Anesthesiologists are healthcare professionals with expertise in administering controlled ‘anesthesia’ prior to surgical procedures and pain management after any surgical procedures.
When it comes to choosing a career for oneself, the possibilities are endless. It so happens that when you think about opting for a career, you tend to recall anyone who possesses a degree in the respective field and idolizes their conduct towards their occupation. This is a major factor affecting one’s career choices.
For example, if you are running through a list of career options and stumble upon the profession of a teacher, you will recall teachers’ conduct towards their professions.
However, the case can be quite contrary as well. How? Well, say that you are undergoing surgery. You see the behavior of your surgeons or anesthesiologists with you and are shaken to the core by their manners. This is the moment you decide that this is what I want to be!
But in order to excel in any career, you first need to start from the basics, that is, to learn about the schooling requirements, degree, the scope of the occupation, and the average salary margin of that particular profession.
Anesthesiology Definition and Understanding:
When we think about the field of medicine, what is the first thing that comes to our minds? Surgeons? Or probably Dentists? But the field of medicine is a vast one that contains the joint efforts of many other underrated professionals as well, who work alongside the surgeons and the dentists.
One such sub-study in the field of medicine, which is as important, if not more, like dentistry or surgery, is anesthesiology.
These fields neither differ in their vitality nor their career requirements. In fact, surgeons and anesthesiologists stand on the same aisle in terms of importance, as both professionals are responsible for saving human lives.
It would not be wrong to say that an anesthesiologist’s job is no less significant than that of a general physician.
And so, in this article, we will be discussing, in detail, who an anesthesiologist is, in addition to their job requirements and the level of education required to start their career. Moreover, you will also be learning about the top 5 schools known for their degrees in anesthesiology and the average pay rate of anesthesiologists.
So without further ado, let’s get into the main subject.
Who is an Anesthesiologist?
Anesthesiologists are “specialized doctors who are in charge of administering the drugs (anesthesia) to control the pain of patients, before, after or during surgical procedures.”
Hence, the main responsibility of an anesthesiologist is to ascertain optimal patient safety, in addition to monitoring the vital signs of patients during surgery.
Simply put, an anesthesiologist is a person who provides relief to the patients’ pains which puts them to slumber right before surgery.
What are the basic traits of anesthesiologists?
- Must have sufficient knowledge of physiology and pharmacology.
- Must be well-informed about the techniques used to facilitate vital organ functions during anesthetic procedures.
- Should be knowledgeable about administering anesthetics to patients to put them in a state of unconsciousness to perform major surgical procedures.
Job Description of an Anesthesiologist:-
- Determining the pain points of patients before carrying out surgeries by taking subjective data from patients, so as to create a pain management plan for them and to determine the right type of anesthesia; such as local, spinal, and general anesthesia.
- Maintaining the health of patients and managing their recoveries during medical procedures and post-surgery.
- Evaluating, monitoring, and supervising patient care.
- Administering pain medications under different circumstances.
- Possessing deep insight on the side effects of various anesthetic agents and evaluating ways to minimize adverse effects on patients’ health.
- Superintending the aftermaths of surgery and monitoring outpatients’ conditions.
The Work Scope of Anesthesiologists:-
Anesthesiologists are basically found in all the hospitals where surgical procedures take place. The anesthesiologists administer the pain medication to patients upon requirement or perform their job for all anesthesia administered surgical procedures.
Moreover, you are likely to find anesthesiologists at:
- Offices of physicians
- General medical and surgical hospitals
- Specialty hospitals (excluding Psychiatric and Substance abuse)
- Outpatient Care Centers
- Academic Medical Centers
- Military bases
Subject Scope in Anesthesiology:-
Just like general medical students, anesthesiologists can also specialize in certain areas of anesthesiology to increase the worth of their degree by acquiring proper training and skills.
Following are some of the areas in which anesthesiologists can specialize:
- Orthopedic anesthesia
- Critical care anesthesia
- Neurosurgical anesthesia
- Pediatric anesthesia
- Cardiothoracic anesthesia
- Obstetric anesthesia
- Hospice and palliative anesthesia.
Average Pay Rate of Professional Anesthesiologists?
Anesthesiology is considered one of the highly remunerative professions in the entire field of medicine. Not only medical but anesthesiology was recorded to be the highest paying occupation in the United States of America, with surgeons occupying the second place in the list (source: research by the Statista Research Department- May 2020.)
According to the research, anesthesiologists earned an average of $271,440 in the said year. It is estimated that the employment rate of this profession is all set to rise by 5.6% from 2018 to 2028.
But this was the average salary of anesthesiologists. In reality, the salary of an anesthesiologist depends upon a variety of factors, two of them, occupying a prime spot; the type of industry, and the location. Mentioned below is the salary level according to both the determinants:
Average pay rate of anesthesiologists based on the types of industries:-
- Offices of physicians – $276,990
- General medical and surgical hospitals – $209,260
- Specialty hospitals – $280,400
- Outpatient Care Centers – $273,080
- Other offices (for example, dentistry) – $195,350.
Pay Rate of Anesthesiologists Based on Location:-
The salaries of anesthesiologists vary as per the locations as well. Some states require the services of anesthesiologists more than others.
Here are the top 5 states in the US on the basis of wages and employment level of anesthesiologists:
- Texas – $260,690 Employment level: 3,860
- California – $288,420 Employment level: 3,500
- New York – $255,500 Employment level: 1,500
- Florida – $289,390 Employment level: 1,470
- Ohio – $285,000 Employment level: 1,330
Educational Requirements to Become an Anesthesiologist in 2021:-
The entry-level job requirement of becoming an anesthesiologist is a bachelor’s degree in medicine & surgery. However, to receive a handsome income as a professional anesthesiologist, here is what you need to do:
- Complete a bachelor’s degree program in medicine & surgery:-
The scholastic procedure of anesthesiologists is similar to that of a general physician. The most essential requirement of becoming an anesthesiologist is to graduate from a medical college. This, however, would require an undergraduate degree in medicine & surgery.
Even though medical colleges do not have any particular requirements as to which field one should initially graduate from, the subjects of biology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics are a must to be covered in your undergraduate degree. For this reason, our recommendation is to acquire a degree in medicine and surgery specialization.
- Enroll into medical school:-
After completing your 4 years in university and getting an undergrad degree, the next step is to apply to a medical college. This also takes 4 years to complete, on the completion of which, you will be awarded a Doctor of Medicine (M.D) or a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O) degree.
Disclaimer: Getting into medical college isn’t as easy as it sounds. The primary reason for this, being the colleges’ criteria to select only a handful of bright students from a pool of applicants. The merit will be considered on the basis of students’ GPA, their letters of recommendation, and their Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores. So, it’s okay to take several attempts.
- Graduate from medical college:-
In order to advance in your career as an anesthesiologist, you will need to ace those 4 years in medical college.
The first two years of the said duration will envisage core theoretical medicine subjects. These include microbiology, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, anatomy, and medical ethics.
The remaining two years will focus on the practical side. You will experience medical rotations and gain more hands-on experience by treating patients.
During these rotations, you will get a chance to develop a deeper understanding of the sub-specialties like pediatrics, cardiology, gynecology, and geriatrics. This will help you set future scholastic and career goals for yourself and will further clear your vision.
- Complete a Residency Program in Anesthesiology:-
As an anesthesiology student, you will find the number 4, crossing your path quite often. Yes, you guessed it right! There are another 4 years of study awaiting you after you graduate from medical college.
Only, this set of 4 years will give you an even enhanced clinical exposure as compared to the previous 8 years.
From these 4 years, 1 will contain clinical rotations and internships, while the remaining 3 would be pure theoretical education regarding anesthesiology.
- Consider a sub-specialty fellowship:-
If you still have the guts to get further education in anesthesiology, then you can polish your skillset by spending a year or two more by joining a fellowship program.
Fellowship, however, requires a 4-year residency program as a must. It is, nevertheless, completely optional; but will lead to a more professional level of employment as well as income.
- Get Your Anesthesiology License:-
In order to certify yourself as a medical practitioner, you need to have licensure for which you may need to take a licensure test to qualify for it. And anesthesiologists are no exception!
The license is state-dependent. This means that you must get it issued from the state you are practicing in. Getting an anesthesiologist license calls for a two-part examination along with the fulfillment of other state requirements.
- Get Board- Certified:-
Even though getting certified by the Board is not mandatory, yet the feeling of using the title of “Board Certified Anesthesiologist” is one that almost all anesthesiologists wish to experience. Also, because giving one last exam after bearing those hectic 12 years is not bad for a deal.
You can get your Board certificate either from the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) or the American Board of Physician Specialists (ABPS) by clearing their certification exam.
Best Schools to Study Anesthesiology in 2021:-
When it comes to choosing an accredited university, a medical college, and a school for your residency program, the list is a lengthy one.
There are a number of universities from where you can earn yourself an undergraduate degree. The real task is to choose a medical college and a school to get enrolled in a residency program in the United States.
Below mentioned are some of the best medical schools in the US that you can attend for your residency program in anesthesiology; as a residency program is a step towards the practical side of the subject.
So take a good read of these top 5 Residency Programs in Anesthesiology in the US for 2021, along with their costs and pick one as per your feasibility and get prepared for your professional life as an anesthesiologist.
- Columbia University Department of Anesthesiology:-
Columbia University, in association with its Irving Medical Center, makes its name to the list of USA’s top-ranking anesthesiology schools. Ranking 6th in the US News and World Report, this prestigious school consists of a highly qualified staff of 4,500 members and a student pool of 1,500 medical college graduates.
In operation for more than three centuries, this institute has excelled in delivering quality education to flourishing anesthesiologists. By getting enrolled in Columbia University for your residency program, you will gain experience in one of the best hospitals for interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery, polishing you as a compassionate physician and a skilled clinician.
An MD degree at Columbia University costs around $59,364 yearly.
- Department Of Anesthesiology- Washington:–
The Washington University School of Medicine is yet another school to gain clinical exposure as an anesthesiologist.
This private university has an extensive Anesthesiology program, offering advanced and categorical training for 3 and 4 years respectively. These programs start off with internships and clinical rotations in areas including Cardiology, surgery, dentistry, emergency medicine, clinical simulation, etc.
By completing your Anesthesiology Residency Program from the Washington University, you will be eligible to work independently as well as to apply for a Board-certificate by the American Board of Anesthesiology.
The average cost at the Washington University in the said program approximates nearly $66,913 per year.
- Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care:-
Ranked #3 by the US News and World Reports, the University of California, San Francisco makes its name amongst one of the top medical schools in the US, particularly for its department of anesthesiology.
The UCSF offers its anesthesiology students, exposure to six different medical centers including the UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center. Those, passing their residency program from the UCSF will find themselves academically accomplished and prone to facing challenges and availing opportunities as an enthusiastic anesthesiologist.
The UCSF charges differently from California residents and non-California residents. The former, being charged $41,532 while the latter, $53,777.
- Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care:-
Imparting quality education, not just theoretical, but practical as well, to over 1,200 residents is the Penn Medicine. Being in operation from 1765, the anesthesiology program by Penn Medicine focuses on the more traditional way of tending to patients’ pains by an amalgamation of education and research.
Graduating as a resident from Penn Medical, you will develop in yourself, the traits as a leading anesthesiologist in intensive care units, an expert in operation theatres, and a veteran in pain clinics.
The tuition fee for the above-mentioned program in Penn Medical values nearly $59,910 per academic year.
- Department Of Anesthesiology- Weill Cornell Medicine:-
Last, but not least on our list is the private, nonprofit medical school in New York, the USA by the name of Weill Cornell Medicine. Drawing the attention of more than 6,000 medical school applicants on a yearly basis, this institute has been declared the 12th best medical school in the US by the US News and World Reports.
By getting enrolled in this residency program by the Weill Cornell Medicine, you will gain clinical exposure at the Presbyterian Hospital- New York and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center throughout the 4 years of your residency program.
An MD degree at Weill Cornell Medical will tighten your pocket by $58,760 every year, for 4 years.
Cost of Professional Anesthesiologist Degree in 2021:
Since the time duration for the completion of an anesthesiologist degree is very long, the cost moves in a directly proportional ratio. An anesthesiologist degree takes a total of 12 years to complete- 4 in university, 4 in medical college, and the remaining 4 in a medical school for completing a residency program; minus the time taken to get licensure, board certification, and fellowship.)
Plus, at every stage, you will not only be paying for the tuition fee, but also for accommodation costs and student insurance. These expenses will, therefore, have the following breakdown:
- Undergraduate tuition fee: $8,000 to $40,000 (rates may be higher in case of private universities)
- Undergraduate living cost and insurance expense: $8,000 TO $12,000 (depending upon your location)
- Medical college tuition fee, living accommodation, and insurance cost: $12,000 to $85,000
Taking the average of these sums, we will be left with nearly
- $24,000 for an undergrad degree
- $10,000 for under-grad living accommodations and insurance cost
- $48,500 for medical college.
Leaving us with a grand total of $82,500.
Think the sum is a bit too much? Wait till you hear that this is the yearly estimate. Multiplying this cost by 4 years of education leaves us with $330,000 for the entire duration of your degree.
Plus, this sum is merely an average, so keep in mind that this will be the least that will loosen your pocket. Hence, be prepared for a bill of an even greater amount.
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