An Anesthesiologist Assistant – Education and Training Required

Posted in Career Blog

For the most part, anesthesiologist assistants follow the same path to becoming licensed as a physician’s assistant does. The primary difference is the fact that these professionals will have a special designation on their license which will allow them to assist anesthesiologists rather than general practitioners.

Paving the way in High School

During high school, it’s best to take as many science and math courses at the advanced placement level as possible. Four years of English could be useful since these workers spend a great deal of time writing reports. Students should strive to earn as close to a 4.0 grade point average as possible, as this can help them secure a spot in pre-med school. ACT scores that are 33 or higher can also help individuals be accepted into one of these programs.

Pre-Medical Education

After high school, enrollment in pre-med school is the next step in anesthesiologist assistant education. Students may major in a science-related field such as biology, physics or chemistry. Classes at the pre-medicine level should also be approved by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). The timeline for finishing this degree program ranges from four to seven years. During that time, students can expect to pay between $43,900 and $50,000 per year for tuition, housing, room and board, books and related fees. Students should plan on taking the Medical College Admissions Test, which is also administered by the AAMC , during their senior year. This test costs $270.

Graduate Degree: Master’s in Anesthesiologist Assisting

After finishing pre-med school, it can take another two years to earn a Master’s degree in Anesthesiology Assisting. During that time, students will study ambulatory surgery, obstetrics, cardiothoracic surgery and burns and trauma surgery. Some time will be spent in a hospital setting during the last three semesters of a program. It can cost between $37,080 and $58,500 per year for tuition, room and board, and fees, with another $2,000 to $3,000 being spent for books and materials. Students may be required to purchase uniforms to wear while completing hospital work and undergo a physical exam at their own expense which can cost between $150 and $300.

Becoming State Board Certified

The National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA) administers certification exams for this profession. In order to sit for this exam, individuals must show proof of graduation or pending graduation from an approved Master’s degree program. The test covers topics such as pharmacology, patient respiration and the neuromuscular system. The test costs $1,327.50 plus a $190 registration fee which is payable prior to the date of testing.

Continuing Education for Anesthesiologist Assistants

At least 40 hours worth of continuing education needs to be completed every two years in order to renew one’s license. Approved anesthesiologist assistant training programs are offered by the American Medical Association (AMA), American Association of Physician’s Assistants (AAPA) or the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.(ACCME). Employers typically pick up the cost of this training; however, workers must foot the bill for the renewal of their license. That amount is currently $190.

Although they receive general training as an anesthesiologist assistant, these workers can nonetheless specialize in certain fields such as obstetrics or pediatrics. Often times, this is not done while in college but instead happens as a result of several years worth of on-the-job training in a specialty area.

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