Pediatric Anesthesiologist: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a pediatric anesthesiologist. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and training to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Anesthesia Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Pediatric Anesthesiologist?

Pediatric anesthesiologists are anesthesiologists who specialize in the treatment of infants, children and adolescents. They work with patients before, during and after surgery in order to ensure safe and effective anesthesia administration. For instance, before the procedure, they often consult with the child and the parents about medical history and current health conditions, in order to figure out how much anesthesia will be needed for the procedure. They may also offer counseling and answer questions to ease the anxiety of patients and families. During the medical procedure itself, pediatric anesthesiologists closely monitor the patient's response to the anesthesia and adjust the dosage if necessary. Afterward, they provide any necessary post-operative care. Jobs for pediatric anesthesiologists are commonly available at both general hospitals and specialized children's hospitals.

The following chart gives you an overview of a career as a pediatric anesthesiologist.

Degree Required Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.)
Training Required 1-year internship, 3- to 4-year residency, followed by 1-year fellowship in pediatric anesthesiology
Key Responsibilities Administer proper anesthesia for each patient during surgical or medical procedures; monitor patient status during procedure and ensure no adverse response; record dosage and type of medication used in patient records; determine and administer pain-management medication
Licensure and/or Certification All states require doctors to be licensed; board certification in anesthesiology is available
Job Growth (2014-2024) 14% for all physicians and surgeons*
Median Salary (2016) $269,427 for all anesthesiologists**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

What Would Be My Primary Duties as a Pediatric Anesthesiologist?

As a pediatric anesthesiologist, you manage patient pain before and after surgery. You also monitor a patient's vital signs, such as heart rate and body temperature, during surgical procedures. Your patients are young, ranging from newborns to teenagers. You may perform your job duties in the operating room or outside the room for patients having procedures that require sedation or low levels of anesthesia, such as MRI scans or bone marrow biopsies.

What Type of Education Do I Need?

To become a pediatric anesthesiologist, you need a medical degree. To attend medical school, you first complete a bachelor's degree program, usually in a scientific field such as biology, or in pre-medicine.

Medical school consists of four years of study, but some schools offer joint undergraduate and medical school programs that allow you to earn both degrees in six or seven years rather than eight. The first two years of study consist of lectures and the last two of supervised patient care in the form of hospital rotations, called clerkships. Some medical school programs offer pediatric anesthesiology clerkships, giving you the chance to work in your field of interest.

Usually, after completing medical school, you complete a residency in the field of medicine in which you are interested. Residencies can last 3-8 years, depending on the specialty. Residencies are considered further graduate education and are required to become a licensed physician.

Do I Need Any Specialized Training or Licensure?

To become a physician in the United States, you must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). To be eligible to take the exam, you must graduate from medical school and have completed clerkships and a residency.

Although aside from being a licensed physician there is no specialized training required to become a pediatric anesthesiologist, you may consider completing a fellowship in the specialization. Fellowships typically follow residencies and are research focused. You may also obtain certification from the American Board of Anesthesiologists (ABA) in pediatric anesthesiology. Certification often requires completing additional residencies, passing an exam and having good peer evaluations.

How Much Could I Earn?

According to Payscale.com, as of October 2016, anesthesiologists earned a median salary of $269,427 per year. Your salary may be higher if you are certified by the American Board of Medical Specialists or ABA.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Doctors who want to work with children may also consider careers as pediatricians. To pursue this career, they enroll in a pediatrics residency after finishing their medical degree, rather than an anesthesiologist residency. For doctors who are particularly interested in anesthesia administration, there are other specialization options to choose from, including critical care medicine, pain medicine and cardiothoracic anesthesiology; getting a job in one of these subspecialties requires anesthesiologists to complete one-year fellowship in that field after completing their residency. Alternatively, it is possible to get a job as a nurse anesthetist (CRNA). Like anesthesiologists, these advanced practice nurses can also administer anesthesia during medical procedures. This job requires a master's degree in nursing and state licensure.

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