Updated February 21, 2023
The anesthesia care team is made up of anesthesiologists, residents, and non-physician anesthesia providers, including anesthetists and nurse anesthetists. The team may also rely on professionals such as anesthesia techs or other specialists. For students with a premedical background who are interested in anesthesia, the two positions they are most likely to consider as future careers are anesthetists and anesthesiologists.
These two career paths both have their advantages, and students considering applying to either a Master of Science in Anesthesia program or medical school should weigh their options carefully. To help you deliberate, we’ve outlined some of the key differences between the two paths in the following table.
Comparing Career Paths
|Master of Science in Anesthesia Program||Medical School|
|Education||Bachelor’s degree with premedical prerequisites||Bachelor’s degree with premedical prerequisites|
|Additional Experience||16 hours shadowing a CAA preferred||Clinical experience and extracurricular experience required|
|Average GPA for Matriculants||3.65||3.74|
|Average MCAT Score||502||511.9|
|Average GRE Scores||Verbal Reasoning: 156
Quantitative Reasoning: 156
Analytical Writing: 4.4
|Medical Training||Six total years
||Twelve total years
|Cost to Complete Post-Graduate Education or Training||$136,008||$250,000 or more|
All anesthetists must pass the national certification exam at the end of their master’s program in order to be eligible to work. Requirements for additional certification are dependent on the state in which they choose to practice, and some anesthetists may be required to obtain a state license.
Anesthesiologists must be board certified nationally and obtain a state license to practice.
Take the Next Step
If you are considering pursuing a career in anesthesia and want to work as a key member of the anesthesia care team, weigh your options carefully and determine which path is most suitable for meeting your goals.
We encourage you to take time to shadow in an operating room. Shadowing offers an unparalleled opportunity to observe and will provide key insights into the anesthesia care team model. The experience can further your understanding of the team dynamic, and help you to decide where you might fit as a member of the team.