What Does an Anesthesia Tech Do?

anesthesia technologists, or anesthesia technicians, work with anesthesiologists to prepare and administer anesthesia to patients.

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Job Description

An anesthesia technologist, also called an anesthesia technician, is a medical professional who works alongside anesthesiologists to provide patient care before, during, and after surgery. As a member of the surgical team, the anesthesia technologist is responsible for ensuring that all of the necessary equipment is set up and ready to be used, as well as for providing support to the anesthesiologist throughout the surgery.

What is an Anesthesia Tech?

Anesthesia techs are allied health professionals who work with anesthesiologists and registered nurses to provide care for patients before, during, and after surgery. Anesthesia techs prepare and maintain equipment, monitor patients’ vital signs, and provide support to the anesthesia care team.

Anesthesia techs must be able to work well under pressure, as they may be required to available to assist with emergency situations. They must also be able to follow instructions carefully and pay close attention to detail. Excellent communication skills are also important, as anesthesia techs must be able to relay information between members of the healthcare team.

Anesthesia techs typically need to have at least an associate’s degree in order to enter the field. Some four-year colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in this field as well.

What Does an Anesthesia Tech Do?

Anesthesia techs are responsible for ensuring that all of the necessary equipment is in place and functioning properly prior to surgery. They also often play a role in preparing the patient for surgery, by sterilizing incision sites and putting them under local anesthesia. During surgery, anesthesia techs work closely with the anesthesiologist to monitor the patient’s vitals and make sure they remain stable. After surgery, they help transport the patient to the recovery room and monitor them until they are stable enough to be discharged.


Anesthesia techs work with anesthesiologists to prepare and maintain equipment used during surgeries and other medical procedures. They also monitor patients during procedures to ensure they remain safe and comfortable. Let’s get into more detail about the duties of an anesthesia tech.

Preoperative Duties

Anesthesia technicians often have a variety of duties in the preoperative area. They may monitor patients’ physical conditions and vital signs, set up and maintain equipment, and make sure that supplies are ready for the anesthesia provider.

They also may prepare medications for administration by the anesthesia provider, insert intravenous (IV) lines for fluids and medications, and position patients on the operating table.

Intraoperative Duties

Anesthesia techs have a variety of duties during the operation. After the anesthesia provider has induced anesthesia, the anesthesia tech will often help with endotracheal intubation- the placement of a breathing tube. The anesthesia tech will also monitor various machines and equipment during the surgery to make sure they are working properly. Additionally, the anesthesia tech will often act as a liaison between the surgical team and the anesthesia provider, relaying messages and information as needed.

Postoperative Duties

An anesthesia technician’s postoperative duties include checking the patient’s vital signs and level of consciousness, monitoring for any complications, and providing support and comfort to the patient as they recover from anesthesia. The anesthesia technician may also be responsible for helping to prepare the operating room for the next surgery.

Education and Certification

Anesthesia techs are allied health professionals who work alongside anesthesiologists to prepare and maintain equipment and supplies used during surgery. They also monitor patients before, during, and after procedures. Most anesthesia techs have at least a year of postsecondary education, and many have certification from professional organizations.


Anesthesia technicians typically have a 2-year associate’s degree in applied science or a related field. Students take classes in anatomy and physiology, chemistry,math and physics along with courses specific to anesthesia technology.

Some programs offer certification, which may be required by some employers. The American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians offers the Certified Anesthesia Technician (CAT) credential. To earn the CAT credential, candidates must have graduated from an accredited anesthesia technology program and pass a written exam.


Anesthesia techs must complete a certification program, which is available through community colleges, technical institutes, and some hospitals. The program generally takes about one year to complete and leads to a certificate or diploma. Some states regulate the profession and may require certification.

Those who want to become certified can take the Certification examination offered by the American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT). To be eligible for the exam, individuals must have graduated from an accredited anesthesia technician program or have at least two years of full-time experience as an anesthesia technician.

Salary and Job Outlook

The median annual wage for anesthesiologist assistants was $115,800 in May 2019, and the median annual wage for anesthesiologists was $267,020. The lowest 10 percent of anesthesiologist assistants earned less than $66,860, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $166,400. Job prospects for anesthesiologist assistants are expected to be very good.


Anesthesia technicians earned a median wage of $47,860 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,560, while the highest 10 percent brought home more than $68,920 that year. Salaries vary by location and whether the technician works in a hospital or other medical facility.

Job Outlook

Employment of anesthesia technicians and aides is projected to grow 18 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Surgical procedures are expected to increase as the population ages. Furthermore, as medical technology advances, there will be a greater need for anesthesia services during more types of surgeries and procedures.

As medical facilities expand their services, they will need more anesthesia technicians and aides to work with anesthesiologists.

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