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Anaesthetic Technician

Kaihangarau Haurehu

Alternative titles for this job

Anaesthetic technicians assist anaesthetists during operations, and prepare operating theatres and clinics for anaesthetic procedures.

Pay

Trainee anaesthetic technicians usually earn

$38K-$49K per year

Qualified anaesthetic technicians who are managers usually earn

$74K-$100K per year

Source: Public Service Association, 2019.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as an anaesthetic technician are good due to a shortage of workers.

Pay

Pay for anaesthetic technicians varies depending on experience, hours of work, and employer. 

District health board anaesthetic technicians are paid as follows:

  • Trainee anaesthetic technicians usually earn between $38,000 and $47,000 a year.
  • Qualified anaesthetic technicians usually earn between $51,000 and $79,000.
  • Anaesthetic technicians who work as managers may earn up to $100,000.

Those working in private hospitals usually earn more when they start out. 

Source: Public Service Association, 'Allied, Public Health and Technical Multi-Employer Collective Agreement: 2018-2020', accessed February 2019.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Anaesthetic technicians may do some or all of the following:

  • check and set up life support and anaesthetic machines
  • inform and reassure patients, and check for conditions that could create problems under anaesthesia
  • help anaesthetists place patients' breathing tubes and intravenous lines
  • help anaesthetists administer anaesthetics, including local anaesthetics and nerve blocks
  • watch patients and monitor their vital signs (such as heartbeat)
  • decontaminate, sterilise or dispose of equipment and materials used in operations
  • assist with care after operations and insert catheters into patients.

Skills and knowledge

Anaesthetic technicians need to have knowledge of:

  • operating theatre procedures and protocols
  • anaesthetic and nerve-blocking machines, life support machines, other equipment and drugs
  • emergency procedures, and how to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • human anatomy, physiology and biophysics
  • physical and medical conditions that may put patients at risk during anaesthesia.

Working conditions

Anaesthetic technicians:

  • usually do shift work, including weekends, and may be on call
  • work in operating rooms in hospitals and clinics, delivery suites and emergency departments
  • work in conditions that may be stressful, particularly during operations.

Entry requirements

To become a trainee anaesthetic technician you need to get a trainee position at a recognised training hospital.

To become a qualified anaesthetic technician, you need to:

  • complete on-the-job and distance learning
  • pass the Diploma in Applied Science – Anaesthetic Technology (Level 5) or Graduate Diploma in Science – Anaesthetic Technology (Level 7) 
  • pass the New Zealand Anaesthetic Technicians' Society's registration exam
  • be registered by the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand
  • hold an Annual Practising Certificate.

Existing tertiary qualifications can shorten training

The three-year Diploma in Applied Science – Anaesthetic Technology (Level 5) is for people without existing tertiary qualifications. 

The one or two-year Graduate Diploma in Science – Anaesthetic Technology (Level 7) is for people who already have a degree-level science qualification, relevant professional experience, or who are registered nurses.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children. 

Secondary education

To enter a training position and the Diploma in Applied Science (Anaesthetic Technology), you need to have at least 48 NCEA Level 2 credits.

These must include eight Level 2 credits, all in one of:

  • biology
  • chemistry
  • earth and space science
  • physics
  • science.

Maths and Level 3 biology are also useful.

Personal requirements

Anaesthetic technicians need to be:

  • able to remain calm in emergencies and work well under pressure
  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • good communicators who are able to relate to people from a range of cultures
  • comfortable working around sick and injured people.

Useful experience

Experience in the medical field is useful for anaesthetic technicians.

Physical requirements

Anaesthetic technicians need to be reasonably fit, healthy and strong because they often need to move equipment and patients.

Registration

Anaesthetic technicians must be registered with the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand and hold an Annual Practising Certificate.

Find out more about training

Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
0800 288 864 - studenthub@aut.ac.nz - www.aut.ac.nz
New Zealand Anaesthetic Technicians' Society
info@nzats.co.nz - www.nzats.co.nz
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Chances good due to shortage of anaesthetic technicians

Demand for anaesthetic technicians is strong due to:

  • New Zealand's growing and ageing population, which means more surgical procedures
  • insufficient numbers of trainees.

Anaesthetic technician appears on Immigration New Zealand's regional skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled anaesthetic technicians from overseas to work in New Zealand.

According to the Medical Sciences Secretariat, 1054 registered anaesthetic technicians worked in New Zealand in November 2019.

Anaesthetic technicians work in hospitals

Anaesthetic technicians work for public or private hospitals. 

Sources

  • Medical Sciences Secretariat, careers.govt.nz interview, November 2019.
  • Immigration New Zealand, 'Regional Skill Shortage List', 27 May 2019, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
  • New Zealand Anaesthetic Technicians' Society, careers.govt.nz interview, January 2019.
  • New Zealand Anaesthetic Technicians' Society website, accessed January 2019, (www.nzats.co.nz).

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Anaesthetic technicians may move into managerial or trainer roles.

Anaesthetic technicians can specialise in certain departments or procedures, including:

  • paediatrics (working with children)
  • emergency and resuscitation
  • transplants
  • specialised surgery such as neurosurgery (brain surgery) or cardiothoracic surgery (for heart and lung-related conditions)
  • using specialist equipment for cell saving (removing a patient's own blood or blood products, then later returning them to the patient's body).
Gloved hands hold anaesthetic equipment in an operating theatre

Anaesthetic technicians prepare anaesthetic equipment and assist during operations (Photo: New Zealand Anaesthetic Technicians' Society)

Last updated 4 December 2019