Home > Medical > How to Become an Anesthesiologist

how to become an Anesthesiologist

How to Become an Anesthesiologist

An anesthesiologist is a preoperative physician who specializes in the administration, dosage, monitoring, and after effects of local and general aesthetic on a patient. To become an anesthesiologist, you'll need to have very strong academic skills, an interest in health and science, and good interpersonal skills.

An anesthesiologist is a medical doctor who undergoes a further residency of two to three years to complete their training. They consult with a patient prior to a surgery to work out the dosage and types of anesthesia which are appropriate for each individual. During an operation they will administer anesthesia along with other drugs, and monitor the patient's conditions, paying particular attention to their vital signs.

Education Requirements to Become an Anesthesiologist

To become an anesthesiologist, you will need to complete at least twelve years of training. While on the outside, the job description of an anesthesiologist may seem simple, it is in fact a very complicated job, where a slight error can have grave consequences.

Anesthesiology, like many fields of medicine, can be highly competitive. During your education you will need to work hard to get the grades that will qualify you for a place in college, medical school, and later in placement. Be prepared for long hours of study, and later demanding work hours while you complete your specialization.

First of all, you'll need good grades in high school. At college, you will want to enroll in a four year bachelor degree with a good pre-medicine program. You'll need a strong grade point average in order to then gain a place in medical school. This will take another four years to complete.

After you finish medical school, you will need to complete a residency in anesthesiology. This will take a further four years and allow you to practice as an anesthesiologist. You may wish to take a fellowship of a further one to three years which will grant you a sub-specialization.

Anesthesiologist Job Description

When you become an anesthesiologist your primary role is to provide a patient with anesthetic or other pain relief, during a surgery. Anesthesiology is seen as been preoperative, meaning that an anesthesiologist works with a patient before, during, and after a surgery.

Before a surgery, an anesthesiologist will meet with a patient. The type of operation, current medications, age, gender, and weight are all taken into consideration. Each person will need a different type and dosage of anesthetic during an operation.

During the surgery the anesthesiologist will stay close by to monitor the surgery often working with a nurse or assistant. A patient's vital signs are closely monitored; if problems arise the anesthesiologist will be there to solve them.

Afterwards, the anesthesiologist will check on a patient and monitor their recovery. They will also give advice about some of the side-effects of the anesthetic wearing off, if applicable.

Here are some of the tasks an anesthesiologist could be responsible for:

  • Analyzing a patient's statistics

  • Speaking with a patient about their medical history

  • Selecting the type and dosage of anesthetic

  • Administering anesthetic

  • Monitoring a patient during a surgery

  • Problem Solving

  • Monitoring a patient after surgery

  • Providing information to a patient

Anesthesiologist Salary and Career Path

Nearly all anesthesiologists work in health care, mostly in public and private hospitals, and some in day surgery centers. Many work in teaching and also in research.

Job prospects for a qualified anesthesiologist are good, and traditionally there has been a shortage of professionals trained in this role. Currently, according to, the median wage for an anesthesiologist is $220,000 a year. Going on to earn a further sub-specialization would mean achieving an even higher salary.

Many anesthesiologists begin their career working with patients that are having surgery. Some may move on to administrative and supervisory roles within the medical sector. Others move on to complete research projects, or to teach at colleges.

Similar roles to an anesthesiologist include:

If you're interested in health and medicine, want to work closely with patients, and enjoy study then you might like to become an anesthesiologist. While this is a challenging career path, you will be rewarded in return with excellent job security and very high salary.

*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics
2010 All rights reserved