If you’re looking for a great career that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree, don’t overlook the anesthesia technician field. Anesthesia techs maintain the equipment and supplies used by anesthesiologists and certified registered nurse anesthetists to control patients’ pain and consciousness levels during surgeries and other medical procedures. This guide provides an in-depth overview of anesthesia technician salary data and information on the employment outlook for this rewarding healthcare job.
Anesthesia Technician Salary Overview
To provide a well-rounded salary overview, we pulled anesthesia technician salary data for travel jobs from Vivian Health’s resources. Due to limited salary data for staff positions, we turned to Intuit Mint. It uses data from tax returns accepted by the Internal Revenue Service to ensure accuracy and create detailed salary profiles for many occupations.
According to Intuit Mint’s data on March 11, 2023, staff anesthesia technician jobs paid an average of $38,500 per year. Working 40 hours per week for the entire year breaks down to about $18.51 per hour.
Travel anesthesia technicians have the potential to earn much more, as healthcare employers rely on them to fill openings on short notice in facilities with staffing shortages. According to Vivian Health’s salary data for the week ending March 11, 2023, the salary for travel anesthesia technicians was an average of $1,705 per week.
Standard travel contracts last for 13 weeks, corresponding to a salary of $22,165 for each 13-week assignment. If you complete three assignments each year, that’s a potential salary of $66,495, about 72% more than anesthesia technicians with staff jobs, with 13 weeks off.
Top-Paying Job Markets
Where you work can significantly impact your anesthesia technician salary, so viewing data for several markets is important to help you understand your options. Based on the Intuit Mint salary data from March 11, 2023, the San Diego metropolitan area was the top-paying job market for perm anesthesia technicians. Anesthesia techs in this area earned an average of $78,000 annually, more than double the national average.
The table below shows the top 10 highest-paying markets, organized from highest to lowest salary, to make comparing compensation trends in each location easier. We based projected hourly rates on the average annual salary divided by 2,080, the total number of paid work and vacation hours possible in a year based on a 40-hour workweek.
|Metropolitan Area||Average Annual Salary||Projected Hourly Rate|
|San Diego, California||$78,000||$37.50|
|San Francisco, California||$75,500||$36.30|
|Los Angeles, California||$52,500||$25.24|
|New York, New York||$47,000||$22.60|
Source: Intuit Mint (March 11, 2023)
As you can see, California accounts for four of the top 10 highest-paying markets in the country. If the West Coast isn’t for you, it’s helpful to view data for other regions to determine how much you might make elsewhere.
For example, anesthesia technicians in Oklahoma earn an average of $32,000 annually, but Oklahoma has a much lower cost of living than California. According to Sperling’s Best Places, you’d need a salary of $60,815 in San Diego to have the same standard of living you’d enjoy on a salary of $32,000 in Oklahoma City.
The average salary in Florida is a little higher at $34,000 per year. Florida doesn’t collect state income taxes, so you’ll also keep more of your income.
Anesthesia technicians in Texas earn an average of $39,000 per year. Like Florida and Oklahoma, The Lone Star State has a much lower cost of living than most of the highest-paying markets. For example, a salary of $39,000 in Houston would need to increase to $65,504 in San Diego to maintain the same standard of living. And like Florida, Texas also doesn’t collect state income taxes.
Employers in California also offer some of the highest weekly wages for travel anesthesia technician jobs. According to Vivian Health’s salary data on March 11, 2023, anesthesia techs in the Golden State earned an average of $1,600 per week. Salaries in New York were on the lower end, averaging approximately $975 weekly. Depending on the terms of your contract, you may earn more than the average when you account for bonuses, housing stipends and other forms of compensation.
Anesthesia Technician Salaries vs. Other Healthcare Professions
Anesthesia technician salaries are often lower than the average salaries for other allied health professions. For example, on March 11, 2023, Intuit Mint shows the average salary of a surgical technologist at $46,000 annually, or about $22.12 per hour. The difference between their salaries is $7,500 per year or about $3.61 hourly.
According to Vivian Health’s travel salary data, the average certified surgical technologist (CST) travel salary was $2,119 per week on March 11, 2023. Compared to travel anesthesia technician salaries during this same period, CSTs earned $414 more weekly.
The table below provides salary data for five other allied health jobs to help you assess your career options. As a reminder, the average perm salary data comes from Intuit Mint and the travel salary data comes from Vivian Health.
|Job Title||Average Hourly Perm Rate||Average Weekly Travel Salary|
|Medical Laboratory Technician||$22.59||$2,238|
Sources: Vivian Health, Intuit Mint (March 11, 2023)
Employment Outlook for Anesthesia Technicians
The demand for anesthesia technicians is strong, as evidenced by plummeting unemployment rates in the industry. In 2015, anesthesia techs had an unemployment rate of 3.08%, according to Zippia, a career website that gathers employment statistics for a broad range of occupations. By 2021, that rate had fallen to 1.29%. Per Zippia’s statistics, slightly more than 30% of anesthesia technicians stay in the same job for 1 to 2 years. Another 15% stay for less than 1 year. As a result of this high turnover, healthcare employers are often looking for new anesthesia technicians to fill open jobs.
Some states have a lot more job opportunities for anesthesia technicians than others. Based on data posted on Zippia on March 11, 2023, Florida had the highest employment level for this occupation. The table below shows the number of anesthesia technicians employed in 10 markets on this date.
|State||Number of Anesthesia Technicians|
Source: Zippia (March 11, 2023)
Per Zippia, approximately 85% of all anesthesia technicians work for private companies, such as hospitals and same-day surgery centers. Another 11% work in the education industry, teaching or conducting research. Government agencies and public health facilities also employ anesthesia technicians.
Required Licenses and Credentials
Each state has its own rules regarding the licensure of anesthesia technicians. You may need to pass a criminal background check, complete annual continuing education requirements or undergo on-the-job training before working in this field. Check with your state licensing organization to determine what you must do to begin your career.
In the past, The American Society of Anesthesia Technologists & Technicians (ASATT) allowed anesthesia technicians to earn national certification in their field. However, this certification no longer exists, so you lose this opportunity to promote your knowledge and skills.
Although professional certification isn’t currently required to start working as an anesthesia technician, you can earn certifications to advance your career. Once you complete the required education and training, you can sit for the Certified Anesthesia Technologist (Cer.A.T.T.) exam. Earning this credential should give your career and salary a boost.
How to Increase Your Pay as an Anesthesia Technician
Healthcare is a demanding industry, so it’s not always feasible to get a second job if you want to earn extra money. Fortunately, there are a few ways to increase your earnings as an anesthesia technician, eliminating the need to take on a part-time job in the same or another industry.
Become a Travel Anesthesia Technician
It’s clear that travel anesthesia technicians typically earn a lot more than techs in permanent roles. If you don’t mind working at different facilities around the country, consider taking travel assignments. Even if you accept a job in one of the lower-paying markets, you’ll still make more as a travel tech than a staff tech. For example, if you complete a travel contract paying $975 per week in New York, you’ll earn $12,675 in 13 weeks. That’s nearly $3,050 more than you’d make in 13 weeks at a staff job paying an average of $18.51 per hour, assuming you worked 40 hours weekly.
Land a Per-Diem Job
Per-diem work is more common in nursing, but some facilities hire per-diem anesthesia technicians to fill in as needed. These techs typically cover when staff call in sick or need time off for maternity leave or other personal reasons. One of the main benefits of accepting a per-diem job is flexibility. You can pick up just a few shifts per month or work every weekend to build up your bank balance. If your current employer doesn’t hire per-diem anesthesia techs, contact a reputable staffing agency to see what’s available.
Get Additional Training
With additional training, you can potentially switch from anesthesia technician to anesthesia technologist. Both jobs share some responsibilities, but the technologist job requires more training and patient interaction. If you decide to become an anesthesia technologist, check with your state’s licensing body to determine if you need to obtain a license or pass the Cer.A.T.T. exam offered by ASATT.
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