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How to Become a Anesthesiologist

Medical careers are often high-paying and if you are choosing one based on salary, then you should consider learning how to become an anesthesiologist. Anesthesiologists earn impressive salaries and their primary job is to aid patients during and after surgery. Read on to learn more about what an anesthesiologist does and what steps you should follow to become an anesthesiologist.

What Is an Anesthesiologist?

Anesthesiologists lead anesthesia teams before, during, and after surgeries and other procedures that require pain relief. These teams work to explain to patients what type of anesthesia they will receive and why it is the best option for them and their procedure.

Throughout the course of any procedure or surgery, anesthesiologists work to ensure the patient is safe and that anesthesia is administered properly. They then do follow-ups to help determine what postoperative pain relief is required, whether it be medications, physical therapy, or some combination of ideas.

What Does an Anesthesiologist Do?

Creates Operation Plan

Anesthesiologists work with patients, surgeons, and all others involved in operations to create an operation plan. Their primary role is to determine if and how a patient should be sedated and what needs to be done to help eliminate any issues before, during, and after the operation.

Handles Postoperative Pain Management

After an operation, anesthesiologists make crucial decisions about what care is required to keep patients as comfortable as possible after an operation. This involves deciding if patients need to stay in the ICU or go home, what medications they should and should not take, and advice on how to work toward recovery.

Works in Emergency Room and Critical Care

Anesthesiologists are often found working in the emergency room and critical care units of a hospital. By doing this, they are able to help in emergency situations and advise in pain management and treatment prior to any emergency operations.

Essential Anesthesiologist Skills

Extensive Anesthetic Knowledge

There are new advancements in the medical world all the time, including the developments of new anesthesias. Having extensive and ever-growing knowledge of these is crucial to being an anesthesiologist. Being up-to-date with all of the new developments helps ensure your patients have the best possible care.

Critical Thinking and Listening Abilities

Anesthesiologists must take a lot of factors into account when deciding on their operation plan. This involves recalling any patient allergies, negative reactions, side effects of medications, medical history, and the operation itself. Being able to critically think and listen makes these decisions much easier.

Able to Work with and Lead Teams

With everyone from surgeons to nurses being involved in operations, anesthesiologists need to be able to work well with a team. Oftentimes, anesthesiologists are tasked with leading entire teams, so leadership skills are a must for this job.

Anesthesiologist Salaries and Job Outlook

Anesthesiologists are well-known for making a good salary, with an average pay ranging between $260,000 and $300,000 per year. This varies primarily based upon your experience and location. Some anesthesiologists earn well over $600,000 per year, while others barely break $100,000.

To ensure the pay you desire, research the location you plan to work in and see how in-demand anesthesiologists are. If there are multiple places you would be comfortable working in, compare them. You will be able to build work experience in a place of high-demand, leading to higher pay.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of all physicians is expected to grow. The field is predicted to grow by seven percent by 2028, which is faster than most occupations. This means there will be plenty of employment opportunities for you once you have completed your education.

How Long Does it Take to Become an Anesthesiologist?

Since anesthesiologists are doctors, they have to complete medical school. This notoriously takes a long time, and it means it will take around 12 years total to become an anesthesiologist. This includes college, medical school, a residency, and the time it takes to earn licenses and certifications.

How to Become an Anesthesiologist: A Step by Step Guide

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Prior to being accepted into any medical school, you must earn a bachelor’s degree. For future anesthesiologists, it is recommended that your bachelor’s degree be earned in a pre-med or biology field.

Each school has different requirements, so be sure to research what your future medical school needs from you. Generally, there is a minimum GPA to meet as well as passing the medical college admission test.

Step 2: Complete Medical School

For anesthesiology, students will spend four years in medical school. During this time, they will study basic medical courses and specialized courses. Many courses will be focused on the organ system and anesthesias.

During your time at medical school, you will be able to gain experience through a residency. This is required for anyone to graduate, and it puts you in real-life situations to prove your skills as an anesthesiologist.

Step 3: Pass the USMLE and State Licensure Exams

After completing medical school, you will need to pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and your state’s licensing exam. The USMLE is a three-part exam and the first two parts can be completed during your time in medical school, but the last part requires a degree to complete.

Every state has different licensing requirements, but most often you will complete practical and written exams. Research your state to ensure you are prepared for your licensing exam, as many will not allow more than two or three retakes. After completing exams, you can look into earning certifications to help aid your credibility.

Should You Become an Anesthesiologist in 2020?

Becoming an anesthesiologist is a fantastic career decision in 2020. You will be paid well to help others, and often this job is a leadership position. If you want to become an anesthesiologist, we say go for it.


What GPA do you need to become an anesthesiologist?
You don’t need a specific GPA to become an anesthesiologist, but research shows that students with a 3.5-4.0 GPA do best in medical school.
What is the starting pay for anesthesiologists?
Most beginning anesthesiologists earn between $100,000 and $130,000 per year.
Where do anesthesiologists get paid the most?
The states where anesthesiologists are paid the most are South Dakota, Nebraska, California, North Carolina, and Ohio.
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