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An anesthesiologist is a physician (M.D., Doctor of Medicine or D.O., Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) who specializes in the branch of medicine concerned with anesthesiology, the study and application of anesthetics. Anesthetics (or anesthesia) are drugs that temporarily cause total or partial loss of sensation, with or without loss of consciousness. While both the M.D. and D.O. administer approved and acceptable treatment methods (e.g., surgery, drugs), a D.O. will have a particular focus on holistic patient care, preventive medicine, and the musculoskeletal system.

Anesthesiologist Schools and Education

Formal and extensive education is required for the anesthesiologist profession. Most physicians who specialize in anesthesiology will have completed a minimum of 12 years of education and training (after graduating from high school) before they become eligible for board certification.

Education for this profession includes:

  • Four years' undergraduate college* -- That includes pre-medical requirements. Courses for premedical students include biology, physics, mathematics, English, organic and inorganic chemistry, social sciences, and humanities.
  • Four years' medical school* -- Acceptance into medical school is very competitive and costly. Requirements include transcript submission, Medical College Admission Test scores, and letters of recommendation, as well as consideration of an applicant's personality, character, leadership qualities, and their extracurricular activity involvement. The majority of medical schools also require interviews with admissions committee members. During the first two years, students can expect to spend their time in labs and classrooms where they will study subjects that include, but are not limited to: biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, medical ethics, pharmacology, microbiology, psychology, and pathology, as well as learning how to examine patients, diagnose illnesses, and more. During the last two years, students will work under the supervision of physicians where they will work with patients and learn various practices such as preventive, rehabilitative, acute, and chronic care.
  • Three to eight years of internship and residency (depending upon the specialty) -- Is is during this time that the individual who selects anesthesiology as their specialty will complete four years of residency training (paid on-the-job) in order to become eligible for board certification.

* Some medical schools offer a six-year combined undergraduate and medical program (versus eight years) where the student will fulfill the pre-medical requirements in the first two years, and the traditional medical education is fulfilled in the last four.

Physicians who seek board certification can spend up to seven years (depending on the specialty) in residency training. To be certified by a Member Board of The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), a final examination must be taken immediately after residency (or after one to two years practice).

Anesthesiologist Job Characteristics 

The key attributes required in this profession are the desire to help patients, personal motivation, stamina needed for long work hours, and the time and dedication required for education before and throughout their career in order to keep abreast with continued medical advances. Equally as important are emotional stability, a good or congenial bedside manner, and the ability to make critical decisions in emergency situations.

Anesthesiologists generally work in hospitals or surgical outpatient centers. Like other doctors, they diagnose and treat patients and manage and direct a supporting staff. Due to the nature of this profession, anesthesiologists work long and irregular hours where they can, at times, reach or exceed 60 hours - not a standard 40-hour workweek. Anesthesiologists work in sterile and well-lit environments while performing surgical procedures and will often stand for extended periods of time. They will frequently travel from their office to the hospital or nursing home (sometimes for emergencies) to administer care and treatment for their patients.

Anesthesiologists also work outside the operating room in situations such as:

  • The Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where they administer pain relief to critically ill patients while helping to restore them to a stable condition.
  • Pain management, where they are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of patients who suffer from acute and chronic illnesses.
  • During labor and delivery, where they provide pain relief to the mother while also monitoring life functions for the mother and baby.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (USDL BLS), the physician profession is expected to grow "faster-than-average for all occupations." In fact, opportunities look especially good for those who choose to practice in a specialty (e.g., anesthesiology). Additionally, employment for physicians, as well as surgeons is "projected to grow 14 percent from 2006 to 2016." As the elderly population continues to increase, so too will the need for physician services and the best and latest technological advances in treatment, diagnostic testing, and therapies. It is important to note that physician services are very sensitive to changes in consumer behavior, legislation, and health care reimbursement policies.

In the United States, anesthesiologists are one the highest paid when it comes to physician specialists. A June 4, 2007, Forbes Magazine article ranks the medical profession, and anesthesiologists in particular, as dominating the high end of the pay spectrum.

Resources for Anesthesiologists

Major Employers of Anesthesiologists

Anesthesiologists will generally find work in hospitals or surgical outpatient centers.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Anesthesiologists

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Anesthesiologists jobs , as of 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Mobile 150 N/A
Hoover N/A N/A
Birmingham N/A N/A
Huntsville N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale N/A N/A
Mesa N/A N/A
Phoenix N/A N/A
Flagstaff N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway N/A N/A
North Little Rock N/A N/A
Little Rock N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 760 N/A
Long Beach 760 N/A
Los Angeles 760 N/A
Carlsbad 590 N/A
San Diego 590 N/A
Arden 170 N/A
Roseville 170 N/A
Sacramento 170 N/A
Arcade 170 N/A
Sunnyvale N/A N/A
Redding N/A N/A
Santa Clara N/A N/A
San Jose N/A N/A
Oakland N/A $62,460
San Francisco N/A $62,460
Hayward N/A $62,460
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood N/A N/A
Aurora N/A N/A
Denver N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
East Hartford 80 N/A
West Hartford 80 N/A
Hartford 80 N/A
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Tampa 500 N/A
St. Petersburg 500 N/A
Clearwater 500 N/A
West Palm Beach 440 N/A
Fort Lauderdale 440 N/A
Miami 440 N/A
Cape Coral 130 N/A
Fort Myers 130 N/A
Ocala 30 N/A
Jacksonville N/A N/A
Sanford N/A $113,110
Orlando N/A $113,110
Kissimmee N/A $113,110
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell N/A N/A
Sandy Springs N/A N/A
Atlanta N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bloomington N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 50 N/A
Carmel 50 N/A
Indianapolis 50 N/A
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 260 N/A
Des Moines 260 N/A
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Orleans 40 N/A
Metairie 40 N/A
Bossier City N/A N/A
Shreveport N/A N/A
Lafayette N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Auburn N/A N/A
Lewiston N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson N/A N/A
Columbia N/A N/A
Baltimore N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 100 N/A
Warren 100 N/A
Detroit 100 N/A
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 300 N/A
Henderson 300 N/A
Las Vegas 300 N/A
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Niagara Falls 270 N/A
Cheektowaga 270 N/A
Buffalo 270 N/A
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Asheville 50 N/A
Morganton N/A N/A
Hickory N/A N/A
Lenoir N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbus 290 N/A
Elyria 120 N/A
Cleveland 120 N/A
Akron 40 N/A
Toledo N/A N/A
Mansfield N/A N/A
Dayton N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Tulsa N/A N/A
Oklahoma City N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Harrisburg 210 N/A
Carlisle 210 N/A
Pittsburgh N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas N/A $67,780
Carolina N/A $67,780
San Juan N/A $67,780
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 250 N/A
Murfreesboro 250 N/A
Davidson 250 N/A
Nashville 250 N/A
Knoxville 140 N/A
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Houston 1210 N/A
Sugar Land 1210 N/A
The Woodlands 1210 N/A
New Braunfels 360 N/A
San Antonio 360 N/A
Dallas N/A N/A
Fort Worth N/A N/A
Arlington N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City N/A N/A
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 80 N/A
Burlington 80 N/A
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 80 N/A
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Seattle N/A N/A
Bellevue N/A N/A
Tacoma N/A N/A
Spokane Valley N/A $122,170
Spokane N/A $122,170
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis N/A N/A
Waukesha N/A N/A
Milwaukee N/A N/A
Appleton N/A N/A

Most Popular Industries for :
Anesthesiologists

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Medical Office 28,540 83% N/A
Hospital 5,010 14% $160,730
Education 530 1% $128,400
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