Anesthesiologist vs. an Anesthesiologist Assistant

If you are looking for a challenging, rewarding career in the medical profession, then you may want to choose anesthesiology as a specialty. Depending on your skills and aptitudes, becoming an anesthesia assistant may be a better option than becoming an anesthesiologist. At the very least, you should consider some basic information about each career in order to determine which one is best for you.

Required Education and Credentials

As with any other kind of doctor that receives an MD or DO license, a prospective anesthesiologist will have to complete four years of undergraduate work followed by four years of medical school. From there, you will be expected to complete your residency training, as well as sit for your licensing exam. If you are planning to practice in a state different from where you attended medical school, you may have to sit for additional exams, as well as fulfill other requirements before you can practice.

If you are interested in becoming an anesthesiologist assistant, you will still need to complete four years of undergraduate work. After that, you will only have to complete an additional two years in order to receive a master’s degree. Once you complete your college work, you will still need to complete residency training as well as pass your state boards and other certifying exams.

A Comparison of Duties

Typically, an anesthesiologist will work in a hospital or outpatient setting. This type of physician is responsible for making sure that:

An anesthesiologist assistant must always work under the guidance of an anesthesiologist. Typically an assistant will perform the following tasks:

Salary Differences

A fully licensed anesthesiologist, on average, will make over $350,000 per year. By contrast, an anesthesiologist assistant may earn anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000 per year. Earnings will vary depending on the wealth levels in the community, insurance reimbursement rates, and the overall needs of patients in the community. Individuals that choose to work for a salary as opposed to billing on a patient-by-patient basis may also notice a significant variance in earnings within the same region.

Even though anesthesiologists and their assistants form a carefully orchestrated team, there are a number of differences in each career type. If you are interested in either of these careers, it may be to your advantage to see which degree programs are available in your area, as well as determine which ones you have the best chance of being accepted into. As may be expected, if you do not have the grades to get into medical school, being an anesthesiologist assistant can satisfy your desire to work in a medical setting as well as offer you a rewarding career.