Licensure and Certification
Aspiring anesthesiologists can benefit from information about licensure requirements and subspecialty certification options, as well as general career information.
Anesthesiologists are medical doctors and therefore need to be licensed. They must pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Beyond standard physician licensing, anesthesiologists must receive board certification through the American Board of Anesthesiologists after completing a residency program and a two-part exam.
To be eligible for licensure, aspiring anesthesiologists must first complete four years of medical school and go through a residency program to gain specific training in anesthesiology. Anesthesiology residency programs last for four years.
Some anesthesiologists complete an additional year of fellowship training to earn sub-specialty certification. Specialty options include critical care medicine, pain medicine, hospice, palliative medicine, pediatric anesthesiology and sleep medicine. Anesthesiologists must complete a re-certification exam once every 10 years in order to maintain standard board certification.
Anesthesiologist: Career Overview
Anesthesiologists are physicians who administer local and general anesthesia before, during and after surgical procedures. They monitor patients' vitals during and after surgery in order to ensure that the patient is receiving the appropriate dosage. They also watch for adverse patient reactions, and they contribute to planning post-procedure recovery strategies.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for anesthesiologists in May 2018 was $267,020. The BLS also predicted that job opportunities in this field would increase by 4% between 2018 and 2028.
Anesthesiologists must be licensed in order to practice, and they may choose to earn certification in a particular sub field as well.