Durham Tech partners with UNC to launch new Anesthesia Technology program

Durham Technical Community College will launch a new Anesthesia Technology program this fall.

The program will be the only one of its kind in the state. It was designed in partnership with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the UNC School of Medicine, and UNC Healthcare. Following final approval, Durham Tech is expected to be one of 11 approved programs in the country.

“We’re very excited about this collaboration. Durham Tech’s new Anesthesia Technology program addresses a critical health care need in our region, prepares our students to meet industry needs, and provides upward economic mobility for our workforce,” said Durham Tech President Bill Ingram.

Each student who successfully completes the program at Durham Tech will earn an Associate in Applied Science degree and be eligible to take the American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT) National Certification Examination. The program will be held at the Durham Tech Orange County Campus.

Dr. Chris Howard, Medical Director for Anesthesia Technology at UNC Healthcare, helped spearhead the program’s creation after conducting a survey of local hospitals and assessing a need for certified anesthesia technologists.

“Currently, we have nearly 70 locations where we provide anesthesia services, often to some of the sickest patients in the state,” Howard said. “We always have had a well-run group of anesthesia technicians and technologists, but the group has struggled to grow with the rest of the department and hospital. We can train inexperienced people to become good anesthesia technicians, but nothing can replicate the training available through an ASATT-certified program.”

Howard added that employers he contacted said they prefer anesthesia technologists and technicians with the ASATT certification because of skills they learn in order to gain certification.

UNC Healthcare will support the program with donations of some essential equipment and supplies, lecturing for Durham Tech students, and valuable input into curriculum development.

“The partnership with UNC Healthcare reflects how, together, we can problem solve to not only address workforce needs but also contribute positively to the health of patients,” said Melissa Oakley Ockert, Dean and Department Head of Health Technologies at Durham Tech.

“Our health programs teach students to become health care workers, and then they impact the patients in our community for the better – that’s huge. We take that responsibility very, very seriously. This is a testament to how a community college and its valuable clinical partners can build vital, healthier communities.”

The program will include 66 credit hours of anesthesia technology, science, and general education coursework. The Durham Tech Orange County Campus is located in Waterstone Development at 525 College Park Road in Hillsborough.

This new program is expected to begin Fall 2018, pending approval from its regional accreditor, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Committee on Accreditation for Anesthesia Technology Education (CoA-ATE).