Anesthesiologists are medical doctors who give patients drugs to relieve pain or put them to sleep during surgery.
Anesthesiologists make patients as comfortable as possible for the procedure. During the procedure, anesthesiologists monitor patients' temperature, pulse, heart, and breathing rates.
Well above the statewide median
>$80.00 / hour Read more about wages
Well above statewide average Read more about outlook
Education & Training:
|First professional degree is common.|
On the Job:
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Wages & Outlook
Nationally, the average wage for anesthesiologists is $197,570 per year.
Wages vary by years of experience, area of the country, and hours worked. The doctor's skill, personality, and professional reputation also affect wages. Self-employed anesthesiologists generally earn more than those who are not self-employed.
Anesthesiologists usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include sick leave, paid vacation, health insurance, and a retirement plan. Anesthesiologists who are self-employed must provide their own insurance and retirement plan.
View the Regional Wage Comparison Chart for:
In Minnesota, about 12,157 physicians and surgeons work in this medium-sized occupation. Anesthesiologists are part of this larger group.
About 12 percent of doctors are self-employed. Information about the percentage of self-employed anesthesiologists is not available.
- Doctors' offices
- Federal, state, and local government agencies
Much of the demand for anesthesiologists will be the result of a population that is both growing and aging. As the population grows, the number of surgical procedures will increase. In addition, elderly people are more likely than younger people to need surgery.
|Seven County Mpls-St Paul, MN||591||763||172||29.1%|
On the Job
Anesthesiologists are doctors who give patients drugs to relieve pain or put them to sleep during surgery.
When you think of anesthesia, you probably think about sleep. After all, you are being "put under" during a procedure. Yet, anesthesia is actually about the management of pain during and after surgery. Becoming voluntarily unconscious is part of that process - not the main goal.Anesthesiologists must be familiar with patients' conditions in order to determine the best way to treat them. They begin by reading patients' medical charts. They look for allergies and read the comments of family doctors and specialists. In addition, anesthesiologists meet with patients and examine them. They discuss possible risks, listen to patients' concerns, and answer questions. They also talk with other members of the medical team. Together with the patient and other doctors, anesthesiologists decide which methods and medicines to use.
On the day of the procedure, anesthesiologists talk with patients and family members. They explain what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. Nurses prepare patients for most procedures. They insert a needle in the patient's vein and start an intravenous (IV) drip. Some drugs are liquids. Anesthesiologists may add these drugs to patients' IV using a needle. For some procedures, anesthesiologists start the IV. Before inserting any needles, they may swab patients' skin with a numbing solution.
Anesthesiologists make patients as comfortable as possible for the procedure. They place or assist others in placing patients in the best position. When the surgeon is ready, anesthesiologists give patients anesthetics. General anesthetics put patients to sleep. In contrast, local or regional anesthetics allow patients to remain awake but not feel pain. When patients are awake, anesthesiologists can talk to them to check on their comfort and awareness.
During the procedure, anesthesiologists monitor patients' temperature, pulse, heart, and breathing rates. They watch for bad reactions to the drugs. In these situations, they change doses or give different drugs to counteract reactions. Anesthesiologists record the types and amounts of medicines they give. They also supervise nurses and operating room assistants. These workers help them check vital signs and monitor the medications and patients.
Some anesthesiologists have additional duties. They may respond to emergencies in the hospital. They may also teach others about managing pain in a safe way. They teach medical students who are interns or residents. They also instruct or advise other staff members. To update their skills, anesthesiologists read articles in medical journals and take classes. They may do research in pain management and publish their findings.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Read medical charts.
- Review comments of other physicians.
- Meet with, examine, and interview patients. Order tests or procedures if necessary.
- Discuss and plan sedation with other doctors, nurses, and patients.
- Tell patients and family members what to expect.
- Position patients appropriately on the operating table for the type of procedure.
- Give anesthesia or sedating medicine during medical procedures.
- Monitor equipment during and after the procedure.
- Keep track of the flow of anesthesia and patients' vital signs. Record all activities.
- Speak with patients who are awake.
- Respond to any reactions or complications from anesthesia.
- Take classes to update skills.
- After the procedure, decide when patients are stable enough to be sent home or to another ward of the hospital.
- Schedule use of medical rooms and equipment.
- May teach medical students and other staff members.
- May help with emergencies in the hospital.
- May write and publish articles.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Monitor events, materials, and surroundings.
- Assist and care for others.
- Identify objects, actions, and events.
- Document and record information.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
- Inspect equipment, structures, or materials.
- Update and use job-related knowledge.
- Work with the public.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Analyze data or information.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Evaluate information against standards.
- Provide advice and consultation to others.
- Estimate sizes, quantities, time, cost, or materials needed.
- Process information.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Control machines and processes.
- Explain the meaning of information to others.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Judge the value of objects, services, or people.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Are responsible for the health and safety of patients.
- Have a high level of social interaction with patients, family members, and other medical workers.
- Communicate daily by telephone and in person. They may also use e-mail, but less frequently.
- Work with a team of doctors, nurses, and other medical staff.
- Are responsible for the work done by the anesthesia team.
- Are placed in conflict situations where others might be unpleasant or angry on a weekly basis.
- Always work indoors in hospitals, surgical clinics, and other medical settings.
- Often wear hospital uniforms.
- Always wear protective or safety gear, such as latex gloves and protective glasses.
- Are regularly exposed to diseases, infections, and contaminants in the hospital.
- Are often exposed to radiation. They usually wear special protective gear, such as a lead apron, to protect themselves.
- Are sometimes exposed to sounds and noises that are loud or distracting.
- Are sometimes exposed to hazardous conditions.
- Work very close to patients, often within inches.
- Must be very certain that all details and tasks of the job are completed accurately. Errors can have painful or even fatal consequences for patients.
- Must remain alert to frequent changes in patients' vital signs. Must be alert to unexpected events, such as allergic reactions to anesthetics.
- Make decisions that impact their patients, doctors, and their employer on a daily basis. They may consult with other doctors prior to procedures, but during surgeries anesthesiologists make decisions about patient care without input from others.
- Set their daily tasks and goals for the day without consulting a superior first.
- Work in a competitive, stressful atmosphere where deadlines are firm.
- May repeat the same physical and mental activities.
- May work any shift, weekends, and holidays.
- May be on-call any hour of the day or night.
- May travel around town to work at surgical centers and hospitals. Anesthesiologists also travel out of town to attend conferences, workshops, and meetings.
- Typically work 40 or more hours per week.
- Usually work an established schedule.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Use hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, or controls.
- Stand or sit during procedures.
- See details of objects whether they are nearby or far away.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
- Use fingers and hands to grasp, move, or assemble very small objects.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
- Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.
- Move two or more limbs together (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while remaining in place.
- Choose quickly and correctly among various movements when responding to different signals.
- Use muscles to lift, push, pull, or carry heavy objects.
- Determine the distance between objects.
- Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
- React quickly using hands, fingers, or feet.
- Coordinate movement of several parts of the body, such as arms and legs, while the body is moving.
- Make fast, repeated movements of fingers, hands, and wrists.
- Bend, stretch, twist, or reach out.
- Adjust body movements or equipment controls to keep pace with speed changes of moving objects.
- Be physically active for long periods without getting tired or out of breath.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.
Education & Training
To work as an anesthesiologist, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or GED;
- have a bachelor's degree;
- graduate from medical school;
- complete an internship;
- complete a residency program in anesthesiology; and
- pass additional exams to become board certified.
Education after high school
To become a licensed doctor, you must complete medical school. Medical schools grant a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.M.) degree. You spend the first two years of medical school in classrooms and laboratories. You study anatomy, biochemistry, and medicines. You also learn how to take a medical history, examine patients, and make a diagnosis. During the next two years, you work in hospitals and clinics under the supervision of experienced physicians.
Entry into medical school is competitive. You should apply to several schools.
Most students who apply to medical school have a bachelor's degree. A pre-medicine or science major is good preparation. If you earn a liberal arts degree, be sure to take several courses in physics, biology, and chemistry.
While in medical school, you spend two years working as an intern in a hospital or clinic. As an intern, you rotate through different medical specialties. These include internal medicine, family medicine, obstetrics, oncology, and other hospital departments.
After medical school, you must complete a four-year residency program in anesthesia. You receive wages while you are a resident. After completing your residency, you take additional exams in anesthesiology to become board certified.
The military provides advanced training for anesthesiologists. However, it does not provide the initial training to become a doctor. Scholarships for advanced medical training are available in return for a required period of military service.
Related Programs (Current training programs available)
Fields of Study (What to study to prepare for this career)
Click on any of the Fields of Study listed below to find out more about preparing for this career.
- Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Osteopathic Medicine
Level of Education
The table below lists the level of education attained by a subset of workers in this occupation. The workers surveyed were between age 25 and 44.
|Education level attained||Percentage of workers in this occupation*|
|Less than high school diploma||0|
|High school diploma or equivalent||0|
|Some college, no degree||0|
|Doctoral (Ph.D.) or professional degree||97|
* National data for physicians and surgeons (SOC 29-1060).
Helpful High School Courses
In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from your state's graduation requirements. You need a very strong background in math and science to become a doctor. Take as many math and science courses as you can.
You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.
Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this occupation include:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Computer Applications
- Food and Nutrition
- Foreign Language
- Introduction to Health Care
- Safety and First Aid
Many anesthesiologists are self-employed. If you want to run your own business some day, you should consider taking these courses as well:
- Introduction to Business
The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.
You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.
Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career.
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.
People in this career need to:
- Read and understand work-related materials.
- Listen to others, understand, and ask questions.
- Express ideas clearly when speaking or writing.
- Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.
- Analyze ideas and use logic to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
- Identify problems and review information. Develop, review, and apply solutions.
- Understand new information or materials by studying and working with them.
- Use reasoning to discover answers to problems.
- Judge the costs and benefits of a possible action.
- Combine several pieces of information and draw conclusions.
- Concentrate and not be distracted while performing a task.
- Develop rules or follow guidelines for arranging items.
- Identify ways to measure and improve system performance.
- Determine how a system should work. Study how changes in conditions affect outcomes.
- Think of new ideas about a topic.
- Use math and science skills to solve problems.
- Add, subtract, multiply, and divide quickly and correctly.
- Check how well one is learning or doing something.
- Manage the time of self and others.
- Motivate, develop, and direct people as they work.
- Decide how to spend money to get the work done and keep track of how the money was used.
- Obtain needed equipment, facilities, and materials and oversee their use.
- Be aware of others' reactions and change behavior in relation to them.
- Look for ways to help people.
- Use several methods to teach others how to do something.
- Persuade others to approach things differently.
- Solve problems by bringing others together to discuss differences.
- Watch gauges, dials, and output to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Operate and control equipment.
- Determine the tools and equipment needed to do a job.
- Determine the causes of technical problems and find solutions for them.
- Maintain equipment on a routine basis. Determine when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
- Test and inspect products, services, or processes. Evaluate quality or performance.
- Design equipment and technology to meet user needs.
- Analyze needs and requirements when designing products.
- Identify a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in distracting material.
- Quickly and accurately compare letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns.
Reason and Problem Solve
Use Math and Science
Manage Oneself, People, Time and Things
Work with People
Work with Things
Perceive and Visualize
People in this career need knowledge in the following areas:
- Medicine and Dentistry: Knowledge of injuries, illnesses, and defects. Also includes the knowledge of setting up a plan for treatment.
- Biology: Knowledge of plants, animals, and living organisms and how they function.
- English Language: Knowledge of the meaning, spelling, and use of the English language.
- Customer and Personal Service: Knowledge of providing special services to customers based on their needs.
- Chemistry: Knowledge of the properties of substances and the changes that occur when they interact.
- Psychology: Knowledge of people, their actions, and mental processes. This may include knowledge of how to treat emotional and behavioral problems.
- Mathematics: Knowledge of the rules and uses of numbers. Areas of knowledge include arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and statistics.
- Economics and Accounting: Knowledge of producing, supplying, and using goods and services. Also includes knowledge of the methods for keeping business records.
- Physics: Knowledge of the features and rules of matter and energy. Areas of knowledge include air, water, light, heat, weather, and other natural events.
- Administration and Management: Knowledge of managing the operations of a business, company, or group.
People in this career are people who tend to:
- Consider achievement important. They like to see the results of their work and to use their strongest abilities. They like to get a feeling of accomplishment from their work.
- Consider relationships important. They like to work in a friendly, non-competitive environment. They like to do things for other people. They prefer jobs where they are not pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
- Consider independence important. They like to make decisions and try out ideas on their own. They prefer jobs where they can plan their work with little supervision.
- Consider recognition important. They like to work in jobs which have opportunities for them to advance, be recognized for their work, and direct and instruct others. They usually prefer jobs in which they are looked up to by others.
- Consider support from their employer important. They like to be treated fairly and have supervisors who will back them up. They prefer jobs where they are trained well.
- Have investigative interests. They like work activities that have to do with ideas and thinking. They like to search for facts and figure out solutions to problems mentally.
- Have realistic interests. They like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like to work with plants, animals, and physical materials such as wood, tools, and machinery. They often prefer to work outside.
- Have social interests. They like work activities that assist others and promote learning and personal development. They like to communicate with others: to teach, give advice, help, or otherwise be of service to others.
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.
Tools & Technology for Anesthesiologists
|Anesthesia inhalers or inhaler units or accessories||Intubator components or accessories|
|Accounting software||Spreadsheet software|
Licensing / Certification
Physicians must be licensed to practice in Minnesota. Applicants must:
- be of good moral character;
- graduate from an approved medical or osteopathic school;
- complete one year of clinical medical training (residency);
- complete and pass a medical exam;
- appear in person before the board; and
- not be under license suspension or revocation.
To be certified as a specialist, applicants must meet the above requirements. In addition, they must:
- complete additional years of residency; and
- pass a board certification exam.
Physicians must complete 75 hours of continuing medical education every three years to renew their licenses.
For more information, contact:
Board of Medical Practice
2829 University Ave. SE, Suite 500
Minneapolis MN 55414-3246
All states require anesthesiologists to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state.
Certifications are examinations that test or enhance your knowledge, experience or skills in an occupation or profession.
There are 16 certifications related to this career.
Click on occupations listed below to find State
of Minnesota licensing information.
Physician (Medical Doctor and Doctor of Osteopathy)
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Employers require anesthesiologists to be licensed to practice medicine. They must also have a certificate to work in anesthesiology. Many are hired by the hospital where they work during the residency years. Others begin working in a group practice.
Many anesthesiologists advance their careers by getting additional training. After many years of experience, anesthesiologists who work in hospitals or surgical centers may become administrators. They may also teach at medical schools. Those who do research or teach at universities may become department heads.
Anesthesia Associate, Anesthesia Director, Attending Anesthesiologist, Obstetrical Anesthesiologist, Physician, Staff Anesthetist, Medical Director, Medical Doctor (MD), Staff Anesthesiologist
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