Working with anesthesia is a very tricky business. Surgeons need a team of skilled professionals to help keep the patient as safe as possible before, during and after the surgery. The anesthesiologist and/or nurse anesthetists is responsible for keeping the patient unconscious and pain free during the surgery and it is the responsibility of the anesthesia technologist to assist during this process in order for the Anesthesia Care Team and Surgical Team to focus solely on providing the best possible care to the patient.
Certified Anesthesia Assistant (CAA)
Since CAAs work so closely with doctors, patients and medical equipment, it is not a job to be taken lightly and there are requirements for employees working as CAAs in the United States.
The American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians is responsible for providing certification to Anesthesia Technologists. Before certifying a candidate, the ASATT will ensure that he or she has a sound knowledge base of Anesthesia Technology, as well as the surgical procedures they will be responsible for aiding the anesthesiologist perform. Candidates will be required to demonstrate that they have the necessary knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge to real-world situations.
In the same manner that doctors are required to stay up to date on any changes in the medical field, as well as courses and examinations in order to continue practicing medicine; Certified Anesthesia Technologists also need to stay up to date on the changes occurring in their field. The ASATT requires an ongoing certification of continuing medical education for Certified Anesthesia Technologists. The ASATT also provides quarterly exams which allow CAAs to demonstrate their continued qualifications.
Certified Anesthesia Technologists Jobs
Once they’ve been certified, anesthesia technologists have opportunities to work anywhere an anesthesiologist might be needed, primarily hospital operating rooms, delivery rooms and emergency rooms. These are the places where patients need the most help managing both acute and chronic pain and that’s where both an anesthesiologist and certified anesthesia technologists can help.
Most job opportunities for certified anesthesia technologists are, and will continue to be, in densely populated areas where there are more accidents, incidents of violence, and the deadliest natural disasters (Not sure that is the best statement to use here). But urban areas are only growing and expanding, which means there will be an increased need for certified anesthesia technologists as our population continues to grow, and also as our population continues to age, suffer more health problems, and require more surgeries and operations that require some form of pain management. In 2012, experts estimated that job opportunities for anesthesia technologists would grow 30% (not sure on this statistic…will need them to use a citation). This rate of growth is much faster than most industries and is likely a direct result of the fact that our population is both aging and rapidly growing (citation?).
Certified Anesthesia Technologist Job Description
The job description of a certified anesthesia technologist is to help the anesthesiologist take care of the patient before, during and after surgery. This means preparing all the proper medical equipment that will be needed for the operation and assisting with the monitoring of the patient’s vitals during the operation. Anesthesia technologists also need to know proper sterilization procedures and be able to identify and work with a wide range of medical equipment.
Specifically, anesthesia technologists work very closely with the anesthesia gas machines that are used to aid in the administering of anesthesia to the patient. As with most modern equipment, these machines can be lifesavers when they are functioning properly, but they can also be extremely dangerous if they are not in proper working order. It is the responsibility of the anesthesia technologists to monitor the machines, perform any necessary troubleshooting procedures, as well as clean and perform regular maintenance on the machine. Anesthesia technologists also need to be able to read the gas monitors at a glance so they can alert the anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetists and react quickly in the event anything goes wrong.
Individual duties vary depending on the facility, but anesthesia technologists usually bear the primary responsibility of stocking the operating room. This includes checking materials to make sure they’re usable, , and that gas tanks are full and functioning properly. Anesthesia technologists may even be responsible for maintaining and replacing gas tanks when they get too low. In some cases, senior anesthesia technologists are responsible for ordering new supplies when the facility runs low.
The main responsibility of the anesthesia technologists is to provide support to the anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetists and make sure the patient is as safe as possible during the procedure. The anesthesia technologist does this by assisting with the monitoring of the patient’s vital signs (including taking regular blood samples to monitor the patient’s under anesthesia), monitoring and troubleshooting the equipment, and keeping an eye on any signs of distress from the patient.
Because anesthesia paralyzes a patient to keep them still during the operation, the technologist needs to know what signs other than movement might indicate that the patient is in distress. While also watching out for any signs of wriggling, the anesthesia tech assists with the monitoring the patient’s heart rate and oxygen intake because any drastic change in either of those could indicate the need for adjusting the level of anesthesia.
Anesthesia Technologist Requirements
While anesthesia technologist are required to complete an associate degree from an ASATT approved or CAAHEP accredited program in order to sit for the certification examination, anesthesia technologists need to be able to prove that both the scope and depth of their understanding is significantly greater than that of an anesthesia technician. Anesthesia technologists can gain these additional skills and knowledge through college-level courses
Anesthesiologist Technician Certification
The American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT) is responsible for certifying and anesthesia technologists. They issue the exam to ensure candidates are fully prepared to take on all the responsibilities that come with being a certified anesthesia technologists and they are also in charge of recertifying as an anesthesia technologist on a two year basis to ensure practicing technologists are up to date on all the latest medical information and anesthesia practices.
Certified Anesthesia Technologist Salary
Because of their skill level and required attention to detail, the earnings of certified anesthesia technologists tend to vary, depending on their specialty and the geographic region in which they work. Like most healthcare fields, anesthesia technologists are increasingly expected to develop a specialty, so once they’re certified, candidates might want to start thinking about the kinds of patients they would most like to work with, and start looking for opportunities that can help them get their foot in the door to those types of careers.
As of 2017, the average annual salary of anesthesia technologists is $38,929. Employees new to the field will probably earn less in their first few jobs after achieving certification, but once they’ve developed a specialty, spent some time working in their chosen field, and built up a few years of experience, they can expect to earn more as those qualifications will make them more desirable to employers.
Certified Anesthesia Technologist School
The certified anesthesia technologist school at City College in Florida prepares students for everything they can expect to face when assisting anesthesiologists in the real world. Our anesthesia technologist program includes courses in the anatomy and physiology, anesthesia pharmacology, and medical law and ethics in addition to educating our students about the fundamentals and technology involved when working with anesthesia. We supplement classroom lectures and demonstrations with clinical instruction so students are able to apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom before they graduate. Candidates for the anesthesia technology certification need clinical experience in their trade before they can be permitted to take the certification exam, and our students have already completed that requirement by the time they graduate from our program.
Our certified anesthesia technologist school is one of just a few that is approved by the ASATT. Our curriculum follows their guidelines, adheres to their standards, and fully prepares our students to pass the certification exam as soon as they graduate from our program with an Associate of Science Degree in Anesthesia Technology.