Anesthesia Technician

Beginner’s Guide to Becoming an Anesthesia Technician

Anesthesiology is an important field that has three levels of professions:  the anesthesiologist, the anesthesiologist assistant and the anesthesia technician.  The entry level position of technician can help an individual to determine if this type of job is one he or she wishes to pursue as a career before investing in advanced education required for the higher level positions.

The field of anesthesiology

Anesthetics are drugs that reduce or prevent pain.   They may numb just a small area of the body for a simple procedure or it can affect your entire body by inducing sleep to allow a major surgery to take place.  Local anesthesia is commonly administered in a doctor’s office, with the individual generally able to leave of their own accord after their procedure is completed.  Intravenous sedatives might be given in a doctor’s office for certain procedures, or take place within the safety of a hospital setting.  Regional or general anesthesia is always performed in a hospital setting, and are planned and administered by trained professionals. 

Anesthesia fields

Anesthesia requires a team of professionals to effectively provide pain prevention services.  The teams always consist of the following levels:

The anesthesiologist is the most highly trained professional in this field; working with other doctors to provide the best of care to their patients.  Providing pain relief and blocking pain for critical care, hospice and treating acute and chronic pain disorders, this level requires a Bachelor’s degree, three to four years of medical school, a four year resident training and sometimes fellowships often following for another year. 

Anesthesiology assistants also require a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, along with pre-med prerequisites.  They work side by side with and assist the anesthesiologists.  Their actual duties may vary from state to state.

The anesthesia technician generally provides logistic and technical support to the members of the anesthetics team.  Maintaining the supplies and equipment required for the process of administering anesthetics, staging the locations and gather data from the equipment.  Duties and responsibilities do vary from state to state. This in an entry level position, with a high school diploma or GED the highest level of education needed. Often, however, some level of experience is desired.  This can be accomplished through securing an internship at a local hospital.  Some states further mandate that a 2 year degree in health care, or certification through the American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians.   

Value of the Anesthesia Technician

While they may not actually administer any pain medications or pain blockers, the role of anesthesia technician is a vital one within the team of anesthesiologists.  Maintaining the necessary equipment to ensure it is continually working optimally takes a great deal of stress and responsibility from the lead anesthesiologist; allowing him or her to concentrate on their more important and crucial responsibilities of attending to the patient directly.  The technician must be knowledgeable and proficient in the operation of the systems that deliver the anesthesia, the auxiliary devices and the monitors.  In addition, the technician must be fully educated in utilizing the testing and maintenance tools needed to calibrate, clean and monitor the systems. 

When further certification is obtained, the technician may assume more responsibility within the anesthesia team.  Depending on the specific state’s regulations, the certified technician may play a more active role in the administration of anesthesia as well as assisting in evaluating the patient’s care. 

The need for knowledgeable and trained medical personnel in all fields, including that of the anesthesia technician, is expanding exponentially across the world.  Any individual who wishes to explore the field of anesthesiology should examine this entry level position to determine whether it is right for them before investing in the more involved education for the higher level positions.