Advancement Opportunities for Anesthesiologists

An anesthesiologist specializes in the administration of anesthesia for patient care. Career options can lead an experienced anesthesiologist into the field of education, or up the ladder into healthcare management.

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Anesthesiologist Career Advancement

Anesthesiologists are responsible for administering anesthesia, either general or local, during patient procedures. Once anesthesia is administered, it's the job of the anesthesiologist to monitor the patient, maintaining regular communication either directly with the patient or with the practicing physician. Education and training are similar to that of a physician, including medical school, residency, and necessary certifications. Anesthesiology is often a lucrative, but often highly stressful, healthcare role. An anesthesiologist looking for a career change may find the pace of higher education appealing, or they may choose to move up into managerial positions within the healthcare field. A look at three advancement options are given here, including responsibilities and requirements for each.

Job Title Median Annual Salary Job Growth (2016-26)* Qualifications
Postsecondary Anesthesiology Teacher $97,370 (2018; health specialties teachers)* 26% (health specialties teachers) Active license in the school's state
Chief of Anesthesiology $306,200 (2019)** 15% (all anesthesiologists) Clinical practice and management experience
Chief Medical Officer $293,120 (2019)** -4% (chief executives) Active medical license; 8+ years of management experience

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **

Career Information

Postsecondary Anesthesiology Teacher

The experience that a seasoned anesthesiologist can share with aspiring medical students is a valuable resource. Anesthesiologists may find the instructive atmosphere of a college classroom an appealing change of pace. Teaching opportunities at the college and university level include adjunct (often part-time) and faculty (full-time) positions, with tenure-track positions being the most sought-after postings. Postsecondary teachers are required to instruct and assess students in their field of study, provide office hours for advisement, and serve on campus committees. Some universities require full-time faculty to produce research as a part of their teaching load. An active license in the school's state is often required.

Chief of Anesthesiology

An experienced anesthesiologist can move into the role of chief anesthesiologist within a hospital system or medical center. The chief anesthesiologist directs staff within the anesthesiology department, ensuring the highest level of care, addressing staffing concerns, and monitoring equipment and supplies. This position may also be responsible for the center's licensure and other clinical privileges in relation to the administering of various forms of anesthesia. The role of chief anesthesiologist requires several years of clinical practice, and may also require previous management experience.

Chief Medical Officer

A chief medical officer (CMO) provides executive medical leadership within a hospital or medical facility, reporting directly to the CEO. Anesthesiologists with proven managerial experience and medical administration savvy may aspire to this high-level healthcare role. CMOs are responsible for overseeing the clinical performance for the entire facility, analyzing service and procedure data and making recommendations based on their findings to ensure a consistent, high quality level of healthcare. They also make sure the facility remains compliant on federal, state, and local levels. This job requires an understanding of how all facility departments work together and the skill to communicate clearly to a wide variety of physicians, directors, and medical staff. A medical degree, an active medical license, and significant management experience are requirements for this position.

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