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How to Become an Anesthesiologist Assistant

Have you thought about getting into a medical career?  Do you like working around patients and making them comfortable?  You might consider becoming an anesthesiologist assistant.  Do you know what an anesthesiologist assistant does?  Well, they help licensed anesthesiologists taking patient histories, insert catheters, administer anesthesia, administer other medications and help monitor patients to make sure everything is okay.  To become an anesthesiologist assistant, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in the specialty.  Depending on the state you live in, you may need to licensed or certified.


To start, you need a high school diploma or GED and have passed a college entrance exam (SAT/ACT).  Then you need to get a bachelor’s degree (4-year degree).  You’ll need to take premed courses for the first two years and then biology courses the last two years.  You need to make sure you have taken all the prerequisites to get into graduate school which include but not limited to, inorganic chemistry, 2 terms of organic chemistry, two terms of physics, calculus I and II (or advanced college math), anatomy and physiology, English literature, English composition and some social studies.  To get into grad school you’ll need to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and pass with a high score.  Then, you can apply to an anesthesiology assistant program.  The program you apply to should be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.


A master’s program in anesthesiology assisting generally takes anywhere from 24 to 27 months.  The courses you will need to take include anesthetic science, pharmacology, anatomy, patient monitoring as well as getting hands-on clinical practice.


Once you have completed your master’s program, you’ll need to complete your certification or licensing requirements that are required by your state board.  These requirements vary by state.  If licensing is required, you can take your exam during your last year of your master’s program or wait until you graduate.  The agency that administers the certifying exam is the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA).  Your master’s program counselor can help you with this if you need to take it.


Once you are certified, if your state requires it, you can now practice being an anesthesiologist assistant.  As with any career today, you will need to maintain your certification with continuing education every two years.  You must send documentation of your continuing education to the NCCAA.  Beyond that, you will need to be tested every six years to keep your certification as well.

Susan Ardizzoni

Susan Ardizzoni

Professor Susan Ardizzoni

Susan has studied at the University of Texas Medical Branch Marine Biomedical Institute in Galveston, Texas and the University of South Florida in Tampa and received a Ph.D. in Biology with a major in Neuroscience and minors in physics and mathematics. Area of research is in brain transplantation and behavior testing with twenty years of teaching experience. Fields of interest include the physical basis of memory and learning, brain repair and regeneration as well as neuro-development. As an educator, has taught thousands of students at the college level in anatomy and physiology, biology, microbiology, marinebiology, nutrition, communications, radiography, ultrasound, mathematics and physics. She enjoys reading current scientific literature and simplifying the material making it readily available to the public.
Susan Ardizzoni

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