The field of anesthesiology is commonly taught in postgraduate residencies that follow four years of medical school and receipt of an M.D. or D.O. degree. Students specializing in anesthesiology will spend the first three years of medical school learning the general practice of medicine, and will specialize in anesthesiology during the fourth year. The first two years of medical school focus on anatomy and physiology along with common diseases and medical disorders. Third- and fourth-year medical students complete rotations and clerkships to acquire hands-on experience in the full range of medical practice specialties. After medical school, new physicians typically begin a residency program in their specialty of choice, which may last from three to six years. Anesthesiology is one residency specialty that may be selected.
Aspiring anesthesiologists acquire clinical experience administering pain medication in hospital settings, understanding what level of pain a patient may be suffering from, recognizing the side effects of anesthesia and addressing medical emergencies caused by pain medication. They may elect to complete pain management training specific to cardiac, neurological, geriatric, obstetrical, trauma or other conditions.
Most medical schools require that applicants complete a Bachelor of Science degree prior to entering a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program. Students can continue with a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.).
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Master's Degrees in Anesthesiology
Basic coursework provides an overview of human anatomy, genetics, cell reproduction and physiology. Students also learn about psychology, public health and immunology. Beyond their basic medical training, anesthesiology coursework focuses thoroughly on these topics:
- Pain management
- Anesthesiology in emergency medicine
- Surgical procedures
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the mean salary of anesthesiologists was $258,100 in 2015 (www.bls.gov). Overall, BLS data indicate that demand for anesthesiologists will increase by 21% in the 2014-2024 decade.
The minimum requirement to work as a physician is a 4-year medical degree and state licensure.
All doctors in the United States must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination before practicing. Those working in anesthesiology usually seek certification from recognized organizations, such as the American Osteopathic Board of Anesthesiology or American Board of Anesthesiology.
Bachelor's degree programs are not available for those looking for a degree in anesthesiology but are needed before entering a master's degree program in anesthesiology. The master's program combines clinical experience for administering pain medications and coursework in medical training and anesthesiology.