How Long Does It Take To Become an Anesthesiologist

This article focuses on the approximate time it could take to become an anesthesiologist and complete the necessary educational requirements.

Updated by Rakshitha N on 15th October 2020

If you are determined to pursue your career in any of the medical fields, it is important to research it. One of the major interests of students who are wanting to pursue medical studies is how much additional education is needed along with the correlated time, and effort.

For majors like anesthesiology, it takes approximately 12 years (after high school) to become an Anesthesiologist. The anesthesiologist must complete a 4 years undergraduate program, 4 years in medical degree, and spend 4 years in residency to gain experience. Completing this education level will allow you to become a qualified anesthesiologist. 

Anesthesiology and Anesthesiologist: A bird’s eye view

Anesthesiology is the medical specialty regarded with the total perioperative care of patients before, during, and after surgery. It encompasses anesthesia, intensive care medicine, critical emergency medicine, and pain medicine.

Anesthesiologists are Medical Doctors who practice anesthesia. Anesthesiologists are physicians specializing in perioperative care, developing anesthetic plans, and the administration of anesthetics.

Anesthesiologists help assure the safety of patients undergoing an operation. The anesthesiologist provides care for the patient to prevent the pain and suffering they would otherwise experience. This may involve general anesthesia, sedation, or regional anesthesia.

How Long Does It Take To Become An Anesthesiologist?

This minimum timeline adds up to approximately 12-13 years after high school. If you are willing to become an anesthesiologist, you will have to complete college, then medical school, then an internship followed by a residency in anesthesia. Some anesthesiologists pursue additional years of training.

Here is how the level of education is categorized. In the U.S., anesthesiologists are required to have the following minimum training followed by high school:

  • College/Bachelor’s Degree: 4 years

  • Medical School Degree (M.D. or D.O.): 4 years

  • Internship: 1 year

  • Residency in Anesthesiology: 3 years

College/bachelor's degree

The first step to becoming an anesthesiologist involves enrollment in a bachelor’s degree program. Most individuals resort to study biology, chemistry, natural sciences, or any other relevant field of study. Students are required to maintain a GPA range of 3.5 to 4.0 (as stated by the American Medical Association) in order to get admittance in medical schools/colleges. The duration of education in a bachelor’s degree is 4 years.

Qualify MCAT

Preparation for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) begins well before earning an undergrad degree. MCAT is a compulsory exam for acceptance in medical schools. A higher score provides the opportunity for larger and better acceptance in top ranking medical colleges.

Medical school degree

The duration of education is typically 4 years to attain a medical school degree. Students are enrolled to learn about major areas of medicine and related aspects of this field. Medical schools train students aspiring anesthesiologists to excel in their residency programs and build a solid career in anesthetics.

Qualify the USMLE

Just like for MCAT, the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) requires a prior preparation, possibly starting from while enrolled in a medical school. USMLE is a mandate licensure exam for all states. Med-school students can appear for the first two parts of this exam while in med-school and complete the third part while or after pursuing their M.D degree.

Internship

Med-school graduates can apply for internships to add a feather to their hats. The internship duration can last as long as 1 year.

Residency in Anesthesiology

The completion of the medical school program is the onset of another 4 years of commitment to a medical residency program. These 4 years include-

  • 1 year: Various hospital-based rotations

  • 3 years: Extensive training on anesthesiology

Students have the freedom to choose from an array of subspecialties to participate in, post-completion of the chosen residency program.

State licensure

The next step after attending the residency program is applying for state licensure in the state the anaesthesiologist wishes to practice. Only an anesthesiologist who has methodologically completed each of the aforementioned steps is awarded the license to practice.

Board certification

Board certification allows anesthesiologists to land a higher frequency of employment. However, it is a voluntary choice and requires the candidate to sit through an examination. This certification is awarded by the governing bodies of the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) and the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA).

Conclusion

Researching the qualifications of anesthesiologist will give you an upper hand to move in the right direction to pursue your career in this profession.

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