In the operating room, outside of the surgeon themselves, the most pivotal role is played by the anesthesiologist. Through years of education and specialized training, these expert doctors carefully regulate the ideal mix of drugs to keep the patient unconscious and comfortable. Anesthesiologists have a number of perks to their job, even in comparison to other doctors.
The first and most obvious advantage to being an anesthesiologist is the pay. According to StateUniversity.com, the average annual salary for anesthesiologists as of 2010 is $321,686 a year. This makes anesthesiologists and other doctors, amongst the highest earning individuals in the United States.
Job Outlook and Benefits
Another advantage of being an anesthesiologist is the job outlook. With older practitioners retiring, new openings are always created. As a vital element of surgery, they are in high demand with hospitals and surgery clinics. In addition to this positive outlook, anesthesiologists enjoy a number of benefits with the job. These vary depending on employers but usually include top-shelf medical coverage, paid vacations and other benefits.
Anesthesiologists are typically only involved with patients outside of the periods immediately before, during and after surgery, when anesthesia is administered. This means that if they aren't on call at the end of the day, they are free to leave the hospital or clinic with no further responsibility to the patients. They are no longer required until the next operating list they are assigned to begin. This allows anesthesiologists not only more regular hours than most doctors, but also enables them to potentially only work part time, or on a fill-in basis.
Limited Patient Relationship
Depending on the individual doctor's point of view, this can be an advantage or a disadvantage. On the positive side, this limited relationship with the patient allows the anesthesiologist to focus his attention entirely on the patient's care in relation to anesthetics. This limited relationship also makes it easier for anesthesiologists to keep focused on the clinical aspects of the case, without any emotional involvement.
Most medical specialists are required to build a roster of patients before they can advance in their particular field. Anesthesiologists, however, can move about from one hospital or clinic to the next, with relatively little time to build up a patient roster. The immediate necessity of their work and the limited patient relationship facilitates this change.
Because of the ease of transfer for anesthesiologists, competition between hospitals for well-qualified individuals can be fierce, giving the doctor his choice of offers and the ability to maximize his earnings.
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.