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Anesthesiologists are one of the most crucial players in any surgery. They do research, calculate dosages, and ensure patients’ vitals stay stable throughout procedures. Some anesthesiologists work outside surgery with various chronic pain conditions, but regardless of the setting, becoming a licensed anesthesia practitioner requires extensive training. These are the steps to beginning a career in anesthesiology.

1. Study Hard in High School and College

One of the first steps is to get through high school and college with a high GPA. Practicing anesthesiology requires a full medical degree, so students need to have the grades for admission to medical school. Many colleges offer a pre-med program that often covers basic biology, chemistry, and other topics that will build a helpful foundation for medical school.

2. Take the MCAT

In addition to good grades, prospective anesthesiologists will have to score well on the Medical College Admissions Test. To get into the best schools, students will need to do more than just earn a passing score–they’ll need to outperform the other testers. Fortunately, there are plenty of test prep courses and resources available.

3. Graduate from Medical School

Medical school usually lasts four years and prepares students with a general overview of practicing medicine before moving into a residency program and selecting a specialty. Medical school is expensive and challenging, but it is the last step to moving into a medical setting and interacting with patients daily.

4. Complete a Residency

Medical school graduates can apply for residencies, and will match them with programs that are a good fit for their skills and interests. This is a four-year program that starts with rotations through several areas in the hospital before shifting to dedicated anesthesiology training. 

5. Become a Licensed Medical Practitioner

With a completed residency, professionals can apply for a license in their state of practice. From this point, other advancements and learning opportunities are available, such as a fellowship or board certification. However, doctors can officially work as anesthesia providers with a state license.

Becoming an anesthesiologist takes time, work, and dedication, but it is a rewarding medical career. It might seem intimidating, but for people who are passionate about medical care, the process is well worth the reward.