Most AA programs require that applicants take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE consists of three sections: Quantitative, Verbal, and Essay section. Although you do not need any specific course before taking the exam, you should expect to study for at least a couple of months in advance.
Please visit the GRE website for more information, registration dates, and study guides.
Letters of Recommendation
Most programs require a minimum of three letters of recommendation or reference forms from faculty, advisors, school administrators, employers, or others who can speak to your academic ability and personal character as they relate to your pursuit of the Anesthesia Assistant profession. Most programs will require that references be uploaded directly to CASAA. Again, check with programs for individual requirements.
Should I waive my right to view my letters of recommendation?
Yes. Letters that can be viewed by the student do not carry the same weight as those kept confidential.
Shadowing & Volunteering
Anesthesiology Assistant programs typically require applicants have experience observing or shadowing AAs (or, at the very least, another licensed healthcare professional) in action. Most programs require >100 hours of shadowing, especially in the field of anesthesia. The specific requirements and recommendations for each AA program can be found on their website.
Anesthesiology Assistant programs are also looking for students who demonstrate clear evidence of compassion, enjoy working with people and are dedicated to serving their community. Volunteering can be done in a clinical setting such as a hospital or hospice, but it can also be done with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Humane Society, or anything other organization (on-campus or off-campus) that the student is passionate about. Admissions committees appreciate students that show depth of commitment and substantial involvement and leadership in the community.
If attempting to volunteer at a local hospital or clinic (e.g., Piedmont Athens Regional or St. Mary's Hospital), it is important to be mindful of deadlines and requirements. Most hospitals and clinics have a specific time-window each year that they accept and train potential volunteers. Further, most require volunteers to pass background checks and have up-to-date immunizations and tuberculosis testing. It is your responsibility to research deadlines and requirements when seeking out volunteer opportunities.