How Much Do Anesthesiologist Make: A Step-by-step Instruction To Your Dream

Anesthesia is a specialized area of medical practice with highly trained physicians. The anesthesiologist’s role is not just to ensure that the patient sleeps deeply and feels pain-free during medical procedures. These days, with the development of medicine and technical facilities, the anesthesiologist’s role is much larger. They need to provide medical care and consultation in many settings other than in the operating room. Commensurate with these fundamental roles, how much do anesthesiologist make? Let’s dive in quickly to explore the dreamy pain management anesthesiologist salary.

What Does An Anesthetist Do? Why Should You Consider This Promising Turn?

Great Responsibilities

The anesthesiologist plays an indispensable position in the surgical team. By and large, their primary responsibilities include:

  • Carry out pre-anesthesia examination (before surgery) to assess the patient’s condition and decide whether the patient should have surgery or not .
  • Provide pain relief before, during, and after surgical operations.
  • Monitor patients’ progress and vital signs during surgery.
  • Choose the proper medication to use.
  • Review medical records and indicators.
  • Make a prognosis for postoperative recovery.

Unquestionably, the anesthesia stage dramatically determines the success of a surgery. There is no fixed formula for the control of adequate anesthesia for surgery without the anesthesia harming the patient. Hence, the anesthesiologist’s skills and experiences would help the surgery go smoothly. This honor is a primary reason why aspiring doctors opt for the anesthesiologist careers. 

How Much Do Anesthesiologist Make: A Step-by-step Instruction To Your Dream

The anesthesiologist plays an indispensable position in the surgical team – Source: LinkedIn

High Salary

By and large, the average wage of an anesthetist is very high. Let’s take a closer look at the following impressive figures demonstrating a typical anesthetist’s earnings.

How Much Do Anesthesiologist Make?

According to’s data on how much do anesthesiologist make last updated in February 2021, ananesthesiologist can earn up to $663,000, or as little as $113,000 for beginners, almost double a dental hygienist’s salary.

Also, as of 2021, the Salary Explorer website reported a typical anesthesiologist’s annual income is around $350,000. This average yearly salary included transport, housing, and other benefits.

Let’s go deeper into the detailed breakdown of the pain management anesthesiologist salary based on some criteria:

How Much Do Anesthesiologist Make?

Anesthetist’s compensation distribution in the United States – Source: 

Anesthetist's compensation comparison based on years of experience

Anesthetist’s compensation comparison by years of experience – Source: 

Anesthetist's average annual salary increment percentage in the U.S

Next, anesthetist’s average annual salary increment percentage in the United States – Source: 

Anesthetist's bonus and incentive percentage

Anesthetist’s bonus and incentive percentage in the United States – Source: 

Anesthetist's salary comparison with other jobs'

Anesthetist’s salary comparison with that of other jobs – Source: 

Also, according to the 2019 occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pain management anesthesiologist salary in the United States is $261,730. This figure is nearly 5-times the average yearly wage for all occupations, which is $53,490. 

However, as with other occupations, the figure for how much do anesthesiologist make varies among states. Still, even the lowest-paying states for anesthesiologists pay annual wages of around $180,000. This figure is nearly $130,000 more than the national average for all jobs mentioned above.

In terms of best-paying states, here is a list of the top 15 states where anesthesiologists earn most, as of 2019:

NoStateAverage annual salary ($)
4New Mexico277,140
6North Carolina274,610
13West Virginia$267,200

Top 15 highest-paying states for anesthesiologists – Source: Andrew DePietro on Forbes and 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics data

Note: This ranking does not include the states of Alaska, California, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, and Vermont since no data are available in these areas.

These are impressive numbers representing attractive salaries and benefits. But why do anesthesiologist make so much? Let’s see the path to land this desired salary, then you will get the answer.

How to Get Started in The Anesthetist Career?

It takes at least 12 years of education after high school to become an anesthetist – Source: Getty Images

How to Get Started in The Anesthetist Career?

Here is a step-by-step guide to qualifying as an anesthesiologist, we can say it would take more time than becoming a pharmacist:

Qualifications To Become An Anesthetist

Generally, it takes a minimum of 12 years of education after high school to become a professional anesthetist. 

Step 1: High School Graduation

Firstly, aspiring anesthetists need to graduate from high school. It would be better to pay more attention to science subjects, including biology, chemistry, physics, and physiology during this high school period.

Step 2: Bachelor’s Degree (4 Years)

A bachelor’s degree from a university generally takes 4 years to complete. This phrase is a crucial part of your medical school application. 

Regarding undergraduate education, we recommend majors in one of the following fields: Pre-medicine, Chemistry, Neuroscience, Biology, or Nutrition Science. 

Step 3: Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The third step toward becoming an anesthesiologist is to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). To prepare for this test, you can take practice tests or sign up for an MCAT preparatory course. Certainly, your scores on the MCAT exam, your GPA, and your transcript will be the determinant of the medical school’s acceptance.

Step 4: Medical School Degree (4 Years)

Following the MCAT test, would-be anesthetists will choose a medical school that suits their future goals. They then submit a well-rounded application to begin their medical careers. Generally, applicants tend to apply to multiple schools owing to competitive admissions.

Similarly, medical school also takes 4 years to complete. You will graduate with a Doctor of Medicine degree or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Now you are eligible to become an anesthesiologist.

MCAT result

Your MCAT result is a determinant of the medical school’s acceptance. – Source:

Step 5: Residency (4 Years)

To practice independently after graduating from medical school, you have to finish an internship and residency in anesthesiology. Similarly, an anesthesiology residency takes 4 years to complete. Residents will get clinical training and careful monitoring from experienced anesthesiologists when starting working with actual patients.

Once fulfilling the 4-year residency, the resident will be eligible to sit the American Board of Anesthesiology exam.

Step 6: Fellowship (1 Year) (Optional)

After completing their 4-year residency, many physicians choose to pursue a 1-year fellowship. This period of medical training allows them to focus on a specific area of anesthesiology, such as cardiac or pediatric anesthesia.

Step 7: Licensing

Once you have finished your training, you can start working as an anesthesiologist by applying for a state license in your place of residence. You then have to pass a licensing exam, such as the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX). Then you have had a medical license in the United States.

Step 8: Board Certification (Optional)

Though this certification is not compulsory, 90% of anesthesiologists are board-certified. Board certification indicates a physicians’ command of anesthesiology and professional commitment to the ABPS Medical Code of Ethics.

You Have Met All The Prerequisites. What About Additional Conditions?

Besides a solid knowledge of science subjects to support a medical degree, there are many particular skills that help you pursue the anesthesia career path. Here are 5 most important ones:

Critical Thinking 

My Majors website ranks critical thinking skills as the essential ones required for an anesthesiologist. 

The anesthesiologists are really on the ball when usually using logic and reasoning to analyze the situation. They then identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions or approaches to problems. Therefore, critical thinking skills would help the doctor make prompt decisions or conclusions. For example, the anesthesiologist needs to decide in seconds whether to sedate the patient in surgery or not.

Attention to Detail

According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, one of the most essential qualities for an anesthesiologist is being detail-oriented. 

To clarify, they must be precise in the type and amount of anesthetic medicines used, but also in where and how they administer these medications. Also, the tiniest detail in a patient’s medical history could indicate warning signs, which the anesthesiologists need to avoid through certain kinds of medicine. Additionally, anesthesiologists have to recognize early signs of detrimental reactions to the medication before, during, and after a significant medical procedure.

Though medical sensors and alarms can alert you to severe problems, you still need to pay attention to details, even minor changes in indicators, before everything turns into a time bomb.

Attention to Detail

An anesthetist is monitoring indicators – Source: Getty Images


To ensure the patient’s safety during the medical procedures, the anesthetists have to monitor the patient’s vital signs under anesthesia, even that of animals if you are a vet. Moreover, an anesthesiologist has to take any notice of different indicators of the patient’s well-being at once by monitoring equipment like a pulse oximeter measuring the patient’s oxygen levels. Patient safety monitoring also involves keeping an eye out for symptoms that could signify “malignant hyperthermia” – a reaction to anesthesia.


It seems that an anesthesia career requires the least interpersonal skills compared to other professions in medicine. In other words, your patients will stay unconscious for most of the time you spend with them. But it is not the case.

Your patients will indeed be unconscious or asleep during most of the anesthesia period. However, how you manage their expectations and anxieties before and after this medical procedure is essential. Markedly, patients tend to get nervous about surgery and other painful medical conditions. Therefore, the anesthetist’s soothing and caring attitude can help alleviate their fear and make them feel at ease, contributing to patients’ satisfaction.

The role of interactions and communications you may have when the anesthesia kicks in are even more important, for example, if the patients complain of pain or if something goes wrong during the anesthesia procedure. 


Like other careers in medicine, you may work long days and experience high levels of stress as an anesthesiologist. Accordingly, your ability to manage stress and keep calm even under the most stressful and urgent situations would significantly affect your progress and work quality. 

For example, you have to make crucial decisions promptly without panicking when anything goes wrong with the patient’s vital signs to get the best outcome. You also need to plan what to do to tackle any possible scenarios that could arise during the operation, such as signs of overdose and changes in vitals that could demonstrate an inadequate amount of anesthetic.

Even when everything goes smoothly during an operation, the work of an anesthesiologist may still be stressful. As an anesthetist, you hold the patient’s life in your hands. Giving a patient too much anesthetic can be harmful or even fatal. Additionally, problems can arise if the patient has an unexpected reaction to the drug used.

Conclusion of Pain Management Anesthesiologist Salary

Why do anesthesiologist make so much? Of course, anesthesiologists take years and years of postgraduate study, which costs tons of money. Along with how important their job is, it makes sense the average anesthesiologist’s pay is so high. This salary is totally worth it besides another promising career like a proctologist.

Explore more job descriptions, salaries, and much other related information? Click our Job overview section.

Visit Jobandedu for more.

Emma Anderson

Emma Anderson is a career consultant and freelance writer for JobandEdu by night. Layla assists students, and new hires in determining a suitable career path and walk them through the application process. She decides to pursue writing since she thinks everyone should have access to information about potential careers, such as the application process and the company's culture. She's into writing, driving her with stuff that interests her in all her good reads.