Trade Schools with Anesthesia Technology Programs
For those who want to work in the medical field but do not wish to attend medical school, an anesthesia technology school is a good option. Anesthesia technologists or technicians are assistants to anesthesiologists and surgical personnel. While the majority of their job involves preparation of equipment, they also care for and comfort patients before a surgery.
Anesthesia technology programs last two years plus an internship. A technician may seek further education in the form of a certificate. Both certified and noncertified anesthesia techs are highly training. These individuals typically work in hospitals and doctors’ offices.
What Is an Anesthesia Technician?
An anesthesia technician or technologist (AT) is an allied health professional that is not a physician or nurse. They help prep patients before surgery and gather materials used to administer an anesthetic. As most surgeries are not possible without pain-relieving medicine, this job is one of many crucial positions in the field.
Prospects attend an anesthesia technician program at an accredited trade school. Anesthesia techs must have the right training and knowledge so they can manage any issues that may arise in surgery. If they should make a mistake in setting up materials or dosages, the patient’s life is at risk.
Although anesthesia techs do not deliver the drug themselves, the administration of anesthesia is a team job. The AT has a lot to do with preparing the equipment and tools surgeons need during an operation. They also work with patients from before the surgery begins to once the procedure is over.
What Are the Job Duties of an Anesthesia Technician?
At the beginning of their shift, an AT has a list of scheduled procedures taking place that day. They must collect, prepare, and organize all the equipment the surgery team and anesthesiologist needs. Although this is their main responsibility, anesthesia techs have other duties.
- Sterilize surgical tools
- Taking a patient’s vital signs and answering questions
- Calibrate and test monitors for delivery of medications
- Prepare operating rooms between procedures
- Assist in changing anesthetic levels during surgery
- Remain with patient until anesthetic wears off
What Types of Skills Should Anesthesia Technicians Possess?
The task of administering an anesthetic is a team effort that requires the knowledge, care and attention of all personnel. An anesthesia technician must have good team working skills. This way, everyone on the surgical team understands the procedure and steps involved. Communicating within the team is also important so every person is aware of possible issues.
Because prepping materials and patients in the operating room (OR) is their main duty, an AT must have excellent preparation skills. It is up to the technician to have surgical tools ready, dosages calculated and machines or monitors set. They also have to be vigilant in case of unscheduled surgeries or sudden complications.
Anesthesia techs are detail-oriented people. They pay close and careful attention to their tasks, accounting for and sanitizing all tools before and after a procedure. During surgery, there is no room for mistakes. The technician checks the anesthetic equipment multiple times to ensure the patient’s safety.
How Do Anesthesia Technicians Maintain Their Workspace?
The most important part of getting an OR ready is cleanliness. Anesthesia techs must maintain a sanitized and organized workspace. This helps prevent infection during a procedure and keeps track of surgical tools. Techs perform tasks all over hospitals and change rooms frequently, so they do not have a designated desk or office.
In the OR, an AT must sterilize all surfaces and equipment using specific cleaning agents. While prepping the patient, they may also wash and disinfect wounds. The equipment they use for administering anesthetic requires constant maintenance and calibration to ensure accurate readings.
Why Do Anesthesia Technicians Need to Be Flexible?
With the ever-changing and fast-paced environment of hospitals and ERs, an AT must be open to quick, unexpected changes in their schedule. They may have to quickly prep materials and patients for emergency surgery in a moment’s notice. In case of complications during a surgery, an AT must respond fast to changing medications or resuscitating the patient.
What are Useful Skills for People in This Field?
- Understanding of anesthetic techniques and instruments
- Being empathetic towards patients and their families
- Staying awake and attentive for long hours
- Solving problems under pressure
- Using a computer to input data
- Making decisions based on knowledge of different medicines and side effects
- Using medical terminology
- Managing time between surgeries
- Troubleshooting with technology
- Solving mathematical problems
Are There Special Requirements for Jobs in Anesthesia Technology?
Anesthesia techs work in stressful environments involving life or death situations. Quality training and education makes it possible for them to do their job best. Those interested in this career need a high school degree or equivalent to start. Then, they must attend two years of post-secondary education in an anesthesia tech program.
Students study subjects like anatomy, pharmacology, physiology, math and science. By the end, they have a deep understanding of the principles of anesthesia technology. Graduated anesthesia techs complete another training program plus one year of clinical internship.
After meeting initial requirements, anesthesia techs can take a national exam to prove their skills. If they pass, they become certified through the American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT). Although this is optional, it does help advance their career and makes them a more outstanding candidate to employers.
the Outlook of Anesthesia Technician Jobs?
Almost all surgeries require the pain-relieving medication. This makes anesthesia technicians vital to the health industry. They enjoy prime job security without going to medical school like most doctors and nurses. Finding and maintaining a job in the field takes less time without added difficulty.
Over 112,000 anesthesia techs work around the nation at hospitals, outpatient facilities and other medical offices. Experts predict this occupation to grow 9% within the next ten years which is faster than most occupations. The average pay for an AT ranges from $33k to $53k a year although the salary depends on location and employer. Certified technicians often earn more.
An AT enjoys job benefits such as comprehensive health, dental, and life insurance. Despite working overtime shifts, they do receive paid time off and vacation time. Some employers offer pension plans, tuition reimbursement and a 401(k) plan with matching contributions. A rewarding occupation in itself, an AT helps save lives everyday so people can live healthier with less pain.
What Should Workers Expect?
Surgery occurs at any time, day or night and on any day regardless of holidays or weekends. Schedules move around due to emergencies and other employees may call off. Anesthesia techs should expect to overtime and additional shifts. They may also be on-call for 24 hours at a time.
Working in healthcare involves many emotional ups and downs. Some surgeries are not successful, and patients may die on the table. Doctors, nurses, surgeons and technicians witness this throughout their career. They have to accept unfortunate circumstances and still continue to work through the day.
Where Can Prospects Find Work?
Anesthesia technicians aid anesthesiologists in operating rooms for surgeries of all kinds. They usually work in hospital settings, but some potential job sites include:
- Outpatient facilities
- Emergency rooms
- Dentist offices
- Critical care units
- Private clinics
Do Anesthesia Technicians Have Any Other Options?
As aids in pain relief, anesthesia techs have jobs in many health-related industries. Clinical lab technicians are similar professionals who examine body fluids, cells, and match blood for transfusions. Dental assistants perform a variety of tasks and gather materials for dental procedures. They also prep patients for treatment.
What Are Alternate Careers for Anesthesia Technicians?
Anesthesia techs share a passion with other medical personnel. By continuing their education, they might discover more opportunities in the field. An anesthesiologist or certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) are alternate careers with more requirements. Those interested in either of these careers must obtain a bachelor’s degree and finish four years of medical school.
Qualified professionals also complete one or more years of residency plus mandatory certifications. Both an anesthesiologist and CRNA administer pain-relieving medications themselves. They have higher than average salaries, increased responsibility, and maintain a relationship with patients before, during and after the procedure.