Select Page
If you are looking for a fast growing medical field career that pays well and will set you up for a great future, take a look at how to become an anesthesiologist assistant! In the article below we will show what an anesthesiologist assistant does, how to find accredited training, what the job outlook is and much more.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 30% growth for the careers as a whole and that is much higher than the national average. Anesthesiologist assistants are also some of the highest earners in allied health and we will cover that in detail below too.

What it Will Take to Become an Anesthesiologist Assistant

Anesthesiologist assistants (AA) are similar to nurse anesthetists (NAs), but a nurse anesthetists attends nursing school. Anesthesiologist assistants mainly study medical principles. AAs first earn their bachelor’s degree (4 years) in either physics, chemistry or biology. Any program that meets pre-med requirements is the goal and is recommended by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). After getting bachelors degree, AAs will need to go in to a post-baccalaureate program in anesthesiology. These programs will be around 2 or 3 years in length. Below is a link to the CAAHEP database of accredited training options for AAs.

(CAAHEP) database of accredited anesthesiologist assistant programs

Get Certified to Become an Anesthesiologist Assistant

After your education all aspiring anesthesiologist assistants will need to get licensed. The licensing body for AAs is the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants. The requirements for certification are be at least 21 years old and be within 180 days of graduation from your accredited anesthesiology training.

The exam for licensing is called the Examination for Continued Demonstration of Qualifications of Anesthesiologist Assistants or the CDQ. The CDQ Examination is designed to test your cognitive and deductive skills in the art of practicing anesthesiologist assisting tasks and duties. The CDQ is given by prometric testing and can be scheduled by choosing testing program “National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants” at their website or by telephone at 800-490-6504.

As of 2012, the (AAAA) American Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants reported there are eleven states where AAs are licensed and allowed to function as part of the surgical anesthesia team. These states are AL, FL, GA, KY, MO, NC, NM, OH, OK, SC, VT and Washington D.C. Six other states allow their anesthesiologists to directly delegate anesthesia procedures to their anesthesiologist assistants during surgery. They are CO, MI, NH, TX, WI and WV.

What do Anesthesiologist Assistants do?

Anesthesiologist assistants (AA) are extremely high skilled and trained professionals that work with and under the direct supervision of licensed anesthesiologists. They are part of the anesthesia care team in medical centers, hospitals and pother healthcare facilities where anesthesia is given to patients.

AAs accompany their patients before, during and after anesthesia has been given to them to make sure that the quality and continuity of care is as high as it can be. Anesthesiologist assistants (AA) are also trained to be able to assist in any necessary life-saving measures if they are needed, like CPR or cardiac life support. As you can tell the AA is extremely important and plays a major role in the anesthesia process.

Below we take a look at some of the common tasks and duties that an Anesthesiologist assistant will do on a typical day or night on the job.

  • Prep the patient to be monitored
  • Assisting with preparatory procedures
  • Administering necessary diagnostic and laboratory tests
  • Pre-test and calibration of anesthesia delivery systems
  • Assisting with life support where required
  • Inducing, adjusting and maintaining anesthesia levels on patient
  • Ensuring continuity of care
  • These are not all their important duties but they are a core part of what the typical job description is for a licensed AA.

    What Becoming an Anesthesiologist Assistant Will do for Your Salary

    According to the American Medical Association, anesthesiologists’ assistants can expect to earn salaries ranging from $95,000 to $120,000 per year in the beginning of their careers and more as they garner more experience on the job. The top earners in the field earn between $160,000 to $180,000 a year on the job. This makes anesthesiologists’ assistants one of the highest paid allied health fields!