How to Become an Anesthesiologist


Authored by Carol Snider in Careers and Employment 
Published on 12-30-2008

Being an anesthesiologist may be an interesting career for some people. This is because anesthesia has a wide variety of applications, from simple dental operations to hospital emergency and operating room uses. Despite the job’s attention to detail and the amount of stress it may have along with it, anesthesiology may be a challenge that some people would want to surpass or undertake.

What Is Anesthesiology?

Anesthesia is a part of any medical or dental operation in which certain drugs are induced into the patient’s body in order to mask out the pain that the operation may introduce. In dentistry, it involves local anesthesia or anesthesia administered to one part only. Local anesthesia is also used in medicine, like in circumcision, among others. There is also what they call the general anesthesia, where the patient is knocked to sleep with his whole body numbed.

Aside from that central role of taking the pain of the surgery away from the patient, in a hospital setting, the anesthesiologist is responsible for watching over the patient. He monitors his blood pressure, heart rate and other vital signs. In other words, without an anesthesiologist around, a surgeon would be overwhelmed with the tasks of monitoring the patient and performing surgery at the same time.

So How Can One Become an Anesthesiologist?

The first step in undertaking a career in anesthesiology is to finish an undergraduate bachelor’s degree. Despite whatever they say, you don’t need a pre-medicine degree to qualify for medical school although it can be an advantage. After you get yourself an undergraduate bachelor’s degree – which takes about 4 years – you can then take an entrance exam into medical school.

It usually takes another 4 years to complete a medical degree. After this period of time and after you have completed all necessary requirements needed to graduate from med school, you are now ready for a residency program focusing on anesthesiology.

It would take another 4 years for you to complete this part of your training. After that, you may choose to take further courses on specializing on the subcategories of anesthesiology. If you choose to do so, you can go through fellowship in any hospital for at least a year or up to 3 years.

Regardless of whether or not you choose to sub-specialize, the last step to becoming an anesthesiologist is to get a Board certification. You would have to take both oral and written exams which you would have to pass in order to finally be certified as a practicing anesthesiologist.


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