and other online sources.