How to Become an Anesthesiologist

Overview

An anesthesiologist is a trained physician who specializes in anesthesia and medicine. If you are interested in becoming an anesthesiologist, you will need to graduate from an accredited medical school, focus on anesthesiology and complete a clinical residency. It will take you approximately 8 years to complete medical school and a clinical residency.

Once you have successfully completed medical school and your residency, you will be recognized as an anesthesiologist (MD or DO). If you are interested in becoming an anesthesiologist, you will need to fulfill certain educational, certification and/or licensure requirements. This article will teach you everything you need to know to enter the field of anesthesiology.

Educational Requirements

If you are interested in becoming an anesthesiologist, you will need to complete an undergraduate program in biology, anatomy, pre-med or a related field. You will also be required to complete 4 years of medical school and 4 years of residency training in order to be eligible for certification in the field of anesthesiology. It is important to note that during residency, you will be required to complete 1 year of a clinical surgical or medical internship, followed by 3 additional years of anesthesiology training.

Residency

During your anesthesiology residency, you may learn how to evaluate pre-operative patients, effectively manage surgical patients with pre-existing diseases, provide life support during surgery, control pain before, during and following surgery, monitor patients during the recovery process, administer medication to patients in the intensive care unit and manage acute and chronic pain.

Once you have completed your residency requirements, you may decide to complete a year of fellowship in a specialty area such as: pediatric anesthesiology, obstetric anesthesiology, pain management, cardio-thoracic anesthesiology, neuro-anesthesiology and/or critical care medicine.

Certification

Once you have completed all of your medical school training and residency requirements you will need to become board-certified. Board certification is not required in the United States, but most anesthesiologists have received certification from the American Board of Anesthesiology or the American Osteopathic Board of Anesthesiology.

Job Duties

As anesthesiologist, you will provide care and pain relief to surgical patients. You will also administer anesthesia and medications to patients in order to ease or eliminate any feelings of pain or discomfort during medical procedures. During surgery, you will be responsible for regulating the amount of anesthesia given to the patient and observing his/her temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing.

You will also be required to provide pain relief to women who are in labor and those in the intensive care unit. Moreover, you will be responsible for delivering pain relief to patients suffering from constant, unremitting pain. Furthermore, as an anesthesiologist, you will work as a part of team with surgeons and other medical doctors to create patient treatment plans.

Salary Prospects

If you plan to enter the anesthesiology field, you can expect to work at a hospital, educational institution, physician’s office, clinic or an outpatient care facility. If you work at a physician’s office you will make the most money annually (average annual salary – $241,910), but if you work as instructor at educational intuition you will make the least amount of money annually (average annual salary – 131,890) (bls.gov).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012), the average annual salary for an anesthesiologistis approximately$232,830. Entry-level anesthesiologists tend to make between $131,000 and $135,000 annually. In addition, anesthesiologists that work in Minnesota earn the highest annual wages in the United States ($228,510 annually) followed by Indiana ($224,950) and New York ($215,350).

Career Outlook

If you are open to working in rural and urban areas, you career outlook is good. Rural and urban areas tend to have a hard time retaining anesthesiologists because of the location and crime rates. In addition, the career outlook is good if you are willing to treat patients with multiple and/or severe medical conditions. This population typically includes aging baby boomers and those with chronic illnesses.

Anesthesiology jobs are expected to increase by 2% by 2020 (bls.gov). The increase in job growth will stem from the continued advancement of multiple healthcare industries. Aging individuals are expected to boost the demand for physicians (anesthesiologists) as they begin to seek quality care for their ailments. In fact, many educational institutions have steadily increased the number or students admitted to their medical schools based on the increased need for physicians of all kinds.

It is important to note that although the demand for physicians, anesthesiologists and surgeons continues to grow, new technological advancements may decrease future physician-related jobs. Technological advancements will allow physicians to spend more time with their patients, therefore decreasing the new for new physicians, surgeons and anesthesiologists. Furthermore, health insurance costs may affect how many consumers seek medical care in the future. If the cost of health insurance skyrockets then more and more consumers may opt for alternative treatments rather than medical services.

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