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Anesthesiology Assistant: Opinions

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Jessie61195

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Hello everyone!

This is my first post, so please be lenient on me, although I have been lurking on SDN for the past three years now.

Anyway, after switching majors countless times (biotechnology, accounting, computer science, economics, etc.) and shadowing pretty much every health professional out there, I have finally decided to pursue Anesthesiology Assistant school.

Now, I am very knowledgeable on the program itself. I have shadowed extensively, consulted with the admissions staff at several of the schools, and researched everything I can about the program. I have the pre-requisites completed and am scheduled to take the GRE this upcoming summer. With that being said, I find it rather difficult to find a substantial amount of information about this relatively new (20+ years) field.

Anything any of you can tell me? I want the most realistic view on the field and want to consider all options. Several schools boast 100% job placement; how accurate do you think this is? I know I will have to confine myself to particular states, but I shouldn't struggle to find a job? Any advice?

Thank you all for your time and help! This site has educated me more than any adviser, and I have no idea where I would be today (potentially in pharmacy school without a clue of the realities of the profession) if not for all of the helpful information I found on here.
 

Mad Jack

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The pay is lower than CRNAs, typically, because you can't take independent call care of working under an anesthesiologist. Your state selection is limited. The job itself is basically the same as a CRNA. Really isn't much more to say than that. I've never heard of an AA going unemployed, but they typically get employed through their clinical rotation sites or connections post graduation, so you won't find much on AA jobs out there. Gaswork has a few listed at any given time, but they're far from the only jobs out there:

http://www.gaswork.com/search/Anesthesiologist-Assistants/Job/All
 
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Jessie61195

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Thank you! I appreciate your honest response. I have been alternating between becoming an AA or a pharmacist (genuine interest in pharmacology), but the pharmacy threads are so disheartening, and AA sounds like the best option overall.
 

Makati2008

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Thank you! I appreciate your honest response. I have been alternating between becoming an AA or a pharmacist (genuine interest in pharmacology), but the pharmacy threads are so disheartening, and AA sounds like the best option overall.

Although I disagree with CRNA independence, I would recommend that route. I only say that due to AA not being recognized in all states(unless something has changed since I considered that route).


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jwk

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Kinda depends on where you want to be when you finish. If you like living in a state that already has AA's, you're in good shape. Three are several hundred AA's in Florida, and even though there are a ton of anesthesia schools in Florida, demand at the moment, for some reason, is pretty good. Job placement profession-wide approaches 100%, although like with anything else it may not be your first choice employer. Most AA jobs are found through networking and word of mouth. My group never advertises but we will hire 20 AA's/CRNA's this hiring season.
 

pamac

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I looked hard at AA at one point, but was concerned about several things that mostly revolved around personal circumstances. They don't practice in states I want to be in, and I'm not interested in having to hopscotch states to find work if I want to relocate. It's a very small profession in a field dominated by CRNAs, and that seems risky to me. They usually command similar salary as CRNAs, so I don't feel like there is a compelling cost driver for them to be preferred over CRNAs. I feel like it's going to be an uphill battle for them to expand scope into other states, especially if healthcare costs tighten. The situation of the perfusion career seems similar to AA to me in some ways. But mostly I wasn't interested in investing myself in a field that wasn't established as rock solid universally. I'm sure they are good at what they do, but it would be like signing on to be a PA or NP in the early days of the fields, and having to navigate through all the growing pains and uncertainties. It's too big of an investment to leave it to chance. I want to maximize my freedom. But if you live where they can work, and are convinced you will never want to relocate, then it's probably going to serve you well. It might seem daunting to become a CRNA, but realistically, you could attend a year long accelerated BSN, and in short order get into CRNA school (you already have the chem prereqs, so you wouldn't have to spend time on that). I know new grads that got into CRNA school a tear and a half after starting an ICU job. You would make good money along the way there. CRNA school is considerably cheaper on average.

But all of my concerns might be a product of overthinking things. You are on the ground and actually can meet up with AAs and see the landscape as it is where you are, and that will serve you best.
 
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