Why Do Anesthesiologists Make So Much: The Truth Behind Anesthesiologist’s High Salary

What’s in a salary? A combination of market economics, government regulations, perceived job difficulty, and educational requirements all play a role in setting how much someone gets paid.

Anesthesiologists leverage the economic principle of scarcity to their advantage.

There are relatively few anesthesiologists compared to the number of other physicians, and they are the only ones who can perform certain medical procedures. In addition, anesthesiologists often work long hours in high-pressure situations.

This gives them a great deal of power in negotiating their salary. Their job is critical to the success of surgeries, and they are responsible for the lives of their patients.

All of these factors contribute to the high salary of anesthesiologists.

While some may view their salary as excessive, it is important to remember that anesthesiologists play a vital role in our healthcare system.

Without them, many life-saving surgeries would not be possible.

In this article, you are going to learn why anesthesiologists make so much money, and why it is so hard to become one.

Why Do Anesthesiologists Make So Much?

Salaries in the medical profession have always been very high. It is a lucrative career, because there is always a need for more physicians in our day and age.

Salaries are econ 101, determined by demand & supply. There is always high demand for physicians, as the population keeps growing and our lifestyle isn’t exactly the best.

The supply of anesthesiologists is low, because of all the regulations around it. To become an anesthesiologist, you must first complete a four year undergraduate degree, then attend medical school for another four years.

After that, you must complete a one-year internship, followed by a three-year residency program. So it’s an 8-year investment, before you can even start working, and another 4 years before you are a fully licensed anesthesiologist.

This makes the anesthesiologist sought after. They possess a rare skill set that makes them in high demand, and they can command high salaries because of it.

In addition to their medical knowledge, anesthesiologists must be able to deal with high-pressure situations. They need to be able to think quickly and make decisions that could mean life or death for their patients.

Compare it with easy jobs like fast food workers. These people don’t get paid much because  their job is easy to do, and there are a lot of people who can do it.

Anesthesiologists make so much because their job is not easy, and there aren’t a lot of people who can do it. They have rare skills that are in high demand, and they use this to their advantage when negotiating salaries.

This is why anesthesiologists make so much money. They have the skills and experience that are in high demand, and they are able to command a high salary because of it.

If you are thinking about becoming an anesthesiologist, or any other type of physician, remember that it is a long road to get there. But it is a rewarding career, both financially and emotionally.

Anesthesiologist Salary Data

The most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2020) shows that anesthesiologists make a median salary of $271,440 per year.

Median salary means that half of all anesthesiologists make more than this amount, and half make less. Now, we can’t exactly know the full salary range, but we can get a pretty good idea.

The lowest 25% of anesthesiologists make less than $208,000 per year, while the highest 25% make more than $341,530 per year. So, there is quite a range!

Even if you’re a beginner anesthesiologist in a 3rd rate hospital, you’re still going to make around $200,000 per year. Sounds enticing? It for sure is!

But, why is it so lucrative to become an anesthesiologist, and how do you get your hands on these fat stacks of cash?

How Does a Day-to-Day Look Like for an Anesthesiologist?

We’ve been talking about how much schooling you’ll need, and how hard the job actually is. But what does an anesthesiologist actually do in their daily job?

  • Anesthesiologists work with patients before, during, and after surgery to ensure that they are comfortable and safe.
  • They work closely with surgeons to determine the best possible anesthesia plan for each patient.
  • They administer anesthesia to patients in order to keep them pain-free and relaxed during surgery.
  • They monitor patients’ vital signs and adjust the anesthesia accordingly.
  • They provide support to patients and families before, during, and after surgery.

Anesthesiologists have a lot of responsibility, both during and after surgery. They need to be able to think quickly on their feet and make decisions that could mean life or death for their patients.

Anesthesiologists are responsible for ensuring that patients remain pain-free and comfortable during surgery. They do this by administering anesthesia, which is a medication that dulls the senses.

Anesthesiologists must be present during every surgical procedure, as they are responsible for monitoring the patient’s vital signs and adjusting the anesthesia accordingly.

With so many responsibilities under their belt, it’s only natural that they get a salary  that reflects their years of training and experience.

Anesthesiologists’ Schedules

Anesthesiologists usually work long hours, as they need to be present for every surgery. This can mean working early mornings, late nights, weekends, and even holidays.

You’re always on call.  This means that you may need to drop everything and go into work, even if you were just in the middle of a family dinner or your child’s soccer game.

Anesthesiologists typically work full-time hours, but some may choose to work part-time. It all depends on their personal preference and the needs of their employer.

Their schedule is often unpredictable, as they may be called in last-minute for an emergency surgery.

Even though their job is demanding, most anesthesiologists would say that the rewards outweigh the challenges. They get to save lives, make a difference in their patients’ lives, and earn a great salary while doing it.

Becoming an Anesthesiologist

Becoming an anesthesiologist is no easy feat. It takes many years of hard work and dedication.

If you’re thinking about becoming an anesthesiologist, remember that it is a long road to get there. But it is a rewarding career, both financially and emotionally.

  • Attend College or University: You will need to first attend a 4 year accredited university and earn your Bachelor’s degree. Once you have completed the requirements for your major, you will be awarded with a Bachelor of Science (BS) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.
  • Then, you will need to attend medical school for another four years. During your first two years, you will take classes such as biochemistry, anatomy, and physiology. In your third and fourth year, you will complete clinical rotations in various medical specialties, including surgery, pediatrics, and obstetrics. After you have completed medical school, you will be awarded with a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree.
  • Next, you will need to complete a three-year residency in anesthesia. During your residency, you will receive training in various areas of anesthesia, such as pain management, critical care, and cardiac anesthesia. You will also have the opportunity to complete a fellowship in a specific area of interest. After you have completed your residency, you will be eligible to take the certification examination offered by the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA).
  • Once you have passed the ABA exam, you will be a certified anesthesiologist. You will then be able to find employment in a hospital, clinic, or private practice. This is when the money will start rolling in.

Attending medical school is no easy feat. You must go through a grueling application process, and also prepare to splurge quite a bit of money on your education.

For example, Harvard’s tuition will set you back around $100,000 every year. For a program that lasts 4 years, that’s quite a bit of money. Even the cheapest medical schools like Texas Tech and the University of Puerto Rico will require around $20.000 per year to attend. And that’s not including the cost of living, which can be quite high in some areas.

Becoming an anesthesiologist is a long and expensive path. Combine this with the fact that they are always in high demand, and you have your explanation for their gigantic salaries.

The Profession’s Future

The future looks bright for anesthesiologists. With an aging population, the demand for anesthesiologists is expected to grow in the coming years. This is due to the fact that older adults are more likely to need surgery and other medical procedures that require anesthesia.

As the baby boomer generation continues to age, the demand for anesthesiologists will likely continue to grow. So if you’re thinking about becoming an anesthesiologist, now is the time to do it. You’ll get your license just in time to enjoy the boom of requests.

As for wages, they’re not going to shrink whatsoever, unless something catastrophic happens. In fact, as demand grows, so will wages. Hospitals are willing to pay top dollars for anesthesiologists, as they’re necessary for the hospital to function smoothly. Since they are scarce, they are way more valuable than other physicians.


Anesthesiologists make a lot of money because they are in high demand and the profession requires a long and expensive education. The future looks bright for anesthesiologists, as the demand for their services is expected to grow in the coming years. If you’re thinking about becoming an anesthesiologist, now is the time to do it. You’ll be glad you did when you’re raking in the big bucks.

But prepare for a long, arduous, and expensive path. Becoming an anesthesiologist is not for the faint of heart. You must be willing to put in the long hours of schooling and be prepared to spend a lot of money on your education. And the job itself is also gruesome. You’ll always be on call, meaning that you could be called in the middle of Christmas dinner with your relatives.

If all of this sounds like something you can deal with, becoming an anesthesiologist is going to let you live a very comfortable life.

Also Read: 5 Easiest CRNA Schools to Get Into (2023 Updated)

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