• You will be making life-saving decisions.
  • There is great demand for this work, and anesthesiologists will usually have flexibility to work wherever they want to geographically.
  • Anesthesiologists work in a variety of situations on a day-to-day basis, every day is different.


  • The potential for lawsuits are high from patients for possible medical malpractice.
  • You will need to be a people person as you are working with people who will be very vulnerable.
  • This is not a good career for people who do not like pressure situations.


An anesthesiologist is someone who administers pain relief to patients. They administer anesthesia to patients for surgical procedures that would prove too painful if the patient was conscious for the operation. Anesthesiologists are medical doctors that have been specially trained to deliver pain controlling drugs through residency programs that are dedicated to this role after they have completed their coursework in medical school.

The anesthesiologist has a role before, during and after surgery. Prior to surgery, they work with intake nurses to determine the best course of anesthesia delivery for the patient. They do this by studying a person’s physical attributes and medical history. Just prior to surgery, anesthesiologists use drugs to put patients into an unconscious state. They then monitor patients on their vital statistics during surgery as critical care specialists. Once surgery has been completed, they make sure patients are returned to consciousness.

During the entire medical process, anesthesiologists are working with other doctors to administer correct treatments and provide care to patients. Outside of the surgical room, anesthesiologists have a role in working with patients on pain relief after a surgical procedure has been completed. They also spend time working with patients in the emergency room, the intensive care unit, during labor and consulting with patients who suffer from chronic pain.


Anesthesiologists are trained physicians. As such, the amount of education to enter the field is immense – four years of undergraduate work as a pre-med major, four years in medical school, and three to five years in residency. In order to gain entry into medical school, students are required to study as an undergraduate for at least three years, but most go four and get a degree. They also must take the MCAT, or the medical college admissions test. Getting into medical school is competitive. The schools will review academic records as well as judge the personal character of an applicant. They also will require an interview. Medical doctors become specialized in anesthesiology after medical school, with hands-on training during their residency at a hospital.

Job Prospects

There simply are not enough anesthesiologists to keep up with demand. As such, entering this field allows for the ability to both make a high salary and have the flexibility to live the lifestyle that one would like to have. However, once an anesthesiologist becomes established, this shortage could require their employer to ask them to work longer hours than expected as there is more work available than there are anesthesiologists to perform the procedures.

Advancement Opportunities

Once a residency program has been completed, which can take several years, anesthesiologists can expect to work and gain experience, usually determining what their interest is in. Once established in general practice, they are usually able to move into a specialty that they find fulfilling. They can continue working in a hospital and move into a managerial or administrative position, or they can go on to private practice with other doctors or as a sole proprietor, counseling patients referred by hospitals or other doctors who have their own practices.