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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Anesthesiology

Majors Overview March 14, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in anesthesiology, coursework, and their job and wage outlook.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Anesthesiology

Few schools, if any, offer bachelor’s degree programs specifically in anesthesiology; those interested in a career in the field typically complete medical degree programs.

Completion of a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program is a typical prerequisite to seek admission to medical schools, where these students can continue their education by earning a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree.

The majority of medical programs with a focus on anesthesiology require incoming students to have completed a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program. Prospective students to the programs may also need to complete undergraduate coursework in the physical sciences, advanced mathematics, organic chemistry, and biology.

Over the first three years of a bachelor’s degree program in anesthesiology, enrolled students are taught the practice of medicine. The fourth year is dedicated to the completion of anesthesiology requirements. In addition to coursework on medical disorders and common diseases, a focus on physiology and anatomy predominates study during the first two years, while the third year features clerkship and rotation aimed at imparting hands-on experience. Coursework also involves additional clinical experience, wherein the student administers pain medication in hospital environments. Through this additional training, students are taught about oral and intravenous delivery of pain medication.

Through clinical experience, students also learn to ascertain the level of pain being suffered by the patient and recognize the side effects of anesthesia and ways of addressing medical emergencies resulting from pain medication.
While medical education primarily comprises toxicology and pharmacology components, aspiring anesthesiologists can gain in-depth understanding of these topics. Students may also complete pain management training specific to numerous conditions, including trauma, obstetrical, neurological, and cardiac.


An overview of human anatomy, genetics, cell reproduction, and physiology are available through necessary coursework. Immunology, public health, and psychology are also covered. In addition to basic medical training, core coursework may include topic areas such as:

• Pain management
• Surgical procedures
• Neurology
• Pharmacology
• Anesthesiology in emergency medicine

Job and Wage Outlook

In 2013, anesthesiologists brought home an average annual wage of $235,070 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). These professionals are expected to see a job growth rate of 24% over the 2010 – 2020 decade. The optimistic projection is attributed to an aging population and the expected continual growth of healthcare-related businesses.

Aspiring physicians need state licensure and at least a four-year medical degree before they are allowed to practice their profession. Medical schools usually admit students holding undergraduate degrees; however, some schools admit those without an undergraduate degree, allowing them to earn one simultaneously with a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.).

Passage of the United States Medical Licensing Examination is mandatory for all doctors seeking to practice medicine. The American Board of Anesthesiology and the American Osteopathic Board of Anesthesiology are among the organizations that offer recognized professional certification to those employed as anesthesiologists.

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