AAs are not similar at all and neither is their education. The only way that their education is seen as similar is in the way the ASA takes abridged and often fabricated view of CRNA training. The only place CRNAs and AAs are similar is in restrictive ACT practices. AAs were created supposably d/t not having enough overall anesthesia providers at that time.
“2. What is the origin of the Anesthesiologist Assistant profession?
In the 1960s, three anesthesiologists, Joachim S. Gravenstein, John E. Steinhaus, and Perry P. Volpitto, were concerned with the shortage of anesthesiologists in the country. These academic department chairs analyzed the spectrum of tasks required during anesthesia care. The tasks were individually evaluated based on the level of professional responsibility, required education and necessary technical skill. The result of this anesthesia workforce analysis was to introduce the concept of team care and to define a new mid-level anesthesia practitioner linked to a supervising anesthesiologist. This new professional - the Anesthesiologist Assistant or AA - had the potential to at least partially alleviate the shortage of anesthesiologists.”
The true purpose of AAs, at least in recent history, is to have an anesthesia provider that is completely controlled by physician anesthesiologists allowing physicians to completely control the anesthesia market. It’s not about patient safety or increases access to care it’s about money and physician egos.