Anesthesiology is the medical specialty that manages the care of patients before, during, and after surgery. Those who practice anesthesiology are called anesthesiologists or anesthetists. To carry out their jobs, these individuals must use skills associated with other medical specialties like intensive care, emergency medicine, and pain medicine.
Anesthesiologists help minimize the amount of pain felt by a patient undergoing surgery. They also make sure the patient is relaxed or, more common, asleep during procedures. An anesthesiologist must consider many variables when planning dosages for general anesthesia, sedation drugs, and pain medication. This requires the anesthesiologist to have a strong knowledge of the procedure being performed as well as the patient’s current health and history.
To find out what it takes to become an anesthesiologist and what you should expect to earn on the job, continue reading below.
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Medical graduates looking to become anesthesiologists must complete a four-year anesthesiology residency program. Between 2018 and 2019, according to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education there were 6,507 anesthesiology residents. Roughly 13% of these individuals identified as international medical graduates.
Those looking to further specialize after completing residency may elect to complete a two-year fellowship in one of the following subspecialties: cardiothoracic anesthesia, critical care anesthesia, neurosurgical anesthesia, obstetric anesthesia, regional anesthesia, pediatric anesthesia, and hospice and palliative anesthesia.
Practicing as an Anesthesiologist
At present, there are over 30,000 anesthesiologists in the United States. Health officials predict a shortage of professionals in this specialty in the coming years, making it a reasonable choice for current medical students and recent graduates still weighing options.
The average anesthesiologist can expect to earn just shy of $400,000 each year. This is a reasonable salary when job satisfaction is taken into account. Roughly 92% of practicing anesthesiologists report that they feel very satisfied or satisfied with their jobs.
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