Anesthesiologist Certification

Anesthesiologists administer drugs intravenously or using a gas mask.

Anesthesiologists are physicians who administer anesthesia and ensure the health and well-being of patients during surgery and other procedures. To enter this occupation, you must be certified in general anesthesiology or a specialty area of anesthesiology. To obtain certification, you will have to go through 12 to 13 years of education, training and residency, then pass state and national certification and licensing exams. But, this career pays well and it is satisfying to be there to help when patients are facing the most serious of medical procedures.


Anesthesiologists go through an extensive educational program before being qualified to obtain certification. You will start, of course, with undergraduate studies to obtain a bachelor’s degree, then go through a rigorous application process for medical school, which includes passing the Medical College Admission test. Medical school lasts about four years and includes classroom, laboratory and practical studies. After successful completion of medical school, you should expect to attend a residency program for an additional four years.

State Boards of Medicine

As physicians, anesthesiologists must apply for state licenses. While some states only require passing the Medical Licensing Examination, other states require additional exams to be a licensed physician and practice professionally. Each state may also have additional requirements for anesthesiologists, which may include certification from a national agency.

National Board Certification

The American Board of Anesthesiology administers national certification requirements, which is one of 24 medical disciplines overseen by the American Board of Medical Specialists. Most states require certification by this non-profit organization to practice professionally as an anesthesiologist. The Board administers an “in-training exam” and a primary certification exam in anesthesiology. To maintain certification, anesthesiologists must take an additional exam every seven to 10 years to continue to practice professionally.


Anesthesiologists can obtain certification in general anesthesiology or specialize in a specific discipline. Subspecialty areas include critical car medicine, hospice and palliative medicine, pain medicine, pediatric anesthesiology and sleep medicine. After you obtaining certification and a license to practice professionally, you will have to put in at least an additional year for a subspecialy.

2016 Salary Information for Physicians and Surgeons

Physicians and surgeons earned a median annual salary of $204,950 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, physicians and surgeons earned a 25th percentile salary of $131,980, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $261,170, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 713,800 people were employed in the U.S. as physicians and surgeons.

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