Before attending medical school to become an anesthesiologist, a student must have a bachelor's degree. This undergraduate degree can be in any discipline but a background in the natural sciences, especially biology, is essential. Strength in chemistry, mathematics, physics and English is also needed. Some schools offer bachelor's degree programs that are specifically designed to prepare students for medical school. After passing the MCAT exam, aspiring anesthesiologists must attend 4 years of medical school. During the first year, medical students can expect to take courses in the basic sciences. The second year of medical school is focused on organ systems.
Prior to specializing in anesthesiology, all perspective anesthesiologists must graduate from a 4-year Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) program at an accredited medical school. These extremely competitive programs are renowned for their academically demanding and time-consuming nature. To be admitted to medical school, you must take the Medical College Admission Test, and supply transcripts and letters of recommendation. The admission committee generally will interview applicants and assess your personality, character and leadership qualities. The committee also will take community service, jobs and other extracurricular activities into consideration.
RESIDENCY & FELOWSHIP
Anesthesiologists in the U.S. must undergo a 4-year resident training program after graduating from medical school. The first year may be either a medical or surgical internship, followed by three years of intense training in anesthesiology. Elevated to the status of residents, these future anesthesiologists are one rung higher than interns but still only practice medicine under supervision. Expectations for performance are considerably increased for residents, who diagnose and treat patients, participate in team meetings, known as rounds, and present cases and research to professors and supervising physicians. At this stage in your training, many anesthesiologists go on to complete an additional year of study in a subspecialty. This training, called a fellowship, is within a subset of anesthesiology that may be of particular interest, such as pediatric, obstetric, cardiac, neurologic or critical care. A particularly ambitious anesthesiologist might undertake additional subsequent fellowships to combine subspecialties.
As the baby boomer population ages, the health care industry is expected to continue surging in growth, creating better-than-average job opportunities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job prospects for anesthesiologists were expected to increase 4% between 2018 and 2028. The average Anesthesiologist salary in the United States is $388,000 as of June 28, 2020, but the range typically falls between $336,500 and $441,900. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.
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