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How Much Do Anesthesiologists Make?


According to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report in 2021, anesthesiologists saw their incomes increase, yet this increase was less than that seen across 29 other medical specialties.

Anesthesiologists who work in multispecialty groups benefit from the steady stream of patients they provide their doctors and the additional income their employers offer them through other wages and bonuses.

Job description

An anesthesiologist is a doctor with expertise in pain management. They play an essential part in surgical processes by ensuring their patients remain pain-free throughout surgery and administering medications to keep them comfortable during surgery. Before the operation, they meet with patients to discuss medical history and explain which form of anesthesia will be used and possible side effects and complications that might occur.

An anesthesiologist’s annual salary typically ranges between $275,000 to $360,000. While this might sound like a high figure, remember that to reach this salary, an individual would have to complete four years of medical school and anesthesia residency; plus, many young anesthesiologists typically have substantial student loan debt.

Anesthesiologists working for hospitals or healthcare systems earn more than those working independently. In 2021, employed anesthesiologists earned, on average, $431,000, while self-employed anesthesiologists made about 387,000. Of course, these figures do not account for state-specific factors like cost of living expenses or taxes that may apply.

Anesthesiologists often enjoy high salaries, with incentive bonuses on top. According to one 2021 survey, over half the anesthesiologists surveyed received incentive bonuses linked to productivity, patient satisfaction, and clinical processes. However, this doesn’t always translate to increased take-home pay for them.

Anesthesia specialists enjoy working in diverse settings such as private practices, teaching institutions, and hospitals. Additionally, they may participate in research projects to enhance patient care while remaining up-to-date with advances in anesthesia and pain management.

Anesthesiologists must communicate clearly and effectively with their patients. They should be able to explain complex medical issues understandably and cope with stressful situations calmly. Furthermore, anesthesiologists must collaborate seamlessly with other physicians and staff members and be capable of quickly making quick decisions in an emergency.


An anesthesiologist’s career can be strenuous yet rewarding. Most work in private practices and have flexible hours with on-call duty and rotating night and weekend shifts. Others teach at medical schools, while some specialize in research or administration. Prospective anesthesiologists should carefully weigh their options when selecting an accredited program offering both MDs and DOs before choosing one of these options for training.

Anesthesiologists can make additional income through teaching and consulting, insurance company employment opportunities, and higher-than-average salaries. Unfortunately, some anesthesiologists are dissatisfied with their wages; according to a Medscape survey, only 53% felt pretty compensated at work (this rate being the lowest among physician specialties surveyed), yet 86% still chose this profession despite this discontent.

Anesthesiologists can increase their pay in multiple ways, from changing employers and negotiating contracts to being open with their expectations to their employer about them and seeking references from professors and supervising doctors before applying for jobs.

Locum Tenens’ work is another effective way of increasing an anesthesiologist’s salary, offering you more exposure and experience within new clinical environments while helping supplement income during economic instability.

Noting the variability of salaries across states is vitally important to understanding anesthesiologist salaries. Conditions such as New York and Massachusetts that are considered top payers in other occupations such as medicine can offer less to anesthesiologists due to higher cost-of-living factors; on the other hand, New Mexico and Alabama tend to offer lower living costs than average, yet still maintain above-average anesthesiologist salary levels.


Anesthesiologists enjoy high salaries but also must put in long hours and deal with numerous challenges due to the rigorous training requirements for this job. Starting by earning their undergraduate degree, an anesthesiologist must enroll in medical school, which typically entails four years of classroom instruction and clinical training before passing exams to earn their MD degree and complete residency before sitting two board examinations to become licensed anesthesiologists.

Medscape reports that an anesthesiologist’s average salary is $68,000, significantly higher than other physician specialties’ median salaries. Furthermore, anesthesiologists often receive incentive bonuses based on productivity or other criteria – although for some physicians, their bonuses may not cover everything they need for family support.

Whoever wishes to become an anesthesiologist must possess at least a bachelor’s degree in science, biology, or a related field – with an outstanding undergraduate GPA – as this will enable admission into medical school. Once graduating from undergraduate school, an anesthesiologist should pursue an internship within a healthcare setting where they will work closely with surgeons and nurses while gaining hands-on experience within operating rooms.

An anesthesiologist who has graduated from medical school must go through a four-year residency program, working closely with senior anesthesiologists to develop the necessary skills for practice. Some anesthesiologists prefer working for single specialty groups containing hundreds of physician anesthesiologists and CRNAs, potentially proving more lucrative than working for general hospitals.

Some anesthesiologists moonlight by providing additional services outside anesthesia practices, such as massage therapy. Although moonlighting can provide a means of supplementing their income responsibly, only about 1 out of every 12 anesthesiologists engage in this form of side hustle compared to 27% of physicians overall who have side jobs; moreover, most anesthesiologists who moonlight are doing it not for financial reasons but in search of flexible schedules or improved work/life balance.

Work environment

Anesthesiologists work closely with nurses, surgeons, and other hospital doctors to administer anesthesia during surgical procedures. They must communicate effectively with patients to ensure their comfort; and be able to work under pressure due to tight operating room schedules in hospitals – this may necessitate staying late or even working on weekends!

Before becoming an anesthesiologist, medical doctors (MDs) or Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs) must complete four years of undergraduate and medical school study as well as a one-year internship and three years of hospital residency programs before taking the American Board of Anesthesiology exam and becoming certified anesthesiologists; once certified they can earn upwards of $400,000 annually through private practice work.

Anesthesiologists specialize in administering anesthesia during labor and are among the highest-paid professionals. Other sub-specialties of anesthesiology include pediatric anesthesia, ambulatory anesthesia, and pain management; additionally, some anesthesiologists pursue fellowship programs to expand their skill set and increase their earning potential.

Anesthesiologists usually work in specialty hospitals; however, they also have the option of joining physician offices or multispecialty medical groups – the latter often offer more secure working environments with their anesthesiologists being paid hourly or fixed salary per case basis.

Anesthesiologists often choose part-time or contract work to boost their income, as well as publishing research or acting as consultants. Many also receive additional payment through pain management clinics or sleep medicine practices.

An anesthesiologist may opt to work locum tenens, which allows them to travel to various locations for short stints and earn extra income while having more flexible work arrangements. While locum tenens work can be stressful, most anesthesiologists report feeling fairly compensated – ranking fifth out of 29 specialties according to Medscape’s 2021 Physician Compensation Report.