Anesthesiologist: Education and Career Facts
Learn about the courses and training required to become an anesthesiologist. Find out licensure requirements as well as employment outlook and salary information.
What You Need to Know
Anesthesiologists are trained physicians who administer sedation or anesthesia during surgery. To prepare for this career, you would need to complete medical school and participate in residencies to gain specialized skills in anesthesiology.
|Education||Anesthesiology Internship or Residency, Fellowships in Neuroanesthesiology, Pediatric Anesthesiology or Cardiac Anesthesiology|
|Career Outlook (2019-2029)*||0%, little to no change|
|Salary (May 2019)*||$261,730|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Does an Anesthesiologist Do?
In addition to administering anesthetics, these professionals also meet with patients before and after surgery to determine any side effects and to monitor patients' well-being. Some additional job duties include managing a patient's airway, assessing a patient's condition during surgery and determining when a patient has stabilized.
The type and level of anesthesia administered by these physicians depends on the surgical process. While some patients need general anesthesia, others may only need a regional anesthesia that numbs a certain part of the body. Anesthesiologists can also help patients outside of surgery; for example, they might work with patients who suffer from chronic pain or pain caused by cancer.
What Are the Educational Requirements?
Since an anesthesiologist is a physician performing specialized duties, you will need essentially the same education as a physician. Anesthesiologists must attend medical school after completing a pre-med undergraduate course of study, which should include courses in calculus, physics and organic chemistry, according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists. Once you graduate from a medical school program, you'll need to participate in a residency in anesthesia. Following the residency, you have the option to engage in a fellowship, where you can acquire more in-depth skills and knowledge in the field of anesthesia.
All physicians, including anesthesiologists, are required to be licensed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). You can apply for licensure exams after completing a residency. You'll also be prepared for board certification after your residency. To become board-certified, you'll need to pass a 2-part exam offered by the American Board of Anesthesiology.
What Can I Learn in an Anesthesia Program?
Specialized focus on anesthesia is available after medical school, through residency programs. In these 4-year programs, you can learn about anesthesia methods for critical care, surgery, pediatric and neurosurgical procedures. Clinical studies cover such topics as internal medicine, acute pain, gynecologic anesthesia and regional anesthesia. You can participate in simulation and clinical experiences, in addition to attending seminars and lectures. In fellowship programs, you can get in-depth training on a specific area of anesthesiology. Some common focus areas include:
- Pediatric anesthesia
- Hyperbaric medicine
- Regional pain
- Cardiothoracic anesthesia
What About the Job Outlook and Salary?
As an anesthesiologist, you can work in hospitals, outpatient centers or doctor's offices. The BLS projects that employment for all anesthesiologists is expected to have little to no change from 2019 to 2029. As of May 2019, anesthesiologists earned a mean salary of $261,730.