How To Become An Anesthesiologist, How Much It Cost And How Many Years It Takes?

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Last Updated on July 22, 2021

How To Become An Anesthesiologist – Several factors influence the choice of a career. This could be a successful surgical operation for you. The anesthesiologist may have told you very good things before you fell asleep during the operation, and you think you will like it. Build a successful career in anesthesiology by learning about the educational requirements, degree, and salaries of anesthesiologists.

How To Become An Anesthesiologist

How To Become An Anesthesiologist

The Anesthesiologist career requirement is as long as that of a medical doctor. It is rightfully so as they both are physicians and are responsible for maintaining lives. However, the Anesthesiologist’s job is more specific than that of a general physician and not in any way lesser.

So, in this article, we will explain who is an anesthesiologist, their tasks and the level of education required to start a career. With that in mind, we’ll also show you the right schools to attend and the programs to take. We will also show you how much an anesthesiologist make and answer some questions you may be asking.

Who Is An Anesthesiologist?

An anesthesiologist is a physician who is trained to administer the drugs to control pain and other medical procedures to a patient during surgery. Hence, they are responsible for the safety and welfare of the patient before, during, and after surgery.

In simpler terms, it is the anesthesiologist that provides you the pain relief that puts you to slumber before the doctor operates on you. They also monitor your vital signs during surgery.

To perform their job well, anesthesiologists must have adept knowledge of physiology and pharmacology. They must also be knowledgeable about the techniques employed to support vital organ functions during an anesthetic procedure.

Basically, anesthesiologists administer anesthetics to patients to put them in a temporary state of unconsciousness for the performance of a medical procedure.

However, their job description includes:

  • Carrying out thorough interviews with patients before their surgery to determine the right anesthesia and pain management plan for them
  • Possessing a deep understanding of the side effects and dangers that certain pain-killers and anesthesia can cause in patients with pre-existing medical conditions
  • Managing the health and recovery of patients during surgery and post-operation
  • Administering pain relief in many different situations – whether it is to women giving birth or cancer patients undergoing surgery
  • Monitoring outpatient conditions, such as regulating pain and overseeing the outcomes of surgery.

The Anesthesiologists’ work environment is anywhere surgical procedures will take place and hence require the administration of pain relief to the patients

Therefore, you’ll find anesthesiologists at:

  • Offices of Physicians
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
  • Outpatient Care Centers
  • Offices of Other Health Practitioners like Dentists
  • Specialty Hospitals (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse)
  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Military.

What are the Subspecialties in Anesthesiology?

Based on their training and skills, anesthesiologists can choose to become specialists in certain areas of anesthesiology.

These areas where anesthesiologists can specialize in include:

  • Cardiothoracic anesthesia
  • Critical care anesthesia
  • Neurosurgical anesthesia
  • Obstetric anesthesia
  • Orthopedic anesthesia
  • Pediatric anesthesia
  • Hospice and palliative anesthesia

What is the Anesthesiologist Salary?

Anesthesiologists make good money for the great service they render. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Anesthesiologists earn $267,020 yearly. As of 2018, there were 31,060 anesthesiologists in the USA and employment for this position will rise by 5.6% from 2018 to 2028.

Based on the industry they work, Anesthesiologists also earn the following:

  • Offices of Physicians – $276,990
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals – $209,260
  • Outpatient Care Centers – $273,080
  • Offices of Other Health Practitioners – $195,350
  • Specialty Hospitals – $280,400

Meanwhile, Anesthesiologists’ salaries will vary by location. Anesthesiologists in some states earn better than their counterparts in other states. Also, some states employ more Anesthesiologists than others.

The top five (5) states in the USA for Anesthesiologists based on earnings and employment are:

  • Texas – $260,690; employing 3,860
  • California – $288,420; employing 3,500
  • New York – $255,500; employing 1,500
  • Florida – $280,390; employing 1,470
  • Ohio – $285,000;employing 1,330

What is the Educational Requirement for Anesthesiologists?

Just like physicians, the entry-level job requirement for an Anesthesiologist is a doctorate degree. However, to acquire a doctorate degree in anesthesiology and practice your profession, here is what you should do:

1. Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Program

The education process for Anesthesiologists is similar to that of other Physicians. A medical school is critical to your becoming an anesthesiologist but you will need a Bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite to enrolling in a medical school.

While you are free to apply for medical school with any kind of undergraduate degree, your degree should cover courses in biology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics. These courses are also prerequisites to medical school. Because your undergraduate degree should contain these courses, we strongly advise that you get a pre-med degree.

2. Get into Medical School

After your four-year undergraduate degree, you will have to apply to a medical school. The medical school also takes four years to complete. On completion of the medical school, you will get a Doctor of Medicine (M.D) or a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O) degree. You should know, however, that gaining admission into medical school is not easy.

Medical schools in the USA take a few numbers of prospective medical students out of the pool of applicants they receive yearly. Medical schools will consider your GPA, letters of recommendation, and Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) scores.

3. Complete Medical School

The race does not end on gaining acceptance into a medical school. You will have to complete your four years of medical school education as an anesthesiologist to proceed to the next stage of your career.

You will spend the first two years of medical school in the classroom receiving instruction in core medicine subjects. These subjects include microbiology, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, medical ethics, and anatomy.

For the remaining two years, however, your education will be more practical. You will gain hands-on experience in treating patients at medical facilities through clinical rotations.

A veteran Physician will supervise you during your clinical rotations and through their assistance, you’ll explore several specialties in the field. Some of these specialties include pediatrics, gynecology, cardiology, and geriatrics.

You should check out these scholarships for medical students to help you navigate through medical school with ease.

4. Complete a Residency Program in Anesthesiology

The residency program takes place after graduating from medical school. It is another four years of intense learning for you, only this one is more specialized than the previous set of four years. Your residency must be in anesthesiology.

Hence, one year of the program will still be clinical rotations and/or internship in general medicine areas such as internal medicine, pediatrics, and emergency medicine. The remaining three years, however, will be pure anesthesiologist education.

5. Consider a Sub-Specialty Fellowship

A fellowship program in a subspecialty in anesthesiological lasts for a year or two and allows for specialization in the field. You can purse this fellowship option only after residency but it is not a compulsory education you must get to become an anesthesiologist.

The anesthesiology sub-specialty fellowship is simply a thing of choice. If you’ll be choosing to take part in one, however, the sub-specialties in anesthesiology you can choose include neurosurgery, pediatric, transplant or dental anesthesiology.

6. Gain Licensure

Licensure is an important educational requirement for most medical-related disciplines. It is the same too for Anesthesiologists. You will need a license to be able to practice the Anesthesiology profession in the United States.

This licensure is state-dependent, which means that you must gain it in the state you wish to practice. Meanwhile, gaining an Anesthesiologist license requires you to pass a two-part examination as well as fulfill additional state requirements.

7. Get Board-Certified

You can get board certified after gaining your license by either The American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) or the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS). To become board certified by any of these boards, all you need to do is pass their certification exam.

Meanwhile, becoming board certified is not a compulsory educational path to an anesthesiologist career. It gives professionals in the field some sense of accomplishment when they use the title, “Board Certified Anesthesiologist,” and employers prefer Anesthesiologists who are board-certified. Also, it is the norm. Close to 90 percent of anesthesiologists are board-certified.

What Schools Can I Attend to Become an Anesthesiologist?

You can get an anesthesiologist education from any of the accredited universities in the United States but that will depend on the level of education you’re going for.

You will gain an undergraduate degree for your anesthesiology degree from accredited universities in the United States. However, you can only attend medical schools to get a medical education and a residency program in Anesthesiology.

So, we will discuss here the best medical schools you can attend in the United States for a residency program in Anesthesiology. We choose a residency program because it is the level of education in becoming an anesthesiologist that you begin to really treat the subject.

Meanwhile, we have selected these Best Anesthesiology schools based on ranking from US News & World Reports. We will discuss these medical schools’ anesthesiology residency programs and cost in this section.

Here are the best 10 Anesthesiology Program:

1. Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has one of the best medical schools in the USA. US News and World Report rank its Anesthesiology program as number three in the USA. The UCFS School of Medicine began in 1864 and has over 1,428 medical students while housing the UCSF Medical Center.

Through its Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, UCSF offers one of the finest Anesthesiology Residency Programs in the USA.

You will learn and provide patient care in six different medical centers, including the UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center as a resident at UCSF. Meanwhile, UCSF’s program distinguishes itself through the diversity and challenge of its clinical experiences. Hence, you will graduate to be outstanding in your clinical abilities.

However, UCSF seeks residents who are accomplished academically, loves challenges and opportunities, is enthusiastic, and works well as part of a team.

Meanwhile, if you’ll be attending UCFS School of Medicine for your medical school education, you’ll be paying $41,532 as a California resident and $53,777 as a non-resident.

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2. Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care

Penn Medicine is another of the best medical schools in the USA. Older than the other schools we’ve listed, the Perelman School of Medicine began in 1765 and has over 1,200 Residents. It is also one of the medical schools where you can get an Anesthesiologist schooling for your Residency program.

The Anesthesiology program at Perelam is notable for its long tradition of patient care, education, and research. The Pennsylvania medical school has been producing leaders in the field of Anesthesiology, with its focus on leadership through clinical training and mentorship.

Also, through the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and two other dedicated hospitals in Penn State, Penn Medicine promises world-class anesthesiology training. You’ll grow to become a leader in aspects of anesthesiology including the operating room, intensive care unit, labor and delivery floor, and pain clinic.

Meanwhile, if you’ll be studying to get an Anesthesiologist degree in Penn Medicine, the tuition requirement is $59,910 per year.

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3. Duke Anesthesiology- Duke University School of Medicine

Coming 5th in the US News and World Report’s ranking for best Anesthesiologist Program in the USA, Duke Anesthesiology offers one of the best Anesthesiologist education towards a fulfilling career in the field. Duke University School of Medicine, which offers its Anesthesiology program, began in 1930 and has over 400 students learning from a world-class faculty of over 2,000 staff.

Hence, you don’t expect less from Duke’s Anesthesiology program. Its residency program in anesthesiology program equips you with the skills with which you will work with a variety of patient cases and change the world around you.

Thus, you’ll undergo intense clinical rotations that will rotate you on a variety of services such as Acute Pain Service and Perioperative Medicine. In your first year of residency, you will build your basic anesthesiology knowledge and start subspecialty training. This will develop in your second year, while you’ll prepare in your third year towards your career ambitions.

Meanwhile, if you’ll be enrolling for an MD degree towards an Anesthesiologist career at Duke Medicine, you’ll be settling a tuition requirement of $47,556 yearly.

4. Columbia University Department of Anesthesiology

Columbia University, through its Irving Medical Center, offers one of the best schoolings for anesthesiologists in the USA. Its anesthesiology program ranks 6th in US News & World Report, with its medical school consisting of over 1500 students and 4,300 faculty members. Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, located at the University’s Irving Medical Center, is an old medical school, founded in 1767.

With its age comes consistency in delivering excellence. So, Columbia University claims to be the home of a legacy of leaders in Anesthesiology. If you choose to take your residency program at Columbia University, the school assures you of cultivating your talents to help you become a compassionate physician, skilled clinician, and creative leader in the field of Anesthesiology.

You will get one of the best anesthesiologist training at Columbia, especially through clinical rotations at the Irving Medical Centre. This hospital is one of the leaders in the USA in the field of interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery. So, you know what you stand to gain.

Meanwhile, an MD degree at Columbia University for the medical school education towards an anesthesiologist career will cost you $59,364 yearly.

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5. Michigan Medicine- Anesthesiology

Michigan Medicine, which began operating in 1850 as U-M Medical School is another medical school in the USA to get the best anesthesiologist schooling. This medical school in Michigan, comprising of over 2,000 students and over 3,700 academic staff has been consistent in delivering quality medical education to physicians and anesthesiologists.

In fact, Michigan Medicine is one of the most dedicated medical schools in the USA for an anesthesiologist career. Right from medical school, this medical school provides a comprehensive clinical experience within the field of anesthesiology. It also encourages frequent tutorials and small group discussions and houses an Anesthesiology Student Interest Group (ASIG).

So, Michigan Medicine’s anesthesiology residency follows in such a comprehensive fashion. You will feel the depth and breadth of this anesthesiology resident training experience through its comprehensive curriculum that includes didactic and clinical hands-on experience.

Meanwhile, an MD degree at Michigan Medicine towards an Anesthesiologist career will cost $29,367 annually.

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6. Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine

If you’re thinking of where to get one of the richest schoolings for your anesthesiologist career, then you should be considering Stanford University. Stanford University School of Medicine at California, USA, through its Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine, offers one of the best Anesthesiology residency programs in the USA.

Ranking 8th in US News and World Report Best Anesthesiology programs, Stanford Residency program provides you with the environment and resources to fulfill your highest professional potential as an anesthesiologist. At Stanford, you’ll learn the best in clinical settings that embody the highest standards of medical practice & patient safety.

Also, Stanford anesthesiology residency training program incorporates the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor to produce future leaders in the specialty.

Meanwhile, an MD degree at Stanford University School of Medicine towards your anesthesiologist career will cost you $20,078 yearly for tuition.

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7. Department of Anesthesiology

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is another school in the USA you should consider for a comprehensive anesthesiologist schooling. This private medical school began in 1891 in Missouri and has consistently raised quality physicians and anesthesiologists.

Washington University’s extensive Anesthesiology program offers training in its categorical (4-year) and advanced (3-year) programs. This starts with a rotating internship in areas including Cardiology, Surgery. Emergency Medicine, Clinical Simulation, Operative Anesthesia, etc. The internship program progresses to the Clinical Anesthesia Training (CA-1 through to CA-3). The clinical rotations here include Ambulatory Surgery, Orthopedics, Nueroanesthesia, Trauma, Pain Management, etc.

When you complete Washington University’s Anesthesiology program, you will be qualified to perform independently in all areas of perioperative care. Also, you will be eligible to enter into the certification process by the American Board of Anesthesiology.

Meanwhile, an Anesthesiologist degree at Washington University in St, Loius will cost you $66,913 yearly for tuition.

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8. UCLA Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine

The University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine or the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA is another wonderful place for an anesthesiologist schooling. This public medical school began operating in 1951 and has consistently produced notable physicians in the USA. Also, US News and World Report ranked UCLA’s Anesthesiology program 10th in the world with its technologically sophisticated hospital and qualified faculty.

It is through this technologically sophisticated hospital – Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center (RRUMC) – that you will receive your anesthesiology residency program training. Hence, you don’t expect to learn anything less than quality. To this effect, UCLA brags that residents at UCLA consistently secure coveted spots in the most competitive fellowship programs in the country.

Looking to pursue a career in Dermatology, here is How To Become A Dermatologist, How Much It Cost And How Long It Takes.

Thus, at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, you will get a comprehensive anesthesiology education that will cover training in cardiothoracic, pediatric, and all the other anesthesiology subspecialties.

Meanwhile, you’ll pay $42,266 as tuition fees if you’ll be gaining an MD degree towards your anesthesiologist career at UCLA School of Medicine.

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9. Department of Anesthesiology – Weill Cornell Medicine

Finally, Weill Cornell Medicine of the Weill Cornell University is the 10th school on our list of best schools for an anesthesiology program in the USA. Weill Cornell Medicine began in 1898 as a private, nonprofit medical school in New York, USA. However, it has grown to a massive height, drawing over 6,000 medical school applicants yearly. Little wonder it makes US News and World Report’s list of Best Anesthesiology Programs as the number 12th medical school for the field in the USA.

Through the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and the Department of Anesthesiology of Weill Cornell Medical College, you’ll receive proper anesthesiology training in patient care, academic medicine, and research. Also, Weill Cornell’s anesthesiology training involves a didactic and clinical curriculum that prepares you for the most competitive and rigorous fellowship programs and academic careers.

Hence, you’ll take clinical rotations at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Hospital for Special Surgery throughout your four years of the residency program.

And by the time you’re done, you’ll have complete knowledge and experience about regional anesthesia and acute pain medicine, chronic pain management, critical care medicine, neuro anesthesia, global health, etc.

Meanwhile, an MD degree towards an anesthesiologist career at Weill Cornell goes for yearly tuition of $58,760 for four years.

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If you’ll love to become a Sports Physician instead, see How to Become A Sports Medicine Physician: Job Details, Salary, Career

How Much Does it Cost to Get an Anesthesiologist Degree?

Education for anesthesiologists is quite long and as expensive as it is long. You will spend four years getting an undergraduate degree, four years for medical school, and three to four years for the anesthesiology residency program. At every stage of education, you’ll incur costs in tuition, student insurance, and living costs.

Hence, you’ll have the following breakdown:

  • Undergraduate Tuition – between $8,000 to $40,000, although some private schools will charge higher than this range.
  • Undergraduate Living Cost and Insurance – $8,000 to $12,000. Although, this will depend on your location.
  • Medical School tuition, fees, and health insurance – $12,000 to $85,000

Taking the average of these prices, we’ll have $24,000 for a four-year undergraduate education, $10,000 for undergraduate living cost and health insurance, and $48,500 for medical school. This gives a total cost of $82,500.

However, this is a yearly estimate. So, multiplying this by four years, you’ll get $330,000 for the duration of your degree.

Also, being an average cost figure, this should serve as the least amount you’ll pay to acquire an anesthesiologist degree.

How Can I Become an Anesthesiologist?

We have explained the educational requirements to get a degree and become an anesthesiologist earlier. But more than that here is a comprehensive summary of how to become an anesthesiologist and grow in the career.

  • Get your high school diploma or equivalent
  • Attend a high school summer medical program if possible
  • Volunteer at a hospital before college – You’ll need the experience
  • Take and pass college entrance exams
  • Complete a bachelor’s degree in pre-med or a related field
  • Prepare for medical school entrance exams
  • Apply for medical school
  • Consider enrolling in a BA/BS and MD program
  • Learn the fundamentals of medicine in your first two years
  • Complete a four-year anesthesiology residency program
  • Find out the requirements for anesthesiologist licensing or certification in your state
  • Get in touch with the licensing board in the US
  • Become board certified
  • Find work as an anesthesiologist

If you do all these, you are sure to lead a rewarding anesthesiologist career.

How To Become An Anesthesiologist FAQs

How long does it take to become an anesthesiologist?

It takes at least twelve (12) years to become an anesthesiologist. Four years of undergraduate education; four years of medical school; and four years of an anesthesiologist residency program.

How hard is it to become an anesthesiologist?

It could be really tough to become an anesthesiologist, being that you will go through twelve years of intense study. Part of your anesthesiology educational requirement is attending a medical school, which is usually very hard in the USA because of the competitive nature of medical schools in the USA. It may not be enough to just get good MCAT scores to get admitted into a medical school, your personality and goals are also determinants.

How much does it cost to become an anesthesiologist?

It costs an average of $330,000 to become an anesthesiologist. You will spend an average of $34,000 yearly for undergraduate education and an average yearly cost of $48,500 for medical school. Your residency program may not cost you as you will be paid as a resident. However, you may still incur additional costs towards completing your program during the period.

Are Anesthesiologists in high demand?

Yes, there is a good demand for anesthesiologists. According to BLS, 31,060 jobs were available for anesthesiologists in 2018 and this is estimated to grow by 5.6% from 2018 to 2028.

Do Anesthesiologists get paid during residency?

Yes, Anesthesiologists, just like other medical professionals who go for residency, receive payment for their services while undergoing clinical training. However, the payment will range from $40,000 to $50,000 yearly. The amount should pay some of their bills.

Are Anesthesiologists rich?

Licensed Anesthesiologists earn a fortune for practicing their profession. According to BLS, Anesthesiologists make $267,020 yearly, a six-figure salary that gets better depending on the location and work environment you find yourself.

What grades do you need to be a anesthesiologist?

To get into medical school as an anesthesiologist, you’ll need to meet the stiff medical school grades which is at least five GCSEs at grades A* or A, including English and maths and at least grade B in science. Also, depending on the school, you will also need a minimum of three A levels at grades AAA or AAB in chemistry and either biology, physics or maths, plus another academic subject.

In Conclusion

An Anesthesiologist career is one of the most fulfilling and enriching careers both in the medical field and generally. However, becoming one is a different ball game that requires determination and passion for the career. It will take you twelve years of anesthesiology education and schooling to be able to get the right degree you need to become an anesthesiologist. We have provided you one of the simplest guides with rich information on to lead you to become an anesthesiologist and we hope you find it useful.

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