What Should I Major in to Become an Anesthesiologist?

Anesthesiologists are medical physicians who focus on pain relief and a patient's life functions during surgery. These physicians work with other doctors in order to monitor and assess a patient's body temperature, heart rate and breathing before, during and after surgery.

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Anesthesiologist Major

Because an anesthesiologist is a physician, prospective students must receive the formal medical education required of all doctors and physicians. At the undergraduate level, while there is no one major required for a career in anesthesiology, it's recommended that students choose to major in a natural science or enroll in a pre-medical program to prepare for medical school. Biology is the most popular major for candidates interested in medicine, but majors in microbiology, chemistry, neuroscience or nutritional science can also prepare students to become anesthesiologists.

Curriculum

Within a biology major, students take classes in human biology, anatomy, microbiology, physiology, comparative anatomy, developmental biology, horticulture and parasitology. Undergraduate pre-medical programs allow students to major in chemistry, psychology and other sciences, but also include electives that specifically prepare students for medical school. These courses may include chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, physics and calculus.

Once in medical school, students spend the first two years in a classroom setting, studying biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, medical ethics and many other topics. Anesthesiology is a medical specialty in which students may gain clinical experience during their second two years. After finishing medical school, students may apply for anesthesiology residency programs, which provide the bulk of professional training and prepare students to become licensed anesthesiologists.

Anesthesiologist Job Description

Anesthesiologists are responsible for dispensing pain relief drugs before, during and after surgery. They calculate proper drug dosages for patients, administer anesthesia and monitor patients' vital signs throughout surgical procedures.

Salary and Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) 2012 information, the majority of physicians and surgeons were employed by private physician's offices, followed by hospitals and healthcare organizations (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that anesthesiologists' annual earnings vary by employer and state, but the mean annual salary in May 2013 was $235,070.

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (16)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (6)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (7)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Maryland (1)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
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    • Oregon (1)
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    • Virginia (3)
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (4 campuses)
    • California (21)
    • Colorado (2)
    • Florida (3)
    • Hawaii (2)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Texas (4)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Informatics and Illustration
      • Medical Residency Programs
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences

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