Anesthesia Techs: Compensation and Job Satisfaction

November 15, 2019

Anesthesia techs, a group comprised of anesthesia technicians, certified anesthesia technicians and certified anesthesia technologists, play integral roles in the anesthesia team.1 Their job is to assist licensed anesthesia providers, such as nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists, with the preparation and use of equipment and supplies needed for anesthesia administration.1 Additionally, anesthesia techs help to maintain patient monitoring devices and anesthesia delivery systems before, during and after surgery.1 While anesthesia technicians require a high school diploma to work, certified anesthesia technicians must also have two years’ experience as an anesthesia technician and graduate from a program approved by the American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT).1 Certified anesthesia technologists usually have a bachelor’s degree, in addition to completing an ASATT-approved technologist course.2 Given their functional versatility on the anesthesia team and their variety of educational backgrounds, anesthesia techs’ roles are often difficult to define.3

Because anesthesia techs have relatively open-ended training requirements and roles, there is a lack of data on their compensation. According to ZipRecruiter, a well-known job recruiting website, the average anesthesia tech makes anywhere between $84,569 (in New York state) and $60,011 (in North Carolina).4 This geographic variance suggests that anesthesia techs may play different roles depending on the state, or that state-by-state economic changes affect anesthesia techs’ salaries. Additionally, this salary groups anesthesia technologists with anesthesia technicians, and when separated, other job-related websites report different statistics. For example, shows that as of October 30, 2019, the average anesthesia technician salary in the United States was $41,518.5 According to, another job recruiting site, anesthesia technologists make an average of $57,174.6 Meanwhile, PayScale cites an anesthesia technician’s average salary as $17.26 per hour,7 but Indeed estimates $27.55 per hour.8 Thus, the actual salary of an anesthesia tech is obscured by unclear definitions and the combination of certified and non-certified groups.

When compared to anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists, anesthesia techs face an additional shortage of data on job satisfaction and quality of life. Many researchers have focused on the lack of clarity in an anesthesia tech’s role and have made attempts to define it.3,9,10 Given that anesthesia techs’ training and work are relatively unstandardized, it is unsurprising that job satisfaction often relies on their managers’ leadership style.11 Anesthesia techs may be required to fulfill a number of duties, including setting up equipment before a procedure, assisting health professionals with patient care and preparing the operating room for the next procedure.12 This variety of tasks, combined with the unpredictability of anesthesiology, may require anesthesia techs to hurry between procedures without any breaks and work irregular schedules.12 One study found that an unpredictable, vague job structure, along with lack of respect from other health professionals, contributed to physical and emotional impairment and burnout in anesthesia techs.13 Burnout can be especially prevalent when anesthesia techs are confronted with difficult, unsuccessful or even fatal surgeries.12 Given these data, future studies should aim to specifically define the role of an anesthesia tech and establish strategies to avoid burnout.

Anesthesia techs have a constantly changing job that requires them to complete many tasks and work unpredictable hours. Also, some anesthesia techs are certified, while others are not, which may contribute to a variation in job requirements. Future researchers should distinguish between different types of anesthesia techs and focus on their job satisfaction. Additionally, leaders in anesthesiology should consider standardization of anesthesia tech training,3 scope of practice10 and compensation.

1.         American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians. Standards of Practice. Web: ASATT;2019.

2.         The Role of an Anesthesia Tech Before and After Surgery. Sanford-Brown News. Web: Sanford-Brown; May 4, 2015.

3.         Haas L. Anesthesia care team risk: Considerations to standardize anesthesia technician training. AANA Journal. 2013;81(2).

4.         ZipRecruiter. What Is the Average Anesthesia Tech Salary by State. 2019;

5. Anesthesia Technician Salary in the United States. 2019;

6. Anesthesia technologist: Salary. 2019;

7.         PayScale. Average Anesthesia Technician Hourly Pay. 2019;

8.         Indeed. Anesthesia Technician Salaries in the United States. 2019;

9.         Ahmed MN. Role of the anesthesia technologist. Middle East journal of anaesthesiology. 1986;8(6):549–553.

10.       Answine JF. Anesthesia Technologist/Technician Scope of Practice. ASA Newsletter. 2018;82(3):46–48.

11.       Ghorbanian A, Bahadori M, Nejati M. The relationship between managers’ leadership styles and emergency medical technicians’ job satisfaction. The Australasian Medical Journal. 2012;5(1):1–7.

12.       City College. 8 Examples of Life as an Anesthesia Technician Assistant. 2019;

13.       Kluger MT, Bryant J. Job satisfaction, stress and burnout in anaesthetic technicians in New Zealand. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care. 2008;36(2):214–221.