Anesthesiologist assistants must pursue a master's degree to be eligible in this field of work, and these degree programs are not offered online. Students might also consider becoming nurse anesthetists, a closely related career; nurse anesthetist degrees are offered through online schools.
How to Select an Online Anesthesiologist Assistant School
Students considering online anesthesiologist assistant schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Anesthesiologist assistant programs are not offered in a fully online format. Those interested in pursuing a degree in this field can enroll in a nurse anesthetist program, which is offered online or as a hybrid program. While a number of nursing schools offer master's degree programs for nurse anesthetists, all of them involve some degree of hands-on work. Students must also weigh the certification factors.
Program Availability and Type
Anesthesiologist assistants must complete a master's degree to be eligible to practice. Education programs for anesthesiologist assistants are not offered in an online or hybrid form, because of accreditation and licensing issues. In order to be accredited, anesthesiologist assistant programs require students to reside at the school for a period of time.
As an alternative option, nurse anesthetist education programs are available in online and hybrid formats. These programs, which are also offered as master's degrees, are normally intended for currently registered and licensed nurses. Both online and hybrid programs require students to complete clinical requirements.
Students who wish to complete a nurse anesthetist degree should consider whether a program provides clinical opportunities and meets certification standards. The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs is responsible for approving education programs, and students should ensure that a prospective program has earned the necessary recognition. After graduation, prospective nurse anesthetists must pass a certification examination available through the Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists (CCNA).
Online Degree Options for Anesthesiologist Assistants
Online Master of Science - Nurse Anesthesia
Master's degree programs for nurse anesthetists are available in a hybrid format rather than completely online. Coursework might be completely online or partially on-campus; either way, clinical requirements will be in-person, but are typically within a reasonable distance from the student's home. Students learn about anesthesia delivery methods, ethics and human anatomy. Specific course topics include:
- Radiological procedures
- Cardiovascular anesthesiology
- Biomedical statistics
Schools with Online Programs in Nurse Anesthesia
Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions offers an online master's degree in nurse anesthesia. This program provides the opportunity to take courses online, with in-person core anesthesia courses, including clinical experience. This degree includes many courses on nurse anesthesia, in addition to courses on ethics, pharmacology, physics, and physiology, among others.
University of Pittsburgh's School of Nursing offers an online program for certified registered nurse anesthetists who hold Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees to work towards their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees. This nurse anesthetist curriculum is online, practice-based, and includes courses on ethics, anesthesia practice, and public policy.
Becoming a nurse anesthetist requires many courses as well as practical study, which may be online or in person. Online hybrid programs do exist, and applicants should consider any in-person requirements, as well as certification requirements.