Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Anesthesia Assistant Post-Diploma

This program prepares graduates to fulfill the role of an Anesthesia Assistant within the Canadian healthcare system. Anesthesia Assistants are specially trained professionals who assist in the delivery of patient care during the perioperative period while working as a member of the Anesthesiologist-led anesthesia care team.

The TRU program was developed to meet the graduate competency requirements identified in the CSRT National Educational Competency Framework for Anesthesia Assistants while in accordance with provincial regulations and incorporating recommendations from the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society.

Program students must reside in Canada and have the designation of registered respiratory therapist (RRT), or registered nurse (RN) with critical care experience.

 Calendar Description

The Anesthesia Assistant Post-Diploma program is designed to provide respiratory therapists or registered nurses who possess critical care experience with the knowledge and critical skills required to fulfill the designated role of an Anesthesia Assistant and perform a wide range of technical clinical duties as defined and approved by the Canadian Anesthesiologist’s Society (CAS).

 Program Requirements

Admission Requirements

  • Proof of professional licensure as an RRT or RN in Canada, or equivalent
  • At least one year of post-graduate clinical experience
  • A letter of sponsorship and commitment from an anesthesia department, which is typically your current place of employment, to deliver the clinical placement; more than one clinical site may be needed to fulfill all competencies required
  • Resumé, detailing your education and clinical care work experience

When applying to this program, include a completed Program Admission Form.

Residency Requirements

A minimum of 9 TRU credits (distance or on-campus)

Required Courses

Placement Exam

ANES 0011, Anesthesia Assistant Placement Exam (0)

This placement exam is required to determine your course of studies. If you pass all subject areas of the exam, you will directly enter and complete the program’s core courses prior to your clinical practicum placement. Otherwise, you must either take the corresponding course that relates to the failed subject area from the exam or else take all four support courses, rather than writing the exam.

Support Course Requirements (12 credits)

HLTH 2573, Arterial Blood Gases (3)
HLTH 2511, Introduction to Pharmacology (3)
RESP 1781, Principles and Applications of Respiratory Therapy Equipment I & II (3)
RESP 2161, Mechanical Ventilation (3)

Core Course Requirements (20 credits)

ANES 4001, Anesthesia Workstations (3)
ANES 4003, Airway Management (3)
ANES 4005, Anesthesia Adjunct Equipment (3)
ANES 4011, Hemodynamic and Physiological Monitoring (3)
ANES 4021, Pharmacology and Principles of Clinical Anesthesia (3)
ANES 4031, Clinical Anesthesia and Special Considerations (3)
ANES 4061, Anesthesia Assistant Professional Practice (1)
ANES 4071, Research Skills for Anesthesia Assistants (1)

Practicum Requirements (9 credits)

Following the successful completion of all support and core courses, you will take the full-time clinical practicum course:

ANES 4101, Clinical Anesthesia (9)

Prior to starting a clinical practicum, you must have:

  • Provided proof of current Emergency Cardiac Care [Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)] certification
  • Written the placement exam to determine whether you need to take support courses
  • Passed all required courses
  • Discussed the requirements of the clinical practicum placement with your Open Learning Faculty Member and the Clinical Preceptor

The length of the program varies, depending upon your previous experience.

Program Completion

As a student in this program, you will be expected to complete this program in less that two years. The maximum time allowed by TRU for completion is three years. You are expected to continue with full- or part-time employment during this study period.

Student Responsibility

TRU provides liability coverage for students on unpaid practicum placements; however, workplace safety insurance varies by province. For personal protection, out-of-province students should check on this coverage in their home province or territory.

In this program, you are responsible for finding your own clinical practicum placement affiliate, such as a hospital, that is willing to undertake the training with you. The affiliate must meet specific requirements before you can begin the practicum. See the Clinical Affiliation page on the TRU-OL website and also speak with the Program Administrator, Science.

Consult with your Program Advisor to ensure that the courses you select are available and appropriate for your program of study and educational goals. Otherwise, you may find that a course does not meet the program requirements and cannot be applied toward that program’s credential.


Please see Tuition and Fees for details.


Contact the Program Administrator, Science to apply to or speak with us about the Anesthesia Assistant Post-Diploma program.

Email Student Services to speak with us about TRU-OL’s other programs and courses.