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Overall Salary Levels
Anesthesiologists help patients undergo surgery painlessly and help alleviate suffering for other patients with chronic pain. They administer anesthetics and render life support and respiratory tract management during surgery. They maintain the patient's vital life functions such as heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, and breathing before, throughout, and after anesthesia.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2009 Occupational Outlook Survey estimates the total number of employed anesthesiologists at 37,450. It lists anesthesiologists' mean salaries at $101.80 hourly and $211,750 annually, making anesthesiologists one of the top-paying jobs. Anesthesiologists at the bottom 10 percentile earn $55.52 an hour and $115,470 on average.
Payscale.com makes a higher estimate of anesthesiologist salaries at $292,000 average with the top-paying anesthesiologist job paying $408,000.
The high pay levels for anesthesiologists come owing to the high entry barriers and difficulties of a career as an anesthesiologist. Anesthesiologists require 12-plus years of diligent education and training, and they experience high stress levels in the job. Even a slight mistake can cause death to the patient.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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Industry-Wise Salary Profile
The best employer of anesthesiologists is an office of physicians, paying $106.25 an hour or $221,010 annually, on average. They are also the single largest employer of anesthesiologists, employing 29,790 anesthesiologists.
The next major employer of anesthesiologists is general medical and surgical hospitals, employing 5,360 anesthesiologists and paying them $84.92 per hour or $176,630 annually, on average. Outpatient care centers, while employing just 870 anesthesiologists, offer a better average pay at $99.63 an hour and $207,240 annually. Specialty hospitals employ 180 anesthesiologists, paying $80.35 an hour or 167,130 annually, on average. Offices of other health practitioners employ 550 anesthesiologists and pay $78.87 an hour or $164,040 annually, on average.
An alternative employment stream is in colleges, universities, and professional schools. Such institutions employ 490 anesthesiologists, paying them $67.06 an hour and $139,490 annually, on average.
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Among the states surveyed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Arizona is the best state for an anesthesiologists; it employs 1,050 anesthesiologists and pays anesthesiologists mean salaries of $108.66 an hour or $226,020 annually. Employment prospects remain slightly better at Tennessee, with 1,180 employees, but with slightly lower average wages at $107.12 an hour or $222,800 annually. Next in the list comes Delaware, with $105.48 an hour or $219,390 a year average annual wages, but employment in this state is limited to just 180 anesthesiologists.
The metropolitan area with the highest published employment concentrations and wages for anesthesiologists is Lancaster, PA, where 260 anesthesiologists work for mean hourly wages of $96.48 or mean annual wages of $200,680.
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The overall job pospects for physicians, including anesthesiologists, will grow by 22 percent duiring the decade 2008-2018, at a rate much higher than the average for all occupations combined. The maximum opportunities and the best anesthesiologist salaries would be in rural and semi-urban areas where the availability of qualified anesthesiologists remains very much less.