Anesthesiology is a field of medicine that involves relieving pain before, during, and after surgery. Anesthesiology has many specialties within it. If you aim to work in the medical field of anesthesiology, here are three careers you can pursue.
An anesthesiologist is a doctor (DO or MD) who specializes in anesthesiology. But before becoming a licensed anesthesiologist, you will have to:
- Attend four years of undergraduate studies
- Spend four years in medical school
- Spend four years in residency after medical school
Hence, it takes an average of 12-14 years for a person to become a professional anesthesiologist.
The duties of an anesthesiologist include:
- Administering anesthesia before, during, and after surgical procedures
- Monitoring the patients' vital signs while they are under anesthesia or sedation
- Approving the type of anesthesia before a surgical procedure
- Supervising assistant anesthetists during surgical procedures
Anesthesiologist Assistants (AAs)
AAs work under the direct supervision of a licensed anesthesiologist. But to become a certified anesthesiologist assistant, you should have a bachelor's degree (not necessarily in a medical field). Furthermore, you have to attend a master's level anesthesiologist assistant program. An anesthesiologist's assistant program usually takes about two years.
But before enrolling in the program, you must pass a Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) or Graduate Requisite Exam (GRE).
The duties of anesthesiologist assistants vary in different states. But in most cases, they perform the same tasks as an anesthesiologist. However, a physician anesthesiologist directs and supervises every action AAs take during procedures.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists prevents AAs from working outside of an anesthesiology team and working without the direct supervision of a licensed anesthesiologist.
Anesthesia Technicians (AT)
Anesthesia technicians are responsible for operating the anesthesia equipment during surgeries. ATs are neither doctors nor nurses. Instead, they assist physician anesthesiologists by operating the anesthesia equipment during medical procedures.
Extra duties of an AT may include, but are not limited to:
- Cleaning and servicing the anesthesia equipment
- Assembling, calibrating, and testing the equipment
- Troubleshooting and repairing the equipment
- Keeping the maintenance record of the equipment
You need a high school diploma or a GED to qualify for an Accredited Associate Anesthesia Technician degree program. After completing the two-year associate degree program, a student can apply to sit for the Anesthesia Technician Exam.
When you pass the Anesthesia Technician Exam, you earn the title of Certified Anesthesia Technician. But, after some time and further studies, you can upgrade your title to Anesthesia Technologist. An anesthesia technologist is more experienced and senior than an anesthesia technician. Thus, the only difference between the two is rank and experience.
If you're looking to have a general anesthesiologist career, look for a college with the programs to get you there.