By Diane Turner
Anesthesiologistsare a class of physicians that will provide pain relief to patients during medical procedures. They may work in a surgical or hospital setting overseeing the care of those in outpatient settings or those that will require long-term care. In these facilities the anesthesiologist will be responsible for providing pain management before and after a given procedure, which may include providing local or generalized anesthesia for the patient. Those working in research facilities will work to improve these pain management techniques, allowing for more effective pain control methods with fewer side effects to be utilized. The salary for an anesthesiologistwill vary based on the type of facility where the doctor is employed.
In order to properly administer pain controlling techniques or medications, an anesthesiologist will need to be able to evaluate the patient’s current condition as well as their medical history. They will need to have a working knowledge of how these drugs will interact with the patient’s system to avoid prescribing medications that could cause dangerous side effects. You will also be required to monitor the patient’s condition while they are sedated to ensure that the medication is not having a negative effect on the body. Anesthesiologists will also need to have strong communication skills so they can inform the patient about the medications they will experience while under the effects of these medications and how to adequately manage their condition once the procedure is over. This may include informing the patient’s family regarding any after-effects that will require their attention and care.
A great deal of education is necessary for those that are hoping to work as an anesthesiologist. Much of the reason why the average salary of an anesthesiologistis so high is because of all the time and effort associated with making your way into this field.
During high school those interested in working as an anesthesiologist are encouraged to gain a strong background in science and math to make their entrance into college-level courses easier. Once you have entered college you will need to earn a degree with high grades, preferably in a science or medical-based field. A specific major is not required, but your background will be strongly considered as you move on in the program.
Those that wish to work as an anesthesiologist will also need to attend medical school at an accredited program. This will include two years of classroom instruction and two years of clinical training. This will be followed by three years in a residency program where you will gain hands-on experience with patients. Once this is completed you will need to pass a board examination from the American Society of Anesthesiologists or the American Board of Anesthesiology to officially enter the field. In some cases, an additional one year fellowship in education, research or critical care will be necessary, but this will vary by location.
Anesthesiologist Average Salary
The anesthesiologist average salary is $234,950 though the specific salary you can expect to earn will vary. The salary of an anesthesiologist is largely based on the area of the country where they are employed, the type of training they have and the type of facility where the anesthesiologist practices.
Anesthesiologist Salary Factors and Influences
Much of the variation in salary depends on the area of the nation where the person employed. While this does not necessary break down onto state lines, there are some general statistics that can be applied. Note how average salaries around the nation change based on the area of the country where the anesthesiologist is working:
Average Salary in the South: $306,000
Average Salary in the Midwest: $311,000
Average Salary in the West: $317,500
Average Salary in the Middle Atlantic: $320,000
Average Salary in the Northeast; $322,500
As you can see, there is a distinct difference in the anesthesiologist average salary you can expect to earn based on the generalized area where you work. Much of this is dependent on the types of medical facilities that are common in these areas. Note the facilities that have the highest levels of employment:
Offices of Physicians Average Salary: $243,240
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: $200,310
Outpatient Care Centers Average Salary: $126,780
Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools Average Salary: $126,780
Offices of Other Health Practitioners Average Salary: $190,420
As you can see, some of these employers offer a salary of an anesthesiologist that is significantly lower than the national average. The facilities that see more patients and offer more advanced medical care will be more likely to offer a competitive salary for their anesthesiologists. To understand this point, compare the statistics above to the top paying industries that employ anesthesiologists across the country.
Offices of Physicians: Average Salary: $243,240
Specialty Hospitals (not including psychiatric and substance abuse facilities): Average Salary: $235,720
Outpatient Care Centers: Average Salary: $232,970
General Surgical and Medical Hospitals: Average Salary: $200,310
Offices of Other Health Practitioners: Average Salary: $190,420
Noticeably those that will be performing surgical procedures on a daily basis can afford to offer their staff a higher wage than those that will only require an anesthesiologist occasionally. The average anesthesiologist salaryis largely influenced by the availability of such facilities. Areas of the country that have more hospitals or hospitals that focus more on surgical procedures are more likely to offer competitive wages for people specializing in anesthesiology.
Anesthesiologist Salary Compared To Related Fields
A salary for an anesthesiologist tends to be higher than many other fields that are associated with assisting a physician or surgeon during their work.
Average Salary for an Anesthesiologist: $234,950
Average Salary for a Certified Medication Technician: $27,327
Average Salary for a Medical Physician’s Assistant: $91,151
Average Salary for a Surgical Physician’s Assistant: $92,868
Average Salary for a Physician Practice Operations Manager: $102,900
The average salary of an anesthesiologist tends to be higher than these other fields because those that work in this field require a great deal more education than those working as an assistant for a surgeon or physician. Many of these positions only require an associate’s degree or the appropriate training program while those that wish to work as an anesthesiologist will often need to earn a medical degree.
Anesthesiologist Salary by State
While much of the difference in salary is based on generalized areas of the nation, you can still gain valuable insight to the type of salaries available to an anesthesiologist by comparing statistics of individual states. Specific statistics regarding the salaries in sates that offer the highest salaries for anesthesiologists are not available. The top paying states that employ anesthesiologists are Wyoming, Washington, Tennessee, Oregon and New Jersey. It is estimated that the anesthesiologist salary by state in these states is over $90 per hour and over $187,199 per year.
To get a better understanding of what you can expect to earn working in this field, note the specific salary for an anesthesiologist for the states with the highest employment levels.
Anesthesiologist Salary in California: $221,990
Anesthesiologist Salary in Texas: $229,190
Anesthesiologist Salary in New York: $238,810
Anesthesiologist Salary in Illinois: $226,990
Anesthesiologist Salary in Florida: greater than $187,199 (specific salary unknown)
As you can see, these states tend to fall around the average salary offered to an anesthesiologist nationwide. Much of these salary specifics are tied to the amount that other physicians and surgeons are offered in these areas. To further compare how the average anesthesiologist salary is impacted by location, let’s compare these salaries to those that have the highest job concentrationfor anesthesiologists.
Average Salary in Alaska: above $187,199 (specific salary unknown)
Average Salary in Minnesota: $231,830
Average Salary in Kentucky: above $187,199 (specific salary unknown)
Average Salary in New York: $238,810
Average Salary in California: $221,990
Once again, these salaries fall around the average salary at the nationwide level. Because so much of these salary specifics are determined by the medical field as a whole, there is not much influence that the specific state you work in will have on your salary. Much of the difference in salaries for anesthesiologists working in different areas of the country stems from the types of facilities available in these areas.
You will also note that many of the higher paying states have smaller populations while those that are likely to hire many anesthesiologists have lower wages. This is largely because many rural areas still have difficulty gaining access to advanced medical care. There is likely to be only one anesthesiologist that will need to manage these types of treatments for whole communities in smaller states, making their services much more valuable.
Anesthesiologist Types of Salaries
Physician of Anesthesiology: Average Salary: $337,760
Physicians of anesthesiology will examine the patient to determine what type of anesthetic will be necessary for their upcoming procedure and report these findings to the medical practitioner performing the procedure. Once it comes time for the procedure, the physician will administer any spinal, intravenous or local anesthetic necessary, record the amount of anesthesia in the system and monitor the patient’s condition before, during and after the sedation. Those that wish to work in this field will need to earn a medical degree from an accredited facility along with a license to practice in this field. They will also need 2-4 years of anesthesiology experience before they can work on their own.
Anesthesia Technician: Average Salary: $35,569
Anesthesia technicians will act as assistants to the anesthesiologists, setting up any necessary equipment and preparing medications for the procedure. They will be responsible for ordering, stocking, testing and maintaining anesthesia supplies, equipment and medications for the hospital. After the procedures, the technician will wash or sterilize any reusable equipment and report any malfunctions or issues to the appropriate personnel. Those that will be working in this position will need at least an associate’s degree with 2-4 years of experience in a related field before applying. In some cases an anesthesia technician trainee program can be substituted for experience in the field.
Certified Nurse Anesthetist: Average Salary: $159,061
Nurse anesthetist will prepare any prescribed solutions and administer them to the patients following any procedures outlined by the overseeing physician. While the patient is under the influence of anesthesia, the nurse will monitor their condition and inform the physician of any necessary information regarding their status. The nurse will also be responsible for filing any necessary documents before and after the procedure and make notes in the patient’s records. Those that wish to work in this position will need to earn a master’s degree in nursing, earn certification as a nurse anesthetist and have at least two years of experience working in a nursing setting before applying.
History of Anesthesiologists
The idea of administering anesthesia to sedate a patient during a medical procedure has been around for centuries. Native Americans and the Incas would frequently administer coca leaves to provide relief for patients during medical care. Ice, acupuncture and hypnosis were also commonly administered to help relieve the pain associated with surgery. In the 1840s, opium or alcohol was frequently administered to help patients through surgical procedures. Unfortunately these substances often caused negative side effects. In 1946, Dr. William Morton began performing demonstrations using ether to sedate his patients. These effects were published, creating the first guide to modern anesthesia.
Based on these teachings, the American Medical Association and American Dental Association endorsed doctors to use these methods to sedate patients. However, given the toxic properties associated with the chemicals used at the time, many of these early methods were eliminated from regular use by the early 1900s. Today, anesthesiologists regularly study different chemicals that can safely sedate a patient with as few side effects as possible. They also focus much of their education on learning how to monitor the patient’s vital signs to ensure that the anesthesia is not negatively affecting the patient.
Anesthesiologist Salary Outlook – Conclusion
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have specific information for how the average salary for an anesthesiologist is expected to change in the upcoming years. However, the general trend in the medical field it is expected that anesthesiologists will see higher employment levels in the future. With surgical technology becoming more available, it is easier for patients to get the care they need, which means that anesthesiologists will be in higher demand to oversee these procedures.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists anticipates that the anesthesiologist average salary will be higher for those working in research institutions rather than those working in a more generalized work environment. However, while the average anesthesiologist salaryfor those working in rural or low-income settings may not be as high, the employment opportunities in these areas will be higher than those that would be working in a high-income setting.