The Anesthesiologist Assistant Career Path

Written by on September 19, 2012 in Career - No comments | Print this page


Anesthesiologist Assistants (AA) are integral part of the anesthesia team. They are allied healthcare professionals who are extensively educated and trained. They work directly under the guidance of a licensed anesthesiologist, and perform exclusively within the anesthesia team.

Anesthesiologist Assistants helps the anesthesiologist during the entire process of providing anesthesia care to patients. Typical responsibilities of an anesthesiologist assistant include the following but not limited to:

  • Patient assessment including taking patient’s health history, other pertinent health information, and physical assessment.
  • Checking and calibrating anesthesia monitors and delivery systems to make sure they are functioning properly.
  • Inserting catheters (whether venous, arterial, and others that are required to ensure maximum patient intervention delivery during operative phases).
  • Oxygen administration, including intubation of patient.
  • Anesthesia administration and other necessary medications
  • Monitoring and managing anesthesia-related care of patientsbefore, during, and post operatively.
  • Performing anesthesiologist assistant functions in that may be needed at the Intensive Care Unit and Pain Management patients.

Step by step guide to attaining Anesthesiologist Assistant profession:

  1. Bachelor’s or Baccalaureate degree which has pre-medical classes.  Subjects and number of semesters required may vary though depending on specific program of Anesthesiology Assistantship.  The following are subjects that are generally required:
  •      2 semesters –     Biology
  •       2 semesters –     Chemistry
  •       1 semester –       Anatomy
  •       2 semesters –     Physics
  •       2 semesters –     Advanced college Mathematics
  •       1 semester –       Biochemistry
  •       1 semester –       Calculus
  •       1 semester –       English
  •       2 semesters –     Organic Chemistry
  •       1 semester –       Statistics


  1. Pass either the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) or the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)

* GPA above 3.0 is required to be accepted to the Master’s Program on Anesthesiologist Assisting, which is the next step towards achievement of the career.

  1. Study and complete requirements on Master’s Program on Anesthesiologist Assisting.

*Make sure to choose anAnesthesiology Assistant’s program with CAAHEPaccreditation.

* The Master’s program normally takes between 24 and 27 months to complete, and includes, but not limited to the following subjects;

  •       Pharmacology
  •       Anesthetic Science
  •       Anatomy
  •       Patient-monitoring classes
  •       Clinical experience


  1. Comply with the certification or licensing requirements and policies by the state medical board.

Check for state regulations specifically where you want to practice the profession. Regulations may vary from one state to another.

Some states require anesthesiologist assistant’s license or certification.

In order to gain certification, examinations for anesthesiologist assistants are being administered by the NCCAA.

To stay certified, you’ll need 40 hours of CE (continuing ed) every two years.

In addition to CE units, you’ll need to take the CDQ or Continued Demonstration of Qualification Exam every six years.

Although the education requirements and corresponding financial spending may prove to be tedious and somewhat costly, the profession is quite lucrative. Usually, even before graduation, anesthesiologist assistant students are already offered jobs by different health institutions. Starting salary usually range from $110,000- $120,000. Once employed, typical benefits and perks includes; sign-on bonuses, 5-week vacation per year, pension, profit sharing, annual education stipends, several insurances (e.g., malpractice, medical, dental, accident, and life insurance).

This is a guest post.  Joy is an virtual academic adviser who now writes for, where she discusses a range of topics, including crna schools, nurse anesthetist programs, crna programs and nurse anesthetist schools.


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