The career choice of anesthesiologist has attracted a great deal of interest lately. That’s the way it has been ever since it came to be widely reported recently, that the typical anesthesiologist salary tended to be the highest of any job in this country. Young students with a talent in the sciences and in medicine are falling over themselves to find a way to qualify. Let us start at the beginning though – the question of what exactly it is that an anesthesiologist does.
In principle, the skill of an anesthesiologist is a pretty straightforward one to understand – during an operation or other surgical procedure, the anesthesiologist sits in on the procedure and administers the gas or the injections that help kill the pain or that render the patient unconscious. An anesthesiologist has to be a doctor – more specifically, he has to be an M.D. or a D.O.. The anesthesiologist happens to be one of the most important members of the surgical team, often ranking right up there with the surgeon. They need to be constantly working through any surgical procedure in cooperation with the surgeon, the surgical nurses and the technical staff. Not all anesthesiologists work administering anesthesia though.
Some anesthesiologists have their own office and work with outpatients in helping them with pain management. They prescribe painkilling medication, administer painkilling injections, and the like. People who come in to see an anesthesiologist for pain management are usually people who suffer from migraine, chronic backache, endless headaches, and other such problems.
Let us now discuss how exactly you get to become an anesthesiologist – a professional who stands to make one of the highest salaries of any job in the country. Since an anesthesiologist is a fully qualified M.D., qualifying, involves doing a full undergraduate degree in medicine that takes four years, doing an additional four years for a higher degree as an M.D., and doing a further four years of residency training. For pain management practice, one needs to accept additional training as well, for a fellowship. But that is only the part where one earns the requisite qualifications. On top of that, every physician requires several kinds of licenses to practice. An anesthesiologist needs to clear the USMLE medical licensing exam, and obtain a state medical license and a board certification in anesthesiology. Medical qualifications that a doctor has obtained from another country will need to be vetted by a local ECFMG exam too.
For the fantastic levels of training that one acquires, the anesthesiologist salary of course, is pretty fantastic. On average, an anesthesiologist makes about half a million dollars a year. Anesthesiologists who work with children make somewhat more. The work can be pretty hard. The average anesthesiologist sees about 1000 patients a year. The hours are hardly regular though. Just as with any doctor, an anesthesiologist will often find himself on call 24 hours a day. Since surgery is often required in emergencies, out-of-the-blue calls in the middle of the night can become pretty routine. But it’s a career helping people. And that should be reward enough.