Career Choice: Anesthesiologists

Career Choice: Anesthesiologists
  • Opening Intro -

    Anesthesiologists are physicians, people that administer anesthetics to patients before or during surgery or for a medical procedure.


They are sometimes known as staff anesthetists, physician anesthesiologists or obstetrical anesthesiologists, professionals that almost always have a doctoral degree.


Anesthesiologists carefully monitor patients before, during and after surgery. These medical doctors may intercede to offset the negative effects or complications of anesthesia. They record the amount and type of anesthesia used and relate that to the patient’s condition during surgery or while undergoing a medical procedure. Anesthesiologists also help prepare patients for emergency surgery, examine the patient, record medical history and may position the patient on the operating table. They work with other physicians and attending medical staff to ensure that the patient is stabilized and has recovered following surgery. Anesthesiologists may also order lab tests, x-rays and other diagnostic procedures.


The path to any medical profession begins in college where prospective anestheologists lay the foundation for their profession. They may major in the medical sciences and take courses in biology, chemistry and physics. They will take a pre-med school route, and may begin working in a doctor’s office, a clinic or other health setting early on in their preparation.

The strongest students will apply to medical school, competing with other prospective doctors for a limited number of seats. Medical school typically lasts at least four years and includes classroom, laboratory and clinical training. Students will also begin to work with patients by taking medical histories, examining patients, and offering their diagnosis. Over the last two years of their schooling, medical students work directly with physicians by completing rotations in various areas of medicine. As part of their final leg of training, anesthesiologists will enter a residency program and will take written and practical examinations before being licensed by their state.


The national median wage for anesthesiologists far exceeds the $187,200 salary threshold that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics sets to track all jobs. Even new anesthesiologists can expect to earn an average salary of $135,100 with experienced professionals making several times that number. Salaries in all states except Nevada and Mississippi equal the national average. In Nevada, the average salary was $175,900 per year as of 2012. In Mississippi, that figure was $160,900 per year.

Job Outlook

The medical profession continues to grow rapidly as America’s population grows and ages. As the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) kicks in, more medical professionals will be needed to handle a fully insured populace. According to the BLS, the number of anesthesiologists should increase by 20 to 28 percent from 2010 to 2020. This compares to a 14 percent growth forecast for all jobs.

Anesthesiologists are in demand across the country and capable candidates should have no trouble landing a job. The best opportunities may be in underserved areas including the rural communities and the inner city. Additional openings will become available as current anesthesiologists retire.


O*NET Online: Summary Report for: 29-1061.00 – Anesthesiologists

US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Physicians and Surgeons

See AlsoCareer Choice: RN With an MBA


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Categories: Career Planning