Anesthesiologists are physicians who have received specialized training to provide patients with anesthesia to relieve pain. Anesthesiologists undergo extensive training that usually takes six years of medical school plus several years as a medical resident. While it can be lucrative career, not everyone is ready to commit to the level of training and education it takes to become an anesthesiologist. There are, however, several other career options in related fields.
Physician assistants are medical practitioners who work under the supervision of a physician. These professionals receive extensive training to provide care of a therapeutic, diagnostic and preventative nature to patients. Although they are not medical clerks, they often record patient medical histories. Physician assistants must complete a formal education program and pass a national licensing exam. The education programs usually last about two years. Most physician assistants have a college degree and complete their training as an assistant after college. The job outlook for physician assistants is expect to remain very good. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the number of jobs in this field to increase by 39 percent from 2008 to 2018. The median annual wage of physician assistants as of May 2008 was $81,230.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists or CRNAs provide a similar level of care to patients that is provided by anesthesiologists. CRNAs provide therapeutic care before, during and after surgical procedures. They may also administer pain management medicines when necessary. While registered nurses need either an associate's or bachelor's degree, CRNAs must complete an extensive master's degree program. Many university nursing programs now offer these as additional programs in their nursing schools. Nurse anesthetists must complete coursework in a variety of areas such as pathophysiology, pharmacology and principles of anesthesia. According to payscale.com, CRNAs commanded an average yearly salary of $101,786-$154,849, as of July 2010.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the job outlook for surgical technologists to be very positive through 2018. The Bureau indicates the number of jobs for surgical technologists to increase by 25 percent by 2018. Surgical technologists are largely responsible for preparing the operating room prior to surgery. They then play an integral role as part of the surgical team along with the surgeons and nurses on staff. Surgical technologists must take a formal education program. These usually last from nine to 24 months. Sometimes surgical technology programs are offered as associate's degree programs, but often they are simply certificate or diploma programs. As of May 2008, the median annual salary of surgical technologists was $38,740, according to BLS statistics.