Anesthesia Assistant School and Training Programs

Get information about an anesthesia assistant's daily tasks and responsibilities. Learn about training required for this career along with commonly offered courses and topics. Schools offering Anesthesia Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Anesthesia assistants work with licensed anesthesiologists to develop and implement anesthetic treatment plans for patients undergoing medical procedures. Most training programs are 2-3 years in length and include extensive clinical practicum requirements - you may complete clinical rotations in your region or at an out-of-state facility.

Degrees Master of Science in Anesthesia
Classes Anesthetic delivery systems, emergency airway management techniques, intravenous fluid control and ethics in anesthesiology
Responsibilities Care of patients before, during and after surgical procedures

What Training Programs Are Available?

Anesthesia assistant programs are offered through medical schools and typically lead to a Master of Science in Anesthesia or Anesthesiology. It can take about 27-28 months to complete these studies. Some programs can be geared toward RNs who hold a bachelor's degree. A few colleges and universities that offer M.S. in Anesthesia programs include:

  • University of Missouri - Kansas City
  • Columbia University
  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Indiana University
  • Nova Southeastern University

What Are the Admissions Requirements?

Admissions prerequisites include completion of a bachelor's program, as well as undergraduate coursework in human anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, mathematics, statistics and English. Submission of Medical College Admission Test scores is also required; some programs accept Graduate Record Examination scores. In addition, you'll need to spend at least eight hours observing a licensed anesthesiologist. Some schools require a minimum undergraduate GPA, usually at least 3.0.

What Will I Study?

In an anesthesia master's program, you'll study anesthetic delivery systems, emergency airway management techniques, intravenous fluid control and ethics in anesthesiology. Other required courses can include:

  • Pharmacology for anesthesiologists
  • Patient monitoring techniques
  • Principles of anesthesiology
  • Professionalism for anesthesia assistants

Lectures and clinical experiences take place during the day, as well as on nights and weekends; a few courses may be available online. After earning your degree, you can take the certification exam offered by the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA).

What Do Anesthesia Assistants Do?

Prior to the delivery of anesthesia, assistants document patients' health histories, conduct brief physical exams, connect intravenous equipment and secure oxygen masks or other airway management devices. Assistants also monitor the level of anesthetic in patients' bodies during and after operations.

It's important to note that only 17 states recognize the practice of anesthesiology assistants. In other states, anesthesiologists - with or without the help of nurses - are required to administer anesthesia. The federal government accepts anesthesiology assistants for health programs in the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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