Anesthesiology career guide: qualifications, job outlook & salaries

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A career in anesthesiology can be very exciting, challenging and financially rewarding. Anesthesiologists are highly skilled professionals who have several different responsibilities and duties on a day to day basis. They work long, hectic hours primarily in hospitals and outpatient surgical centers. Work opportunities can also be found in the military, urgent care centers, private practices, and academic medical centers. 

Job description

The main responsibility of an anesthesiologist is to provide sedation and pain relief to patients before, during and after any surgical, diagnostic and obstetric and procedure. They keep a close watchful eye on the consciousness and vital signs of the patient through the entire procedure and ensure that the patient’s condition is stable immediately after the procedure. In addition to management during surgery, anesthesiologists are also called upon for consultations in pain management in critical care medicine, supervising post-anesthesia recovery and for direct resuscitation in the care of patients experiencing respiratory or cardiac emergencies. This could include assisting in artificial ventilation.

Other responsibilities include treating acute, long standing pain associated with severe injuries, cancer, and terminal or critical illnesses.

Educational qualifications

To pursue a career in anesthesiology, you will have to first complete a 4-year premed program and pass the MCAT or the Medical College Admissions Test. You then complete a medical school program, after which you do a 4-year residency in anaesthesiology.

Before you can practice as a certified anaesthesiologist, you will have to pass the certification exam set by the American Board of Anesthesiology or the American Society of Anaesthesiologists. You can take this exam at some point during your residency.

If you choose to practice pain medicine or critical care medicine, which are subspecialties of anaesthesiology, then you will have to complete at least a year long fellowship in that subspecialty.

Job outlook & salary expectations

The job outlook for anaesthesiologists is very good. Anaesthesiologists play a key role in the medical care of patients undergoing a wide range of procedures and critical illness and pain management needs. As the growing population seems to always be in demand for medical professionals, job growth for anesthesiologists is expected to increase 10% to 20% over the next decade. Moreover, with huge strides being made in technological advancements, these professional will be able to perform ever more complex procedures and their role may expand.

The average annual salary for an established anesthesiologist can range from $330,000–$423,500. Incomes fluctuate from one state to another as well as the type and size of the facility you work in.

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