Anesthesia technicians work side by side with anesthesiologists, anesthesiologist assistants, and nurses in prepping patients for surgery. Their main responsibility is to maintain all the necessary equipment. They ensure that the anesthesia equipment is kept clean, sterilized, and calibrated. They will also troubleshoot any problems that the equipment may have and find a solution to get it up and running properly again. Other duties include transporting patients into surgery, operating the equipment, and monitoring patients who are under anesthesia. Aspiring anesthesia technicians can participate in training at the certificate and associate degree level, although a high school degree along with valid work experience is sufficient. Upon graduation technicians will further their knowledge and skills through on the job training. Anesthesia technicians typically work in operating rooms, intensive care units, emergency care, and emergency vehicles.
Earning an associate of science in this area will prepare students to work under the supervision of an anesthesiologist in a number of different circumstances including standard operations and emergencies. Students will learn to prepare anesthesia equipment and even deliver anesthesia care. This level of program takes two years to complete and is comprised of around 60-credit hours of study. Degree requirements include classes like basic principles of anesthesia technology, advanced anesthesia equipment, anesthesia pharmacology, professional issues for the anesthesia technologist, and anesthesia technology clinical. In order to be considered for an associate degree program the applicant must be a high school graduate or possess a GED. Individuals can seek their education at community colleges where tuition is quite affordable. The annual cost of tuition runs between $6,000 and $16,000 for one of these programs.
Individuals who are not interested in committing to a full degree have the option of completing a certificate degree program. Students can typically graduate with their certificate degree in a year or less,and they will then be prepared to work as anesthesia technicians at places like hospitals, medical clinics, physician's offices, and elderly care facilities. The key topic areas that students will focus on to build the needed knowledge and skill include human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, types of anesthesia, cardiac monitoring, and assisting in an emergency. Certificate degree programs will also require participants to complete laboratory and clinical components in order to gain crucial hands-on experience that will prepare them for their professional career. The admission requirements for this level of program are very minimal and include a high school diploma or a GED. The applicant must also be 18 years or older. Total cost of education can be as little as $4,720.
Accreditation is an important part of post-secondary education. It is the process in which schools and programs are reviewed for quality assurance by outside organizations. This evaluation ensures that the program is offering the students the best educational experience for their particular field of study. Students can remain confident that through their education they will be well prepared for their future careers. Accreditation also plays an important role in the transferring process. Most institutions will only accept transfer credits if they have been received at another accredited institution. Students who plan on transferring schools or furthering their education through graduate programs will need to ensure they attend an accredited undergraduate program. While there are no organizations that offer accreditation specifically for anesthesia technician degrees, prospective students should make sure they are attending a school that is regionally accredited.
It is not required in every single state that anesthesia technicians be certified but it is preferred by many employers. Individuals who want to have a competitive edge over their peers should seek certification through the American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT). Certification is earned based on the results of an examination given by ASATT. In order to qualify to take the exam candidates must hold an associates degree from an accredited program.
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