Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology with a Concentration in Health Sciences
The pre-anesthesiology assistant program at Marian University is an undergraduate track that prepares you to be a competitive candidate for admission to an anesthesiology assistant (AA) master's degree program after graduation.
Certified anesthesiologist assistants, or CAAs, are healthcare professionals who work under the direction of a licensed anesthesiologist and serve as a member of a surgical team.
While the path to becoming an AA is academically rigorous and typically takes about two years, the rewards are worthwhile:
- You will earn a lucrative salary that is generally in the same pay range as that earned by nurse anesthetists, who averaged $111,000 annually in 2017 according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- In addition, you can help make a positive impact on healthcare outcomes for patients of all ages and improve their quality of life.
Why choose the pre-anesthesiology assistant track at Marian?
Our pre-anesthesiology program takes the guesswork out of preparing for admission to the AA program of your choice.
According to the American Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants, there are 12 accredited AA programs across the nation. One of them is located in Indianapolis at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
Some universities weigh their admission decisions on certain areas of your application and your academic preparation more heavily than others. These strengths, listed in decreasing order of importance, are among those typically ranked more highly than others.
1. Completion of prerequisite coursework
- The majority of AA programs will not accept students who have not completed required prerequisite courses.
- You will complete all AA prerequisite coursework by the end of your junior year at Marian, which is when you'll begin applying to AA programs.
2. Grade point average (GPA)
- A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.4 is considered competitive for most AA programs.
- Our curriculum is specifically sequenced to gradually challenge you at increasing levels of difficulty. Faculty and peer tutors will support and help you learn the knowledge and skills required to master your coursework.
- Marian's program will prepare you to successfully complete and score well on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), which is required for admission to most AA programs. Our curriculum, combined with carefully selected general education requirements, maximizes your exposure to content, problem-solving, and critical analysis covered on the MCAT.
3. Letters of recommendation
- As a student in the Department of Biology at Marian University, you will work closely with teaching and research faculty, building the personal relationships needed for strong letters of recommendation for admission to the AA program of your choice.
- Working closely with anesthesiologists through volunteering and internship opportunities available at Marian, you can complete the required clinical shadowing hours required for admission. In addition, you can draw from that experience to seek letters of recommendation from practicing anesthesiology team members in clinical settings to submit with your admission application.
4. Clinical experience
- By embedding research into your freshmen and sophomore years, you will have more time to volunteer, intern, and/or work in clinical settings with anesthesiologist teams during your junior and senior years.
- It is important to research the clinical prerequisites for admission to your desired AA program(s) and plan accordingly. The clinical shadowing experience required for admission to many programs is approximately eight (8) hours.
5. Research experience
- While research is not required for admission to AA programs, due to a growing emphasis on evidence-based healthcare having research experience can work in your favor if a school is deciding between borderline candidates or multiple candidates for the same spot in their next class.
- Marian's "Research Across the Curriculum" model embeds an authentic scientific research experience within our undergraduate core curriculum, enabling you to become familiar with the scientific process, develop the ability to critically read scientific and medical research and contribute in a meaningful way to evidence-based health sciences.
What will you study?
Pre- anesthesiology assistant four-year plan (pdf) Pre-anesthesiology assistant checklist (pdf)
Many of Marian University students gain clinical experience by working in intensive care, trauma, emergency room, and other units at local hospitals. For more information, talk with one of our faculty advisors and staff at The Exchange.