Undergraduate Anesthesia Training
|Degree Level||No undergraduate degree available; Master's degree; M.D. to become an anesthesiologist|
|Degree Field(s)||Anesthesiologist assisting for master's; medicine then anesthesiology as a specialty|
|Program Length||24-27 months for master's;' 4 years of medical school plus residency in anesthesiology|
|Licensure/Certification||Licensure requirement vary by state for assistants; physician licensure required in all states; voluntary certification available|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bachelor's degree programs in anesthesia do not exist. If you want a career in this field, you'll need to earn at least a master's degree to become an anesthesiologist assistant. If you want to become an anesthesiologist, you'll need to complete medical school and a specialized residency. Most graduate level anesthesiology programs look for applicants who have earned bachelor's degrees in related fields. With that in mind, you may want to earn a bachelor's degree in a major that offers pre-med curriculum, such as biology, chemistry, or health sciences.
Graduate Anesthesia Training
After earning a bachelor's, you can apply for a master's degree program in anesthesiologist assisting, which usually takes 24-27 months of full-time study to complete. The curriculum is divided between classroom lectures and lab courses, as well as incorporating an internship, in which degree candidates work under supervision in a healthcare environment. Most programs feature a medically focused curriculum, with few or no elective requirements. Students learn various practices, such as the monitoring of patients' cardiac and pulmonary systems.
Core courses tend to include healthcare terminology, pulmonary anatomy and physiology, airway management, pharmacology, and methods of patient monitoring. A competency exam is commonly required for the candidate to begin their final year or term. Graduates of accredited programs can apply for professional certification from the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants. Certification requirements include completion of an accredited degree program and passage of a competency exam. Some states also require that anesthesiologist assistants be licensed.
If you prefer to become an anesthesiologist, you'll need to become a licensed doctor. Much like becoming an anesthesiologist assistant, this involves earning a bachelor's degree in a related field, with a pre-med curriculum. Then you will go on to complete four years of medical school to earn a medical degree, followed by an accredited anesthesiologist residency. An anesthesiology residency usually takes an additional four years to complete and consists mostly of hands-on clinical training in a medical facility. You'll learn in both inpatient and outpatient settings and complete rotations in various departments, like emergency medicine, cardiology and pediatrics. Such residencies prepare physicians for specialist certification through the American Board of Anesthesiology.
While bachelor's degree programs in anesthesiology don't exist, you can prepare for graduate study in this field by earning a bachelor's in biology, chemistry, or another field that offers pre-med coursework. Then you might go on to earn a master's degree in anesthesiologist assisting. You can also earn a medical degree and complete a residency in anesthesiology to become a licensed anesthesiologist.