How to Become an Anesthesiologist

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Every day, many patients have to undergo surgical procedures. Anesthesia is field of medicine allows patients to undergo surgery without feeling any pain that would normally occur as the procedure is taking place. Anesthesiologists are trained licensed medical doctors that perform anesthesia techniques.


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What does an anesthesiologist do?

Anesthesiologists concentrate on caring for surgical patients and providing pain relief techniques. They evaluate each patient prior to the procedure, consult with the surgical team about the surgery process, and develop a treatment plan customized to each patient. They assess and treat patients accordingly and designate tasks to support staff. They continuously monitor and evaluate patients and are responsible for maintaining the vital life functions of patients including heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and body temperature before, during, and after surgery while the patient is under anesthesia. They also provide pain relief to patients in intensive care units, those experience chronic pain, and during labor and delivery.

What kind of training does an anesthesiologist need?

Anesthesiologists must complete a bachelor degree and a medical degree (M.D.) from a medical school that is accredited. After graduating from medical school, anesthesiologists apply for 4 year residency programs in anesthesiology. Many residency programs offer the option to sub-specialize in a particular area such as critical care medicine, pain management, pediatric anesthesiology, cardiac anesthesiology, obstetric anesthesiology, and neuro anesthesiology. They complete the sub-specialty through fellowship programs that take 1 to 3 years to complete. After completion of a residency program most anesthesiologists become board certified through the American Osteopathic Board of Anesthesiology (AOBA) or the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA).

Anesthesiologists must be licensed in their state of practice. Licensing requirements typically include graduation from a medical school that is accredited, completion of a residency program, and a passing score on a licensing examination.

What are the prospects for a career as an anesthesiologist?

Employment of all physicians is projected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The growing population and the demand for specialty health care will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be great especially for anesthesiologists with extensive experience and those who wish to work in rural or low-income areas. Job openings will also arise to replace anesthesiologists who retire or leave the field.

How much do anesthesiologists make?

As of July 2009, the middle 50% of anesthesiologists earned annual salaries between $257,373 and $370867. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $421,224 (2).

A career as an anesthesiologist is a great choice for individuals that have a great interest in caring for patients during surgical procedures. Anesthesiologists must be good with their hands and quick on their feet. Good communication, sensitivity to potential problems, good physical stamina, and ability to pay close attention to detail are essential qualities. Anesthesiologists must able to able to handle stress and pressure in a medical environment.

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