Approximately 34,500 anesthesiologists are employed in the United States. Anesthesiologists can find employment in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, managed-care offices, prisons, schools and universities, research laboratories, trauma centers, clinics, and public health centers. Some are self-employed in their own or group practices.
Jobs for anesthesiologists are available all over the world, although licensing requirements may vary. In developing countries, there is great demand for medical professionals of all types. Conditions, supplies, and equipment may be poor and pay is minimal, but there are great rewards in terms of experience. Many doctors fulfill part or all of their residency requirements by practicing in other countries.
Anesthesiologists interested in teaching may find employment at medical schools or university hospitals. There are also positions available in government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration.
There are no shortcuts to entering the medical profession. Requirements are an M.D. degree, a licensing examination, a one- or two-year internship, and a period of residency that may extend as long as five years (and seven years if pursuing board certification in a specialty).
Upon completing this program, which may take up to 15 years, physicians are then ready to enter practice. They may choose to open a solo private practice, enter a partnership practice, enter a group practice, or take a salaried job with a managed-care facility or hospital. Salaried positions are also available with federal and state agencies, the military, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, and private companies. Teaching and research jobs are usually obtained after other experience is acquired.
Anesthesiologists who work in a managed-care setting or for a large group or corporation can advance by opening a private practice. The average physician in private practice does not advance in the accustomed sense of the word. Their progress consists of advancing in skill and understanding, in numbers of patients, and in income. They may be made a fellow in a professional specialty or elected to an important office in the American Medical Association or American Osteopathic Association. Teaching and research positions may also increase a physician's status.
Some anesthesiologists may become directors of a laboratory, managed-care facility, hospital department, or medical school program. Some may move into hospital administration positions.
An anesthesiologist can achieve recognition by conducting research in new medicines, treatments, and cures, and publishing their findings in medical journals. Participation in professional organizations can also bring prestige.
An anesthesiologist can advance by pursuing further education in a subspecialty or a second field such as biochemistry or microbiology.
Tips for Entry
For comprehensive information on a career as an anesthesiologist, visit AnesthesiaZone (http://www.anesthesiazone.com).
Visit https://www.asahq.org/resources/resources-for-medical-students for information on medical education, residencies, and fellowships.
Conduct information interviews with anesthesiologists and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field.