What is an Anesthesiologist?
An anesthesiologist is a specialized doctor who administers anesthesia during a surgical procedure. Providing anesthesia is a very important procedure, which is used for either removing the sense of pain temporarily from a body part (local anesthesia), or for rendering a person in a state of reversible unconsciousness (general anesthesia),. The amount and type of the anesthesia depends on the overall health and history of a patient and the surgical procedure. A proper anesthetic plan and its implementation is a critical requirement for any successful operation and this makes an anesthesiologist an integral part of a surgical team. The anesthesiologist is required throughout the operation as they are responsible for keeping the patient pain free and for maintaining the patient's vital signs.
Educational Requirements for Anesthesiology
Anesthesiology is an ideal career for people who want a challenging job, which tests their intellect, concentration and pressure handling skills. A person pursuing a career in anesthesiology has to first complete their high school and college. Biology and science courses taken in high school help in preparing the person to handle the challenges of medical school. During college, pre-medical requirements have to be completed to attain an undergraduate degree. The next step is the medical school to get the medical degree (M.D),, which takes approximately 4 years. Next in line is the residency program in anesthesiology, which also takes about 4 years. Board certification is increasingly becoming an additional requirement for advancing a career in anesthesiology. Hence, an anesthesiologist needs to give a detailed oral and written exam after the anesthesiology residency program to become board certified.
Demand for Anesthesiologists
Becoming an anesthesiologist is quite lucrative as this profession falls in the high salary category. Moreover, anesthesiologists are in great demand these days as many experienced doctors are retiring so there are slots available to be filled. The average yearly pay of an anesthesiologist is about $200,000 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is just an average and the upper spectrum of anesthesiologists earns more than $300, 000 per annum.
Further Specializations in Anesthesiology
An anesthesiologist can further specialize by doing a fellowship of 1-3 years in a sub-specialization like pain management, cardiac anesthesiology, pediatric anesthesiology, critical care medicine, neuro anesthesiology or obstetric anesthesiology. Doing a sub-specialization not only leads to an enhancement in salary but may also allow the anesthesiologist to do self-practice such as running pain clinics. In fact, pain management is a very rapidly growing sub-specialization of anesthesiology as more and more patients are learning about the concept of pain free medications to improve their quality of life.