Anesthesiologist Salary And Job Description

by conklinmedia on January 30, 2019

Insert Imageanesthesiologist in operating room

Interested in a career as an anesthesiologist, but unsure about how to pursue it, what it entails, or what it pays? Anesthesiologists are the medical doctors responsible for administering anesthesia to patients and monitoring their behavior and health before, during, and after the medical procedure they are undergoing. They also work to contribute to their patient’s pain management plans.

Anesthesiologists work with surgeons and other fellow medical professionals to ensure that each patient they treat will be comfortable and safe both during their procedure and when they go home afterwards. Their extensive time spent working to ensure the comfort of the patient enables them to build personal and lasting bonds with their patients, which ultimately leaves the anesthesiologist with a massive sense of accomplishment.

If you are considering becoming an anesthesiologist, it is important to keep in mind that while the job can prove stressful, it’s also rewarding. Continue reading for more information about anesthesiologists, including how to become one, what they do, and the average anesthesiologist salary.

What Is An Anesthesiologist?

Besides being responsible for the administration of anesthesia to patients, anesthesiologists are also responsible for monitoring the patients’ behavior and health both during and after the medical procedure they are undergoing. They do this with the ultimate amount of scrutiny and dedication so they will be able to easily and quickly identify if something is wrong.

laddies lying down in the emergency room and having a oxygen

Anesthesiologists administer anesthetics, or medication, to patients for several reasons, whether it be cardiac surgery, childbirth, or dental work. They will meet with their patients before the appointment to review the patient’s medical history, current condition, and to discuss with the patient what they can expect the day of the procedure and what to expect when they go home afterwards. 

During the procedure, they will continually monitor the patient’s condition, making judgement calls on when to administer more anesthetics to ensure that the patient is as comfortable as possible. After the procedure is over, the anesthesiologist will check up on the patient to make sure all has gone well, and he or she may work with the surgeon who performed the procedure to design a pain-management plan.

The job of an anesthesiologist can be stressful as the decisions of the anesthesiologist will directly affect the health and overall life of the patient. It is important for individuals who aspire to become an anesthesiologist understand that while the career offers many considerable rewards such as a high salary and strong relationships with patients, the job can prove quite nerve-wracking, and requires a lot of critical on-the-spot thinking.

Pros to Becoming an Anesthesiologist

Pros to Becoming an Anesthesiologist Cons to Becoming an Anesthesiologist


  • High salary on average
  • Strong bonds with patients
  • Ability to perform as a doctor without conventional stresses
  • Flexibility to work wherever you want
  • High level of involvement in patient treatment
  • Job security
  • Predicted job growth
  • Ability to earn higher rates in specialty services
  • Work-life balance as compared with other medical professionals


  • Over ten years of schooling required
  • Student loans to complete schooling (in most cases)
  • Large amount of debt after schooling
  • High levels of responsibility 
  • Decisions directly affect a patient’s health and comfort
  • Standing for long periods of time
  • Must take part in competitive residency programs
  • Must take part in competitive schooling programs

How To Become An Anesthesiologist

To become an anesthesiologist, an individual must complete a rigorous and strictly structured medical program. This program, when put together, equals to about ten years of formal school, so you must be prepared to commit at least a decade of your life to mastering the skills of an anesthesiologist. Many individuals who know they want to enter the medical field start their careers by designing their high school schedule to center on science, math, and health classes to give them a head start before attending college.


professor teach his student in front of a device

Before attending any specialized anesthesiology classes, the individual must first complete four years of schooling to receive an undergraduate degree. During these four years, many people enroll in some pre-med program that will benefit them when they attend their anesthesiology-centered classes. They may then enter an accredited anesthesiology program through a college or university, which is usually a four-year program as well.

The first two years of this program focus on completing traditional classroom studies focused mostly on math, science, and health, while the last two years focus on completing clinical training. During these clinical stages, the prospective anesthesiologists get their first taste of what it is like to work as an anesthesiologist with real patients.


the anesthesiologist professions

After the successful completion of this program and the graduation from medical school, newly graduated anesthesiologists must then complete a one-year internship, then three more years in a residency program. The residency program allows the students to do what is a trial of sorts for their future careers; their residencies will allow them to work side by side with established anesthesiologists in real-life medical settings to develop a full understanding of what will be expected of them once they officially work with patients.

Beginning Work

It is upon the completion of the residency that the anesthesiologist has completed their education, and may enter the workforce. This may seem like an overwhelming amount of schooling, but the job of an anesthesiologist is important and can sometimes present life-or-death situations, so it’s crucial for an anesthesiologist to be as well-prepared for the job as possible, so he or she does not become overwhelmed in the operating room with a patient.

anesthesiologist talking to each other

Many established anesthesiologists agree that their years spent in the residency program helped them considerably, easing their nerves about the stresses of the jobs and allowing them to ease into their career while still being under the guidance of an established and trained professional. The average anesthesiologist attends over ten years of schooling before receiving their degree and being able to enter the workforce.

This is a considerable amount of schooling, but when considering the high average anesthesiologist salary, most people go through the schooling, as they feel it will pay off with a high anesthesiologist salary. Anesthesiologists are often in high-tension and high-stress situations that require on-the-spot thinking and a trained eye to discern if something is wrong, and what action will correct it.

What Is an Average Anesthesiologist Salary?

The average anesthesiologist salary is substantially high, coming in at approximately $246,000 a year. This is considered a fair and comfortable salary for medical doctors, especially when considering both the amount of schooling is behind an anesthesiologist’s degree and certifications, as well as the risks and stress than an anesthesiologist may face with every patient they see.

In some specialty cases, the anesthesiologist salary can reach up to $400,000 per year. An example of specialized anesthesiology is the work required by an anesthesiologist during cardiac, or heart, surgeries. These surgeries take a considerably larger amount of time than other procedures and require more scrutiny on the medical professional’s part. While the average anesthesiologist salary is high, it is also important to consider the amount of debt that the mandatory ten years of schooling usually places upon individuals who become anesthesiologists.

anesthesiologist compensation chart

The average anesthesiologist reports over $140,000 in debt when all is said and done. While this can seem daunting, for many people, the benefits outweigh the risks. A lifetime career spent helping people is usually the driving factor that helps millions of individuals make it through over ten years of school to begin their careers, and most medical professionals that become anesthesiologists can confirm that their high anesthesiologist salary compensates for the large amount of debt their extensive schooling placed them in, as well as their high-stress and high-tension jobs. 


We hope this article has helped you better understand what anesthesiologists do, how to become one, and what kind of salary you could expect to make should you become one of these doctors. The career of an anesthesiologist can prove stressful and a considerable amount of hard work, but it can also prove to be beneficial and rewarding. Anesthesiologists enjoy a close bond with their patients while working one-on-one with them to manage their health during surgery or other procedures, and most thoroughly enjoy the ability to work wherever they please, with a large amount of flexibility.

While this medical career requires a large amount of schooling, it is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding and flexible careers that an individual can follow in the medical field. Not everyone is well-suited to the career of an anesthesiologist, but if you are interested in following your dreams of becoming an anesthesiologist, go forward with the information you learned here in this article to make a plan of how you would like to begin your journey towards earning a degree in anesthesiology.

It is also a good idea to visit your local hospital for more information, because even if you can not speak directly with the hospital’s anesthesiologist, you might get to speak with an anesthesiologist’s assistant or other medical professional who can supply you with valuable real-world information and tips on entering the medical field as an anesthesiologist.

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