According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall employment of anesthesiologists in the United States will show no change from 2019 to 2029. This is because there will still be a demand for anesthesiologists, as we will continue to need surgery forever. However, the advances of nurse anesthetists and assistants may hinder the demand for anesthesiologists. This makes it quite a competitive career to secure a job in.
As anesthesiologists are specialized physicians, the career path to becoming one is lengthy, with most anesthesiologists spending around 10 years or more in school!
Firstly, anesthesiologists must complete an undergraduate degree that has work in biology, chemistry, physics, math and English. Whilst doing this, it is advisable to volunteer in a local hospital and gather some relevant work experience! This experience can be in any area, but it would perhaps be advisable to try and work in the theatres or in post-surgery care.
After completing your undergraduate degree, you will then need to apply to medical school. Warning: these are highly competitive! To apply, you must submit your transcript and a letter of recommendation. You must also pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and attach your score to your application. To have the absolute best chances of getting accepted into medical school, you should have extracurricular activities, work experience and be able to show leadership qualities.
Whilst at medical school, you will spend the first 2 years in laboratories and classrooms where you will learn about anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, psychology, medical ethics and the laws that govern medicine. In the last two years, the fun really begins as you will work with patients under the supervision of experienced physicians! You will work in a number of different areas (e.g., family practice, obstetrics and gynaecology) to gain experience in diagnosing and treating a wide range of illnesses.
Note: an alternative career path is to find a medical school that combines undergraduate degrees with medical school programs. These last 6 to 8 years, but very few schools offer this!
After medical school, all graduates will enter a residency program in anesthesiology (note: these are very competitive). This can lasts around 4 years. Finally, after all this, aspiring anesthesiologists must pass a certification examination by the American Board of Anesthesiology.