Menu Close

Anesthesiology Assistant: Who are They and What Do They Do?

What are the 5 levels of medical care

There are a lot of unsung heroes in the field of medicine. Aside from doctors that play a bigger role in the medical industry, individuals such as anesthesiology assistants should be appreciated too.

So who are these people? And what is their role in our hospitals? Let’s find out in this article. 

What is an Anesthesiology Assistant?

What is an anesthesiology assistant? If doctors have nurses, licensed anesthesiologists also have anesthesiology assistants. From their name itself, they are highly skilled assistants that aid anesthesiologists during the operation process such as surgeries.

These assistants are the one who accompanies patients before, during, and after the anesthesia session. 

Aside from being an assistant only, they are also trained with life-saving skills such as CPR, and cardiac life support. But most of the time, the role of an anesthesiology assistant is much like that of a nurse and an anesthesiologist.

They also do records about the patient’s health history, prepare the patient for monitoring, or adjusting anesthesia levels in its optimum state, and performing operations both in the intensive care unit (ICU) and pain clinic.

Becoming an Anesthesiology Assistant

Any professionals in the medical field undergo years of studying and training, and an anesthesiology assistant is no exception.

To become an anesthesiology assistant, you need to complete a 4-year premedical college degree, preferably organic chemistry, advanced college math, and advanced physics and biology. 

After graduating, students must undergo the Anesthesiology Assistant (AA) masters-level degree that takes about 22-28 months to complete. About 600 hours of classroom work is required and 62 didactic hours and a whopping 2,000 hours of clinical training. During the course of the training, students will be dealing with real-life patients where they are also required to handle 600 varieties of anesthetics to be done in surgeries.

Lastly, a six-hour exam from the National Commission for the Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA) is required and another 40 hours of continued medical education (CME) every two years.

Employment and Salary

Full-time anesthesiology assistants have a starting salary of $95,000 that can go up to $120,000 in the US. Though keep in mind that other countries may have different salary ranges depending on the government. 

But comparing it to a physician’s assistant that only receives a $70,000 paycheck per year in the US, there’s no doubt that more and more people are willing to become an anesthesiology assistant because of its higher salary.

The reason behind the anesthesiology assistant’s high salaries is simple. Population in the US is aging, as more people are being hospitalized and are in dire need of surgery, the demand for anesthesiologists and their assistants are also rapidly growing as well.

Another factor is their skills. Anesthesiology assistants are trained with skills that are almost on par with anesthesiologists. Being an anesthesiology assistant is not just a profession that feels like a walk in the park. They also deal with critical surgical operations that can be the death of a patient if not being performed properly.