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Careers: Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant (CAA) or Medical Doctor of Anesthesiology

Careers: CAA or MD

With the many different pathways into the medical health field, it can be difficult to find the right one for you. Anesthesiology is a vital part of medical care. A career in anesthesiology means helping people to heal in the most painless way possible. Students still have the choice to become a certified anesthesiologist assistant or a medical doctor of anesthesiology. We will explore the paths into each career below so that you can make an informed choice.

Inforgraphic depicting the different paths of CAAs vs MD

Is the image not showing up? Use the table transcription below:

What it takes to become a Certified Anesthesiologist AssistantWhat it takes to become a Medical Doctor of Anesthesiology
Bachelor’s Degree Bachelor’s Degree
Pre-Medical Prerequisites Pre-Medical Prerequisites

Shadowing Experience Preferred (16 hours with a CAA)

Clinical Experience & Extra-Curricular Experience

Solid GPA and Solid MCAT Score

High GPA and High MCAT Score

MCAT Score of 493 on the new test or 20 on the old MCAT Score of 507 on the new test or 30 on the old
Six total years in school Twelve total years in school
Costs $117,000 to complete your education (You're in the workforce paying it off after 2 years.) Costs $207,000 and up

More on Becoming a Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant

CAAs need to obtain a state license if applicable in the state where they will practice. After obtaining your Master's Degree and passing the national certification exam, you're ready to work. The CWRU CAA curriculum is rigorous and comprehensive. It will prepare you for practicing anesthesia in whatever setting you choose.

More on Becoming a Medical Doctor of Anesthesiology

To become an anesthesiologist you must complete four years of intense study in medical school followed by four years of training (1 year internship + 3 years residency). Many medical students have student loans accruing interest while they study and complete the necessary residency program. This is in addition to four years of undergraduate study. Doctors are board certified nationally and must also obtain a state license to be able to practice.


Every student has different educational goals. Many of our students realized that they wanted to become a CAA after shadowing one. If you would like to see first-hand what it is like to be a CAA, call any of our program locations to schedule a shadowing experience. You may find that this is the exact path that you want to journey down.



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