Career Growth Opportunities for Anesthesiology Assistants
The position of anesthesiology assistant is an exciting new role. Currently practicing in sixteen states, these allied health professionals are qualified at the master's level and certified by the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants. Anesthesiology assistants work within a team model of anesthesia care and under the direction of a physician to administer anesthesia care plans. Typical tasks may include conducting a pre-anesthesia physical exam, assisting in inducing and maintaining anesthesia, assisting in monitoring using highly complex techniques during surgery, and making post-anesthesia rounds. After working as an anesthesiologist assistant, some professionals may wish to advance into other types of health care roles. Some options might be to work in industry as a clinical specialist for medical devices, conduct research as a pharmacologist, or to offer increased patient care as an anesthesiologist. Some detailed information on these options is presented below.
|Job Title||Median Salary||Job Growth (2016-2026)*||Education or Experience|
|Clinical Specialist, Medical Devices||$76,332 (2018)**||5% (sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products)||Experience with medical devices|
|Pharmacologist||$98,245 (2018)**||13% (medical scientists)||Doctoral degree|
|Anesthesiologist||$265,990 (2017)*||15%||Medical degree and residency|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com
Clinical Specialist, Medical Devices
Anesthesia assistants utilize a range of medical devices in administering anesthesia to patients and monitoring them during surgery. Some may wish to focus this knowledge to become a clinical specialist in medical devices. These professionals become well-versed on new medical equipment designed by industry, and then meet with doctors and health care administrators to help them understand the complexities of the product. They train hospital staff on the correct usage of new equipment when it is purchased and continually review research information on new devices. These professionals typically hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree and have several years of clinical experience in working with medical devices.
Anesthesia assistants must be very familiar with the wide range of medications used within the anesthesia practice and potential side effects and interactions of these medications. Anesthesia assistants who wish to research and further develop these drug-related interventions may consider furthering their education to become pharmacologists. Pharmacologists are research scientists who examine drug-based treatment options for a wide range of medical conditions. They examine both how drugs or chemical agents act upon the body, and how the body reacts to those medications. Their research ensures that medications provided are safe and target the area of the body in need of the therapy. Pharmacologists typically work within lab environments at universities, governmental agencies, or in the pharmaceutical industry. Most pharmacologists possess a Ph.D., and many pursue post-graduate fellowships.
Some anesthesiology assistants may wish to offer the full range of anesthesia medical services. These individuals may wish to pursue medical training in order to become anesthesiologists. Anesthesiologists are medical doctors who focus their practice upon pain relief. During surgery, anesthesiologists administer an anesthetic and then remain with the patient to ensure that their vital signs remain as expected. Some work in locations outside of the surgical suite and may provide pain relief to laboring women or work with clients who experience chronic pain. The training to become an anesthesia assistant is excellent preparation for medical school. To become an anesthesiologist, it would be necessary to complete medical school and a four-year anesthesiology residency.