What is an Anesthesiologist Assistant (CAA)?
Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants (CAAs) are highly skilled health professionals who work under the direction of licensed anesthesiologists to implement anesthesia care plans. CAAs work exclusively within the anesthesia care team environment as described by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). All CAAs possess a premedical background, a baccalaureate degree, and also complete a comprehensive didactic and clinical program at the graduate school level. CAAs are trained extensively in the delivery and maintenance of quality anesthesia care as well as advanced patient monitoring techniques. The goal of CAA education is to guide the transformation of qualified student applicants into competent advanced practice providers (APPs) who aspire to practice in the anesthesia care team.
Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants and certified registered nurse anesthetists are both defined as "non-physician anesthetists" within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services section of the Code of Federal Regulations.
What are the differences between CAAs and Physician Assistants?
Although CAAs and physician assistants (PAs) both function as physician extenders, they do not perform the same functions. Each has its own separate educational curriculum, standards for accreditation, and its own agency for certification. PAs receive a generalist education and may practice in many different fields under the supervision of a physician who is qualified and credentialed in that field.
An AA may not practice outside of the field of anesthesia or apart from the supervision of an anesthesiologist. A CAA may not practice as a physician's assistant unless the CAA has also completed a PA training program and passed the National Commission for the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) exam.
Likewise a PA may not identify him- or herself as a CAA unless he or she has completed an accredited AA program and passed the National Commission for the Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA) exam. If also certified as a CAA, such a dual-credentialed PA would be required to practice as an anesthetist only as an advanced practice provider (APP) for an anesthesiologist and could not provide anesthesia care at the direction of a physician of any other specialty.
What are the differences between Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and CAAs?
Although both are considered to be equivalent clinical non-physician anesthesia providers and may serve as advanced practice provider (APP) in the delivery of anesthesia, CAAs and CRNAs are very different with regard to their educational background, training pathway and certification process.
Where do CAAs work?
Anesthesiologist assistants generally work in the hospital setting but can work at any location such as pain clinics, dental offices, and outpatient surgical centers.
DIY Student Planning Guide (Coming Soon)
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Planning Guide & Self Assessment document provides important resources for UT Austin students planning on applying to Anesthesiologist Assistant programs.
How to get started...
- Subscribe to the HPOinfo emails.
- Meet with a pre-health professions coach in the Health Professions Office to explore health professions and to discuss your goals and preparation, especially how to make the most out of your first two years.
- Take an average to heavy course load: 14–16 hours is considered a normal health professions course load. It is okay to take 12–13 hours your first semester at UT Austin.
- Get to know your professors. You will need faculty evaluations when you apply.
- Declare a major by your second year on campus.
- Non-College of Natural Sciences students are highly encouraged to add the Pre-Health Professions Certificate. Learn more about the certificate here.
- Get involved in extracurricular activities (e.g., student organizations, volunteering and shadowing in medical settings; community service).
- Attend the Health Professions Fair each year, generally held in February or March, to visit with representatives from health professions programs.
- Keep viable career alternatives open.
- Coming Soon
Longhorn Acceptance Statistics Entry Year
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