Anesthesiologist assistants who are certified in programs like Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) or Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) earn considerably more.
Anesthesiologist assistants (AA) work with anesthesiologists, and help them in developing and executing the anesthesia treatment plan during a surgical procedure. They assist anesthesiologists and perform different medical procedures before, during, and after a surgery. They use various medicines, IVs, and gases, or a combination of these to put patients to sleep before surgical procedures. Their average salary is in six figures, which makes this job a lucrative career option. An attractive pay package makes it one of the highest-paying physician assistant jobs. Moreover, the satisfaction of helping patients is immeasurable. People interested in healthcare and pharmacology should look at this as a viable career option.
To become an anesthesiologist assistant you need to complete a training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program (CAAHEP). In the growing healthcare industry, outpatient surgery is on the rise. The American Medical Association (AMA) predicts that the job opportunities in this profession are expected to grow rapidly. Although AAs are licensed to function as part of the surgical anesthesia team in only seventeen states, some more states are expected to pass legislation to permit the use of anesthesiologist assistants. So, the requirement for AAs is on the rise.
According to Indeed, an anesthesiologist assistant working in New York city receives an annual salary of $210,000, while the one working in Dallas receives $157,000 per annum. The average annual salary of an AA working in Atlanta is $193,000. It is around $208,000 in San Francisco.➺
According to the job portal Simply Hired, in the US, the average annual salary of an anesthesiologist assistant is $91,000, as of June 2015.➺
Around 10 percent of anesthesiologist assistants are known to earn anywhere between $160,000 to $180,000.➺
People working in metropolitan areas earn more salary than those working in rural settings. The type of organization one works for also plays a major role in the salary. And there is a big difference in the salary of a fresh graduate and that of an experienced candidate. The average salary range for fresh graduates in many areas is $100,000 - $120,000 for a 40-hour week.
To be eligible for an AA program, students must have a 4-year Bachelor's Degree, preferably with a major in chemistry or biology. The program lasts for 2 years.➺
To enroll in an AA program, you need to have a high GRE or MCAT score. You are expected to complete the premedical coursework too.➺
The program typically focuses on the study of anatomy, physiology, and anesthesia. The course material includes extensive pharmacology and biology topics related to anesthetics and their effects on human cells and tissues. The course is quite extensive, and students are given practical training under clinical settings as well.➺
After acquiring a bachelor's degree, one can earn the required professional certification by giving an exam administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), contracted by the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistant (NCCAA).➺
To maintain the certification, anesthesiologist assistants need to register for 40 hours of Continuing Medical Education (CME) every two years, and successfully complete a Continued Demonstration of Qualifications (CDQ) examination every six years.➺
Not only the educational qualification but the ability to work under stressful situations, manual dexterity, and critical thinking skills are also essential if you want to become an anesthesiologist assistant.
As mentioned, the assistant helps an anesthesiologist to carry out the anesthesia treatment plan. The job description includes the following:➺
Performing preoperative tasks like taking the medical history of patients before administering anesthesia, testing and adjusting anesthesia delivery systems and monitors as per need, etc.➺
Assisting the anesthesiologist in inducing, sustaining, and adjusting anesthesia, and monitoring the vital signs of patients like breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, etc., when they are under the effect of anesthesia.➺
They also play a major role in pain management after the completion of a surgical procedure, and help patients to overcome any discomfort during the recovery process.➺
Like most medical assistants they also perform diagnostic tests and follow-up exams to check the physical condition of patients.
The salary is comparable with the salary of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). According to the Bureau of Labor Services (BLS), the job opportunities in this profession are quite good because of the steady growth of the healthcare industry.