Anesthesia Specialists

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Topic Overview

Anesthesia specialists are responsible for making informed medical decisions about your care. They provide comfort and maintain vital life functions while you are getting anesthesia and are in recovery.

They include anesthesiologists and qualified nurse or dental anesthetists.


Anesthesiologists are medical doctors. They have medical degrees and have completed internships. Then they get 3 more years of specialized training in an accredited anesthesiology residency program. They are certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology. As doctors, they have a wide range of knowledge about medicines and care for diseases. They know how the human body works and how it responds to the stress of surgery.


Most anesthetists are nurses. They have graduated from an accredited nurse anesthetist program. Most have been certified by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). They are advanced practice nurses with special skills in administering anesthesia. Some of them are supervised by an anesthesiologist or a surgeon. But law and practice may vary by state.

Anesthesiologist assistant

Anesthesiologist assistants (AAs) graduate with a masters degree. They are certified by the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA). They have special knowledge of anesthesia drugs and techniques. AAs are supervised by an anesthesiologist. They can administer anesthesia.

Anesthesia SpecialistsSkip to the navigation

Anesthesia SpecialistsSkip to the navigation


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer John M. Freedman, MD - Anesthesiology

Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014

Current as of: September 9, 2014