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Anesthesiologist assistants are highly skilled professionals who work under the direction of licensed anesthesiologists (specialist physicians) and as part of anesthesia care team to design and implement anesthesia care plans.
The anesthesiologist assistant’s responsibilities include:
They accompany the patient before, during and after anesthesia to ensure quality and continuity of care. Anesthesiologist assistants are trained to assist in life-saving measures, such as CPR, and advanced cardiac life support.
Anesthesiologist assistants are in high demand, because of the need for skilled personnel to deliver anesthesia. Anesthesiologist assistants operate as physician extenders, performing critical tasks that ensure the safety of the patient and promote optimal health outcomes.
Anesthesiologist assistants work in hospitals and surgery centers under the direction of a licensed anesthesiologist.
The profession maintains a typical work week with options for on-call, evening or weekend assignments.
About a Career as an Anesthesiologist Assistant
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Note: The American Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants reviewed this career profile.
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To become an anesthesiologist assistant, you must first complete a four-year college degree, taking a pre-medical curriculum with course work in general and organic chemistry; advanced college math, including calculus; and general and advanced biology and physics.
Once you have a bachelor’s degree, you can apply to a master’s program in anesthesia. Look for a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, works closely with a medical school and is taught by physicians who are board-certified in anesthesiology.
The two-year program focuses on course work that enhances basic science knowledge in physiology, pharmacology, anatomy and biochemistry with special emphasis on the cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, nervous and neuromuscular systems.
The clinical part of your program will provide you with experience in patient monitoring, anesthesia delivery systems, life support systems and patient assessment and in the skills needed to provide compassionate and quality care. During the clinical portion, students administer a minimum of 600 different anesthetics during a variety of surgeries.
A solid grasp of safety protocols and effective communication skills are also essential to help the anesthesiologist assistant excel as part of the treatment team.
Once you have completed your master’s program, you will need to pass a certification exam administered by the National Commission for the Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants.
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Allied Health Professions
Last updated: October 17, 2016
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