are Doctors of Medicine (MDs) that concentrate on the care of surgical
patients and pain relief. As with other physicians, they evaluate and
treat patients and direct the efforts of those on their staffs. Some of
the primary responsibilities of an anesthesiologist include examining
patient to determine the type of anesthetic needed, communicating all
relevant information to the appropriate medical practitioners, and
administering local, intravenous, or spinal anesthetic to the patient.
Other duties may include recording the type and amount of anesthesia
administered, maintaining the patient’s vital life functions (i.e. heart
rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and breathing) through continual
monitoring and assessment during surgery, and conferring with other
physicians and surgeons to determine the condition of a patient before,
during, and after sedation. Anyone interested in this medical specialty
must be dedicated to a lifetime of continuing education in order to stay
current with the constantly evolving nature of anesthesiology and pain
management. To be successful in anesthesiology, individuals must excel
academically, be incredibly detailed-oriented, calm in stressful
situations, and warm and caring in order to ease patient’s anxiety.
The majority of
anesthesiologists work in hospitals and outpatient surgical centers. Other
opportunities may exist in private and group practices, urgent care
centers, academic medical centers, and the military. As with most other
physicians, anesthesiologists work long and hectic hours, with nearly one
third working 60 hours a week or more.
High School Preparation:
interested in a career as an anesthesiologist should concentrate on high
school courses in algebra, biology, chemistry, geometry, physics,
trigonometry, anatomy and physiology, humanities, health
occupations/medical professions education, psychology, and computer
interested in becoming an anesthesiologist must complete a premedical
program at an accredited college or university. These programs are four
years in length and are very rigorous. Students must then pass the Medical
College Admissions Test (MCAT) and get accepted into a school of medicine.
This may require a personal interview, additional applications, or further
Upon graduation of
an accredited medical school, a student then spends four more years in an
anesthesiology residency (there are about 160 anesthesiology medical
residency programs in the United States). Some residents take one more
year of study, called a fellowship, in a specific area of anesthesiology
such as critical care medicine, pain medicine, research or education.
During residency training, anesthesiologists generally work toward
obtaining certification from the American Society of Anesthesiologists or
the American Board of Anesthesiology.
For educational institutions in
offering this course of study click here.
The career outlook for
anesthesiologists, as well as physicians and surgeons, is expected to be
great because the growing population will need more doctors to fulfill
their health care needs. While there are no employment statistics
specifically for this specialty, opportunities for physicians will
increase 10% - 20% over the next decade. Specialists such as
anesthesiologists will experience the greatest rise in employment in
response to patient demand for access to specialty care. Technology will
also play an important role in the increase in employment in this
specialty. As anesthesiologists are able to perform more complex
procedures, they will be able to treat conditions that were previously
regarded as untreatable.
Average Annual Salary
Association of American Medical
2450 N Street NW
Washington, DC 20037-1127
Phone: (202) 828-0400
American Society of Anesthesiologists
520 N. Northwest Hwy.
Park Ridge, IL
Phone: (847) 825-5586
Fax: (847) 825-1692
American Board of Anesthesiology
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 510
Phone: (919) 881-2570 Fax: (919)
881-2575 Web: www.abanes.org
Mississippi State Medical Association
PO Box 2548
Phone: (601) 853-6733