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Anesthesiology Career

Career Description

An Anesthesiologist focuses on the care of surgical patients and pain relief.

Common Work Tasks

  • Evaluate and treat patients
  • Direct the efforts of their staffs
  • Continual monitoring and assessment of the patient’s vital life functions—heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, breathing—during surgery
  • Provide pain relief in the intensive care unit, during labor and delivery, and for those who suffer from chronic pain
  • Confer with other physicians and surgeons about appropriate treatments and procedures before, during, and after operations
  • Administer anesthetics to patients about to undergo surgery
  • Prescribe pain medications to patients
  • Make sure the correct medications are properly administered
  • Manage anesthesiological services, coordinating them with other medical activities and formulating plans and procedures

Other Job Titles

Anesthesiologists are also known by other titles, including:

  • Physician
  • Doctor
  • Internist
  • Family Practitioner
  • Surgeon

Education, Training, and Experience

Education and Training
Formal education and training requirements for physicians are among the most demanding of any occupation—4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school, and 3 to 8 years of internship and residency, depending on the specialty selected. A few medical schools offer combined undergraduate and medical school programs that last 6 years rather than the customary 8 years.

Licensure and Certification
  All States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories license physicians. To be licensed, physicians must graduate from an accredited medical school, pass a licensing examination, and complete 1 to 7 years of graduate medical education. Although physicians licensed in one State usually can get a license to practice in another without further examination, some States limit reciprocity. Graduates of foreign medical schools generally can qualify for licensure after passing an examination and completing a U.S. residency.

People who wish to become physicians must have a desire to serve patients, be self-motivated, and be able to survive the pressures and long hours of medical education and practice. Physicians also must have a good bedside manner, emotional stability, and the ability to make decisions in emergencies. Prospective physicians must be willing to study throughout their career to keep up with medical advances.


The median annual salary for an Anesthesiologist is $193,000. Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of anesthesiologists are:

  • Offices of Physicians - $201,330
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals - $161,440
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools - $106,970
  • Outpatient Care Centers - $177,160
  • Offices of Other Health Practitioners - $165,760

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  5%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 1,552
  • Employment 2006 : 31,030
  • Employment 2016:  32,582
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