Anesthesiologist Assistant Career Plan

In some medical fields, ‘assistants’ are actually highly trained professionals. A career as an anesthesiologist assistant, in fact, requires a master’s degree. If you already have a degree in a related field, you may have a head start. If you’re still in high school, advance preparation can put you on a fast track for success.

  1. Earn competitive grades. Math and science courses are part of the foundation, but don’t overlook the value of composition and communications.

  2. Look for enrichment activities in health care. These may be offered during the school year or during summer vacation. Many hospitals have formal job shadowing programs. Spending a day on the job with an anesthesia assistant can go a long way toward confirming your career choice.

    Summer healthcare camps will introduce you to a wide variety of careers and let you interact with technology that you’ll one day use on the job. At Midwestern University Health Careers Institute, for example, students typically spend some time interacting with an anesthesia machine.

  3. Research undergraduate programs. You have your choice of majors, but science or health programs can make you more desirable. According to the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), typical majors include chemistry, biology, mathematics, and health technology. Whatever you choose, make sure you get your prerequisites in.

  4. Determine the legalities in your state. If your state doesn’t utilize AAs, you may have the option of going through a nursing program, putting in some nursing hours and then becoming a nurse anesthetist. Contact relevant organizations (the American Academy of Anesthesia Assistants and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists) for guidance.

  5. As you near completion of your undergraduate program, research graduates programs. Take the MCAT or GRE – whichever is required by your prospective school. Enroll in a CAAHEP-accredited program.

  6. Complete coursework and required clinical hours. You will learn to administer anesthesia, monitor and assess patient condition, and operate needed equipment, including life support systems.

  7. Begin looking for that first position. You may be at an advantage if you maintain ties to a professional organizations like the AAAA (and if you spend some time networking).