What Is the Employment Outlook for Anesthesiologists?

Anesthesiologists are physicians who specialize in providing pain relief for patients, and they usually work in hospital or surgical outpatient settings. Data on anesthesiology employment trends is scarce, but the job outlook for physicians in general is expected to be good, especially for doctors willing to work in low-income settings and rural communities. Read on to learn more about this career's employment outlook. Schools offering Anesthesia Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Growth Overview

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not track employment trends for medical specialties like anesthesiology, employment for surgeons and physicians is expected to trend upward by approximately 18% from 2012 to 2022 (www.bls.gov). This growth is faster than average and is expected to result in an increase of 123,300 jobs by 2022.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Required Education Bachelor's degree, four years of medical school, and 3-8 years in a residency program
Similar Occupations Surgeon, Internist, Family Physician
Key Skills Dexterity, patience, leadership, and communication skills
Licensure The United States Medical Licensing Examination is required, other licensure depends on your state

Factors of Growth

The BLS attributes this positive career outlook to healthcare industry expansion and increased demands for medical services from the United States' aging population. In addition, demand for these professionals might increase as more people get health insurance. The most demand is expected to be in low-income and rural areas.

However, the demand for additional physicians could be reduced due to new technologies that reduce treatment time and enable facilities to employ fewer physicians. In addition, some facilities can save costs by using nurse practitioners and physician assistants, so this might reduce some job growth for physicians. Another factor that could hinder growth is changes in health coverage. Out-of-pocket costs may be high for some patients, which could keep them from getting services.

Average Salaries

According to the BLS, the mean annual salary for an anesthesiologist was $246,320 in May 2014. However, the bottom-paid 10% of workers made $151,450 or less per year. Physicians' offices paid an average wage of $256,230, which was the highest average wage of any industry. General medical and surgical hospitals paid an average wage of $191,170 in May 2014, while specialty hospitals paid an average of $190,570. Other average wages included $242,150 for outpatient care centers, and $215,930 for the offices of other health practitioners. Colleges, universities and professional schools paid a much lower average wage of $134,400.

The BLS also reported that average wages varied by geographical location in May 2014, as exemplified below:

  • Alabama: $258,760
  • Ohio: $245,690
  • Washington: $258,190
  • South Carolina: $227,540
  • New York: $234,130

Job Duties

Most anesthesiologists work in hospitals or surgical outpatient clinics. They are usually in charge of providing pre- and post-operative pain management, as well as local or general anesthesia during surgery. Some work for research institutions where they study ways to improve care for anesthesia recipients and manage pain. Some specific job duties for these professionals include the following:

  • Monitoring patients' vital statistics during surgery
  • Providing pain management for expectant mothers during labor
  • Assessing the risks of anesthesia for specific patients

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  • American University

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