How to Become an Anesthesiologist?

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An anesthesiologist is a professional doctor who designs and implants plans to pass the patient safely through surgery and also provides pain relief services to patients who suffer from chronic pain, during labor, delivery, and ICU patients. 

American Society of Anesthesiologist, defined “Anesthesiology is the practice of medicine dedicated to the relief of pain and care of patients before, during, and after the surgery.” 

Each year, around 90% of Anesthesiologists are involved in approximately 40 million surgical procedures that are carried out under anesthesia.  

An anesthesiologist is a physician who delivers narcotics and analgesic and other pain-relieving medication to the patient during surgeries, in the Intensive Care Unit and to a person who suffers from severe pain. They work as a medical team member, with the surgeon, physician, CRNA, AA to formulate a pain treatment plan before, during, and after surgical procedure.

The anesthesiologist must possess strong communication, leadership, problem-solving and organizational skills, along with artistry, empathy, and physical stamina. An anesthesiologist must have all-inclusive medical knowledge and skill to use specialized medical equipment and computer software. 

Anesthesiologist schooling:

To become an anesthesiologist, you typically need to prepare for;

Preparation for Medical school:

Before starting medical school to get a bachelor’s degree, the student must have an undergraduate degree in any discipline or specifically in pre-medical, along with chemistry, physics, mathematics, and English is essential.   

Medical school student doing chemistry experiment
Sometimes chemistry Practicals can look cool,
in your medical school studies.

To get admission in Medical school, admission test or Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is taken to assess a candidate’s knowledge in subjects like physics, biology, chemistry, problem-solving and critical thinking. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), a GPA from 3.5-4.0 is considered as successful applicants to medical school. 

Volunteering and internships in health care can also increase the chance to get admission in medical school. 

 Have a Bachelor’s  Degree:

To be an anesthesiologist, you have to complete a 4-years bachelor’s program in Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DOM).

These 4-years of medical school, you spend the first 2-years in the classroom and laboratories to study subjects like anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, medicine, and also learn skills like taking a medical history, examine patients, make diagnosis and treatment.   The last 2-years, you will participate clinically in hospitals and clinics under the supervision of experienced physicians.    

Complete a Residency:

After attaining a bachelor’s degree in MD or DOM, an anesthesiologist will spend more than 4-years completing a residency program. The residency program is a clinical base year means having rotations in various hospitals. The remaining 3-years are devoted to Clinical Anesthesia (CA) training.

 The first year of CA training consists of working under the faculty adviser, who demonstrates basic instruction on the fundamental principle of anesthesia. In the second-year of CA training, residents will participate and practice in rotations related to anesthesia subspecialties like cardiac anesthesia, pediatric anesthesia, and regional anesthesia. 

In the last 2-years of CA training, the resident has a choice from continuing advanced clinical training or to do clinical research.

Obtain State and National medical license:

For State Medical License, an anesthesiologist must apply through the medical board in the state where they plan to practice. Graduation degree from an accredited medical school, completing residency training in CA, and passing in practical and written exams, all are the typical process for obtaining a state license. 

United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is required for national medical licensing. USMLE consists of 3 steps, the first two steps can be taken during or after graduation. while the third step accomplished after receiving the MD degree. 

Board Certification:

American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) and the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) are board organizations, which give opportunities for the anesthesiologist to become board certified.   

What does an Anesthesiologist do?

The anesthesiologist looks after the patient to prevent the pain, otherwise, the patient will experience distress. The type of pain relief given during surgery may include;

  • General anesthesia   
  • Local or regional anesthesia
  • Sedations

Relief pain before, during, and after surgery:

Before the surgery, your surgeon will recommend you to the anesthesiologist for “anesthesia fitness.” anesthesia fitness is also called a preoperative assessment, which includes a proper history of a patient, physical examination, laboratory workup, drug history, and perioperative risk assessment which describe the physical state of the patient and the type of anesthetic administration.     

During the surgery, the anesthesiologist is responsible for the medical management of the patient and monitor the patient’s vitals, bodily functions, and provide medications suited to the patient’s needs.

The anesthesiologist continues to be responsible for the patient’s care until the patient recovers from the anesthesia effect after the surgery.  

 Role in critical and emergency  care :

The anesthesiologist also plays a dominant role in critical, emergency, and trauma care units to assess patients, make a diagnosis, and provide support for breathing and circulation.  The anesthesiologist also contributes to emergency medicine, CPR, BLS, as well as pain control management in critical care and emergency.     

Anesthesiologist can specialize in:  

The anesthesiologist is trained to support surgical intervention and pain management, but they can also specialize in a specific area, include;

  • Cardiac anesthesiologist.
  • Pediatric anesthesiologist
  • Neuro-anesthesiologist
  • Obstetrics anesthesiologist

Anesthesiologist Salary:

According to estimation, anesthesiologist means annual salary is $292,369 as of January 2020.

The average estimation of anesthesiologist salary in the U.S is $388,300 as of April 27, 2020.

The highest-paid salary in anesthesiologist profession at;

  • Elkhart (India) –> $289,910
  • Tampa ( Florida) –> $289,730
  • Omaha (Nebraska) –> $287,370
  • Cleveland (Ohio) -> $283,530 

In Pakistan the average anesthesiologist salary is Rs. 5,890,784, with an equivalent hourly rate, is Rs. 2,832. 

Salaries of an Anesthesiologist is based on the level of qualification, experience, and skills.


 CRNA and A.A, both the field have different study curriculum, post, and responsibilities.

CRNA is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, who can work individually without the guidance of an anesthesiologist. CRNA has to complete a  BSc degree in nursing and get authorized registration. Later on, completing a one-year internship in the medical intensive care unit and surgical intensive care unit. CRNA is fully capable of handling cases in any sector.     

 While, AA stands for the Anesthesiologist assistant, who is nonphysician and always has to work under the guidance of an anesthesiologist. AA is qualified by advanced studies and clinical training so they can work with the anesthesiologist. The study curriculum has a requirement of a bachelor’s degree and qualifying exam for the post of Anesthesiologist assistant. AA has a lot of work like general checkups of a patient, taking blood samples, evaluating preoperative health status, and pre and post-care with the anesthesiologist.

Anesthesiologist Vs Nurse Anesthetist:

American Society of Anesthesiologist define the difference in Anesthesiologist and Nurse Anesthetist are;

  • An anesthesiologist is a Doctor of Medicine (M.D) who specializes in anesthesia care, while the nurse anesthetist is a nurse with extra training in administering anesthetics.
  • Anesthesiologists and Nurse Anesthetist both work together in the anesthesia care team, but an anesthesiologist is a person who makes critical and medical decisions for patient care.  
  • An anesthesiologist is a physician, who has at least 8-years of postgraduate education and training, while nurse anesthesiologist has 2-3 years of training.
  • The nurse anesthetist is technically an expert in the administration of anesthesia, but an anesthesiologist has education, training, and skill to manage patients and respond to medical complications.  

The top 5 medical schools for the anesthesiologist 

Top 5 medical school include;


 The anesthesiologist is the MD doctors who further specialize in the anesthesia field and trained to administer and manage anesthesia given during surgical procedures. The anesthesiologist care team consist of physician anesthesiologist ( often leads the Anesthesia Care Team), Nurse anesthetists, anesthesiologist assistant, and anesthesiologist resident physician (who guide and teach you throughout your entire surgical experience).

Being an anesthesiologist is a good idea but needs hard work.