Anesthesiology Assistant Schooling Information

Prospective anesthesiology assistants can apply for professional certification after completing an approved program in the field. Graduate-level programs in anesthesiology assisting are offered by a limited number of schools and can lead to a promising career in the field.

Essential Information

Master's degree programs in anesthesiology assisting cover topics like airway management and includes clinical work. To be considered for the program, a bachelor's degree is required, and certain math and science courses must have been completed, such as biology, organic chemistry, physics, anatomy, physiology, statistics and calculus.

There are only five programs in the United States qualified to train students to become certified anesthesiologist assistants. Degrees awarded include Master of Medical Science, Master of Science and Master of Health Sciences in anesthesiology or anesthesiology assisting. Programs typically require 24-28 months to complete and provide the training necessary to earn professional certification through the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants.

Degree Programs in Anesthesiology Assisting

Students in an anesthesiology assistant program study basic science and clinical practice. In addition, they participate in clinical rotations which provide hands-on anesthesiology training. The first year typically involves classroom training and clinical study followed by a year of clinical rotations. Coursework might include:

  • Anesthesia principles
  • Methods of anesthesia
  • Monitoring and instrumentation
  • Airway management
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology for anesthesia

Popular Career Options

Anesthesiology assistants work with anesthesiologists to administer anesthetic drugs to patients. In addition to helping administer and monitor anesthesia, anesthesiology assistants obtain patient histories and provide post-operative follow-up. These assistants fall under the broad category of physician assistants within the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Job Outlook and Salary Information

Physician assistants were projected by the BLS to see a 30% increase in employment opportunities, from 2014-2024, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations. They earned an average wage of $99,270 per year as of May 2015.

Certification and Continuing Education

Professional certification for anesthesiologist assistants is granted by the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA). Applicants must complete an accredited anesthesiologist assistant program and pass the NCCAA examination. Certified anesthesiologist assistants must complete 40 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain certification.

To become an anesthesiologist assistant, one must complete graduate-level coursework and pass a certification exam. This career shows promising growth over the next decade, as well as a competitive salary.

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