College of DuPage Offers New Anesthesia Technology Degree Program
By Brian Kleemann
The new Anesthesia Technology degree program at College of DuPage will be the first of its kind in the state of Illinois.
Recently approved by the Illinois Community College Board, the program will train students to assist licensed anesthesiologists in delivering anesthesia care. Upon completion of the program, students can sit for the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs National Certification Examination to become certified as an anesthesia technologist.
“College of DuPage is responding to multiple requests from area health care facilities to offer this program,” said Erin Birt, Chair of the College of DuPage Board of Trustees. “With changes to requirements for national certification, it was imperative that we implement this program in order to begin providing the required education as soon as possible.”
Kathy Cabai, coordinator and professor of the Surgical Technology and Anesthesia Technology programs, said as of July 15, 2015, future anesthesia technologists must first earn an associate’s degree in order to sit for the national certification exam.
“The profession is moving away from on-the-job training toward a formalized education,” she said. “One reason is because the profession is becoming more complex, and technologists are using more advanced equipment. Current technologists without a degree who do not obtain their certification before July 15 will have until 2018 to go through a formalized training program such as the one now offered at College of DuPage.”
The associate’s degree program will require a separate admissions application in addition to the general COD application. Classes will consist of online coursework, clinicals and a capstone course.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of all health care technologists will increase by almost 20 percent through 2020. Cabai said anesthesia technologists are in especially high demand because an extreme shortage exists.
“In the current job market, once you become certified, you can almost write your own ticket anywhere,” she said. “I’m truly excited about our new program at College of DuPage. The American Association of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians was very aggressive by requiring an associate’s degree before certification. It’s good to see because it reflects the importance of both the profession and the needed education to be successful.”
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