Anesthesiologist Assistant: Career Guide & Salary Facts

Learn more about careers as anesthesiologist assistants. Find information on career opportunities, tasks and duties, educational requirements, certification, and salary information. View popular healthcare schools that prepare students for careers as anesthesiologist assistants.

Duties & Tasks

Anesthesiology assistants are tasked with providing airway management interventions. These include tracheal intubation and ventilary support. They also are responsible for maintaining anesthesia levels during procedures, administering blood and supportive fluids, and assisting anesthesiologists in monitoring patients. Anesthesiologist assistants are in charge of verifying operating room equipment for proper calibration. They also collect and document patients’ medical history with regard to past anesthesia administration. In addition, they are required to respond to emergency situations by providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation and basic cardiac life support.

Education Requirements

Those interested in becoming an anesthesiologist assistant must hold a baccalaureate degree in a health-related major from an accredited university. Some programs may require students to take the Medical College Entrance Test (MCAT) before admission. Anesthesiologist assistant programs typically lead to a master’s degree in health science. These programs may provide students with a solid foundation in administering anesthesia and patient monitoring. Students may take courses in areas such as principles of airway management, pharmacology for anesthesia, and pulmonary anatomy and physiology. They may also be required to complete clinical rotations at hospitals in order to gain real-world experience.

Certification & Licensure

Upon graduation from an anesthesiologist assistant program, students become eligible to take the certification exam. This examination is provided by the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA) or the National Board of Medical Examiners. In order to maintain certification, anesthesiology assistants must complete 40 hours of continued education every two to three years and pass a qualification exam every six years.

Salary & Job Growth

Employment opportunities for anesthesiologist assistants are projected to increase by 29% from 2010-2020. This increase may be due to the rapid increase in population needing medical care. It may also be due to the increase in medical research leading to new surgical procedures. As of 2010, there were 84,000 employed anesthesiologist assistants. Anesthesiologist assistants earn an annual salary of $90,930 and an hourly wage of $43.72.

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