Anesthesiology Degree Programs and Courses

An anesthesiology career involves extensive physician training and a focus on direct patient care. Find out about the education requirements as well as licensure information. Schools offering Anesthesia Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need To Know

Anesthesiology is a medical science that requires significant schooling before you can practice it. The advantage is that this career is in an area that is expected to grow and the salary is high.

Schools Stanford University, Temple University, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education
Salary (July 2017) $265,990 (mean annual salary for anesthesiologists)
Outlook 13% for all physicians and surgeons (2016-2026)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Payscale, Stanford University, Temple University, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education

What Is Anesthesiology?

Anesthesiology is the medical science involved in relieving pain or discomfort of a surgical patient. Anesthesiologists are medical doctors who care for patients before, during and after a surgical or medical procedure. They typically administer medications to a person while in a hospital, monitor a person's vital signs and ensure that equipment is working. Before dispensing analgesic medication, anesthesiologists perform a preoperative evaluation to assess the patient's medical history and determine whether another pain management method is more suitable.

What Education and Credentials Do I Need?

Since anesthesiologists are a type of physician, your academic route begins with enrolling in a 4-year undergraduate program to earn a bachelor's degree with pre-med coursework. With a bachelor's degree, you can apply to medical school to work toward a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.), a requirement for all physicians, including anesthesiologists. Medical school for either degree takes another four years to finish and must be an accredited program.

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accredits M.D. programs, and the American Osteopathic Association accredits D.O. programs. Beyond medical school, you'll complete an anesthesiology residency, which typically lasts 3-4 years. Certification through the American Board of Anesthesiology is available voluntarily.

What About Licensing Requirements?

In addition to formal medical education, all states require anesthesiologists to be licensed to practice medicine. To do this, you'll take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination via the National Board of Medical Examiners. You should contact your state's board of medicine to see if there are other licensing requirements.

What Courses Are Commonly Taken?

To cultivate technical skills in health management and understanding of human health, courses taken throughout your undergraduate career may focus on topics like physiology and chemistry. Medical school furthers this knowledge of biology and physiology and also examines the following areas:

  • Anatomy
  • Human biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical ethics
  • Brain and behavior
  • Problem solving
  • Immunology
  • Genetics

What Online Options Do I Have?

There are online classes that help you prepare for many exams needed in certification, such as training programs for the United States Medical Licensing Examination. However, medical school or residency programs are not available online because they require a hands-on learning experience with patients, medical equipment and training. The undergraduate study required to enter medical school may provide opportunities for you to take some distance education courses, but the pre-med curriculum required to enter medical school includes hands-on science lab components that are difficult to find in a fully online program.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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