Pay & Salary

How Much Do Anesthesiologists Make? Salary and Career Advice

July 24, 2021

Anesthesiologists provide pain management to patients during a medical procedure. They are one of the highest paying medical professionals due to the extent of their job duties. Learning about the range of salaries available to anesthesiologists can help you consider how this role compares with other medical professionals. In this article, we discuss how much do anesthesiologists make, look at their salary in relation to surgeons and explore the highest-paid anesthesiologist positions.

What is an anesthesiologist?

An anesthesiologist is a medical professional who administers medication to patients to prevent them from feeling pain during surgery. They give patients pain relief medications, which includes either general anaesthesia, regional anaesthesia or sedation prior to a procedure, such as a CT scan. Common job duties of these professionals include:

  • Reviewing a patient's medical history and lifestyle prior to medical procedures
  • Explaining medical procedures to patients
  • Monitoring patient vital signs, blood pressure, breathing and other bodily functions during a procedure
  • Making adjustments to the patient's pain management to ensure comfort
  • Maintaining patient records
  • Administering medications to reverse the effects of anaesthetics
  • Determining when the patient can leave the recovery room

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How much do anesthesiologists make?

On average, an anesthesiologist makes ₹11,74,715 per year. Salaries can vary depending on your geographical location. Other contributing factors for anesthesiologist salaries include years of experience, skills, amount of education and type of employer.

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Do anesthesiologists make more than surgeons?

Anesthesiologists typically make almost double the annual salary of surgeons. Surgeons make an average salary of ₹6,09,178 per year. This is due to the large responsibility anesthesiologist have during an operation. While the surgeon performs an operation on a patient, the anesthesiologist oversees the medical management of the patient. An anesthesiologist is in charge of the patient and acts as the primary caregiver while they are in critical care.

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How much do similar jobs make?

Some anesthesiologists choose to transition into a teaching role after working in a medical setting. An anesthesiologist professor can make approximately ₹10,42,226 per year. The skills anesthesiologists learn in medical college can help them work in a variety of roles. Here is a list of some similar jobs with their average annual salary:

What is the highest paid anesthesiologist?

Anesthesiologists with specialisations can earn higher salaries than traditional anesthesiologists. This is because having a specialisation increases your value to employers, as they view you as someone with additional skills and knowledge. Earning a relevant certification can also help you make a higher salary. Some specialisations to consider include:

  • Cardiac anaesthesia: this type of anesthesiologist focuses on providing pain management for heart surgery.
  • Neuro-anaesthesia: neuro-anaesthesia is a type of anesthesiology that focuses on the nervous system, brain and spinal cord.
  • Pediatric anaesthesia: pediatric anesthesiologists give pain management medication to children undergoing surgical procedures.
  • Obstetrics: this type of anesthesiologist gives patients labour pain relief during delivery.

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How to become an anesthesiologist

If you want to become an anesthesiologist, consider completing the following steps:

1. Earn a bachelor degree

To become an anesthesiologist, complete the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) at a recognised university. Anesthesiologists typically earn a bachelor's degree in anaesthesia, anaesthesia technology, operation theatre and anaesthesia techniques or anaesthesia technology and operation theatre. During this time, your coursework consists of anaesthesiology-related classes. This programme includes preclinical studies on science subjects along with paraclinical and clinical studies. The duration typically is four to five and a half years.

2. Gain experience

In addition to education, you must also complete a clinical internship or residency. Before interning, pass a series of exams. Internships allow you to gain knowledge in a real-world setting outside of the classroom. Anesthesiologists complete residencies to gain clinical exposure and work with experienced anesthesiologists before practising professionally. During your time as an anaesthesia resident, you must take regular exams to test your knowledge.

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3. Pass your qualifying exams

In order to be accepted for a doctorate degree, submit an application for a graduate programme. Candidates must be at least 21 years old and an Indian resident. To take anaesthesia courses, you have to pass your written exam. Qualifying exams test your knowledge in subjects such as chemistry, biology and math.

4. Attend medical college

Earning a doctorate degree for specialities takes an additional three years. Pursue a degree in anaesthesia to help prepare you for this profession and learn the necessary information. Upon completion, you can become either a Master of Surgery or Doctor of Medicine (MD).

5. Consider a specialisation

When rotating through specialities during your residency, you may find a specialisation that interests you. Consider whether you want to become a specialised anesthesiologist. This can provide you with more job opportunities and allow you to work with a specific group of patients. Specialisations require an additional two years of training programmes where you learn relevant skills.

6. Apply for anesthesiologist positions

Once you have gained the necessary education and experience, begin looking for available anesthesiologist positions. Search online through job sites like Indeed or on company websites. To prepare for your application, make sure your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) is up to date with your most recent experiences. Consider including skills and achievements relevant to a role as an anesthesiologist.

Related: Curriculum Vitae (CV) Format Guide (with Examples and Tips)

Is it hard to be an anesthesiologist?

Being an anesthesiologist can be a stressful job since you are in charge of patients during critical surgeries and must choose what anaesthetic to administer. You also expose yourself to harmful conditions, such as viral spreads, when working with patients in critical care. In addition, the process to become an anesthesiologist involves attending medical school and passing difficult exams.

Anesthesiologists also work long, unpredictable hours. Their shifts may last up to 12 hours. During set times anesthesiologists are on call, which means they must prepare to respond to emergency procedures at all times during day and night. However, some hospitals have set schedules for employees.

What are the benefits of being an anesthesiologist?

While the work conditions for anesthesiologists can be stressful, there are several advantages of becoming one. Since controlling the body's functions with medications occurs quickly, this job provides instant gratification and allows you to see the effects of your work immediately. Being an anesthesiologist also allows you to treat a variety of patients ranging in different ages. Unlike doctors or surgeons, anesthesiologists have fewer risks or complications when working with patients. The work schedule also tends to be more flexible than other medical positions. Some of your coworkers may have similar skill sets as you have. This means that they can fill in for you if you cannot work a shift.

What skills does an anesthesiologist need?

In addition to medical knowledge, anesthesiologists need certain qualities to be successful in their roles. Since anesthesiologists work in stressful situations, it is helpful for them to do well under pressure. It also can be beneficial if they have excellent stamina since they spend long hours in surgery. You should be ready for spending an extended period of time at work. Some other skills to develop for a career in anesthesiology include:

  • Problem-solving: when deciding what anaesthetic to give patients, anesthesiologists need to consider several factors, such as which pain management would serve the patients best.
  • Teamwork: anesthesiologists work in collaboration with surgeons and other medical professionals. You must be a team player and work well with others.
  • Critical thinking: critical thinking helps you analyse a situation and make decisions quickly during a medical procedure to provide a patient with the best possible solution.
  • Focus: you must focus on your patients for extended periods of time during operations to monitor their bodily functions and ensure they are comfortable.
  • Communication: having excellent communication skills allows anesthesiologists to explain a medical procedure to their patient and report the patient's conditions to a surgeon.
  • Detail-oriented: being able to pay careful attention to details allows anesthesiologists to notice if any changes occur in their patient's conditions during and after a procedure.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing.

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