What does an Anesthesiologist do?
Anesthesiologists are well-trained professionals who are dedicated to pain relief and the immediate care of patients undergoing surgery or other invasive medical procedures. These physician specialists monitor breathing, heart rate, body temperature and other critical body functions while a patient is unconscious on the operating table. They also work in obstetrics, intensive and emergency care, post-surgical recovery rooms or in consultation with other doctors in creating long-term care for patients suffering from chronic pain.
Because patients are especially vulnerable during surgery, the anesthesiologist works in a stressful, matter-of-life-or-death environment. Consequently, anesthesiologists receive extensive medical training beyond traditional medical school preparation.
Educational requirements for anesthesiologists
Anesthesiologists begin training as undergraduates, taking a bachelor's degree in pre-med studies or majoring in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, mathematics and physics. Based on undergraduate grades, letters of recommendation and passage of the Medical College Admission Test, students compete for entry into medical school.
The four-year M.D. program includes studies in anatomy, biochemistry, medical law and ethics, microbiology, physiology, pharmacology, psychology and pathology. The last years include supervised clinical practice in acute, chronic, rehabilitative, and preventive care. Following graduation, they spend a year-long internship along with as many as seven years of residency before completing full preparation. You can also receive certification in a specialty:
Certification is voluntary among anesthesiologists and is administered by The American Board of Anesthesiology to physicians who complete an accredited program of anesthesiology training.
- Pain management
- Critical care medicine
- Hospice & palliative medicine
- Sleep medicine
Job outlook and earnings for anesthesiologists
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for anesthesiologists are expected to increase by 22 percent. Openings should be especially good for physicians who choose to work in rural or underserved low-income communities in the nation. Specializations in serving the ever-increasing elderly population will also be in strong demand.
Earnings vary by type of practice, geographic location, skill, experience, specialization, increased education or research and by professional credentials (publishing and reputation). Most anesthesiologists worked in physician's offices, medical and surgical hospitals, outpatient care centers, specialty hospitals, research centers, colleges and universities. States with the highest employment of anesthesiologists include California, Texas, New York, Illinois and Florida. Top-paying states include Wyoming, Tennessee, Oregon, New Jersey and New Hampshire.
Anesthesiology is a demanding profession. Practitioners are dedicated and hard-working. That's why patient safety has increased and complications from anesthesia have declined dramatically over the last 50 years. Are you ready to take on the responsibility?
The following colleges can help you earn the necessary educational requirements to become an Anesthesiologist: