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How do I Become an Anesthesiologist Assistant?

By Rachel Burkot
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Anesthesiologist assistants work in medical careers with anesthesiologists to take care of patients and work out treatment and care plans. These assistants give patients relief from pain. To become an anesthesiologist assistant, start by getting a bachelor’s degree. Most people who work in this job get a degree in a science or medical field, but it is not required. After undergraduate study, you must get a master’s degree by completing an approved program.

Anesthesiologist assistant programs take two years to complete, and those taken in the US must be approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), which is located in Chicago, Illinois. There are only a limited number of anesthesiologist assistant programs in the US, although there are programs in other countries as well.

To become an anesthesiologist assistant, a student must apply and be accepted to a approved school. Depending on the school, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and/or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is required before a student can enter the program. Courses focus on subjects such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, clinical methods, general surgery, pediatrics, neurosurgery, cardiac surgery and transplantation.

Practical training is also required. This hands-on experience usually takes place in a clinic or laboratory, and students learn how to administer different types of anesthesia and care for patients under the effects of anesthesia.

After completing the two-year program successfully, you'll receive a diploma or certification. This grants you the right to practice anesthesiology care in health care careers. Most anesthesiology assistants have hospital jobs, but some work in smaller clinics or doctors’ offices. Many eventually become anesthesiologists, but this requires further training. Assistants must work well with other people because the job is highly collaborative.

Health care jobs are in demand, and an anesthesiologist assistant’s salary varies based on the person’s experience and the area they practice in.

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Discussion Comments
By anon232277 — On Nov 30, 2011

Every type of abnormality your body encounters is susceptible to numerous health risks. These abnormalities can range from surgical procedures requiring any form of Anesthesia to prescriptions pills, or in rare instances vitamin consumption or highly processed foods. All possible risks must be known and addressed for preventative measures. Especially since patients either intentionally or accidentally forget to mention minor details that could pose a problem in surgery (not necessarily from the Anesthesia).

Additionally, so many people are pathetically looking for any excuse to make money via prosecution, leaving the medical field to be easily targeted. Therefore, all possibly negative outcomes must be initially discussed regardless of the probability of the patient's encounter with any complications. Thus, the extensive list of possible health risks is merely that: a possibility. Most people suffer little to mild or even no side effects. Again, "most" is required to be used loosely because nothing is certain and there is always exceptions to the rule.

Hope this summary helped ease some of your worries. Ultimate resolution remains in the hands of effective and comforting communication with your physician, surgeon, and anesthesiologist.

By momtocfd — On Feb 09, 2011

I agree @watson42! I would have never imagined that an assistant has that much training, including a Master's Degree. I honestly thought they maybe only had two years of training period. I had no clue you had to have a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree to even begin training to become an anesthesiologist assistant. I cannot imagine what it must take to begin and anesthesiologist career!!

By watson42 — On Feb 05, 2011

While it does not necessarily help my fear of getting general anesthesia because of all of the possible health risks, it does make me feel better to know that anesthesiologist training is this complex.

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