How Much Should You Be Making as An Anesthesiologist?

When patients are getting ready to undergo surgery, they want to be sure that they are under the care of the best surgeon the hospital can offer.

Despite this, very few patients even consider how important a role their anesthesiologist plays. As an anesthesiologist, you ensure the safety and comfort of those patients while they are in surgery.

How much income should that position earn you?

There are a variety of factors that come into play that affect how much an anesthesiologist can make.

This article will help you determine your deserved income range based on your situation. We’ll then discuss how best to protect this income and plan for the future.


Average Anesthesiologist Salary

According to Medscape, the average anesthesiologist salary in 2020 was $398,000.

Yet, when you compare that with the data from the most recent information on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, there is a significant gap.

According to bls.gov, anesthesiologists’ mean annual wage is only $261,730.

Does this jump in salary for an anesthesiologist cause you some skepticism about the Medscape survey’s accuracy?

Hopefully, you’ll feel more confident when you look at the numbers from other sources.

According to Salary.com, anesthesiologists can make anywhere between $294,328 to $496,263, with the median salary being $395,200. Many other career trend websites have similar numbers.

The Medscape survey reported that 60% of anesthesiologists feel fairly compensated. 89% would stick with their choice of specialty if they could choose again.

This is good news for those who want to become an anesthesiologist. All in all, they are physicians that are reasonably content in their career. (Though, that doesn’t mean that an anesthesiologist can’t improve their situation.)

Related: How Much Do Pain Management Specialists Make?


Factors That Affect an Anesthesiologist Salary

An anesthesiologist may be able to review their current situation and make some adjustments that could significantly influence their base salary.

Below are the factors that can affect how much an anesthesiologist makes.

Years of Experience

In early anesthesiology, a resident will earn $63,300 in their first year, according to Medscape’s 2020 Resident Salary and Debt Report. 

With each completed year of residency, the salary will increase slightly.

According to compensation data from Payscale.com, anesthesiologists steadily earn more as they gain experience in the field.

The national average salary of an entry-level anesthesiologist is $289,000. After gaining five years of experience, the average salary of an anesthesiologist jumps to $301,000.

An anesthesiologist with over ten years of experience can expect to earn $326,000. An anesthesiologist with more than two decades of experience can earn $337,000 or more.

The average pay of anesthesiologists increases with experience. However, the final numbers are also heavily dependent on location and practice type.

Location

As with all medical positions, the cost of living and demand comes into play when determining an anesthesiologist’s expected earnings. However, specific locations pay a higher wage.

According to the ZipRecruiter, some of the top-paying states for anesthesiologist jobs are:

  1. Wyoming, averaging $375,867
  2. Arizona, averaging $350,535
  3. New York, averaging $343,451
  4. Ohio, averaging $330,678
  5. Oklahoma, averaging $298,294

These statistics also show that the lowest-paying states for anesthesiologist jobs are:

  • Pennsylvania, averaging $293,495
  • Texas, averaging $281,936
  • North Carolina, averaging $261,818

Middle-earning states include Alabama, Florida, Maine, Michigan, and New Jersey.

In terms of cities, ZipRecruiter lists the highest paying locations as those in California and Alaska. Alaska undoubtedly pays very well due to the low supply of anesthesiologists within the state.

Type of Practice

The type of practice that employs an anesthesiologist will also play a big part in salary ranges. These five healthcare settings pay varying salaries to anesthesiologists.

Specialty Hospitals

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the average pay for anesthesiologists according to industry. This list ranks specialty hospitals as the industry that offer the highest paying positions for anesthesiologists.

General Hospital

General and surgical hospitals ranked lowest on this list. Even though it seems likely that this industry has the most considerable demand for anesthesiologists.

Perhaps the employment of CRNAs or registered nurse anesthetics plays a role in offering anesthesiologists in general hospitals a less demanding schedule. And, as a result, a less competitive salary.

Outpatient Clinic

A close second for the highest paying industry for anesthesiologists after specialty hospitals?
Outpatient care centers.

In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hourly wage for anesthesiologists in outpatient clinics is only pennies lower than specialty hospitals.

Doctor’s Office

A physician’s office places third in respect to their anesthesiologists’ compensation. Still, there is a considerably higher amount of anesthesiologists employed in this industry than any other.

Dentist’s Office

An often-overlooked industry that employs an anesthesiologist is a dentist’s office. This position will earn you slightly more for your sedation patient care giving than a job at a general hospital.

Locum Tenens

Anesthesiologists who work in a locum tenens capacity can earn an annual salary of $281,438, according to ZipRecruiter.

Incentives

Another factor that can help increase an anesthesiologist’s total compensation is how many incentives they earn.

According to Medscape, 56% of all anesthesiologists that completed their survey received a bonus of an average of $57, 000

This survey also shows that, on average, about 78% of anesthesiologists earn their total yearly incentive. This goes to show that annual incentives are a relied upon a percentage of most anesthesiologists’ income.


Anesthesiologists and Their Student Loan Debt

Medscape data states that 70% of all doctors have some student loan debt, and 35% of resident doctors have over $250,000 in medical school debt.

This large sum of debt can weigh very heavily on a physician’s financial future.

To aid the process of becoming financially stable, look for the best and fastest way to pay off your medical student loans.

Many physicians coming out of medical school aren’t aware of all the possibilities available to help them save thousands in debt.

Ready to ditch that debt for good? See our article: 10 Options for Paying Off Med School Loans.


Subspecialties for Anesthesiologists

Anesthesiologist supplies
As specialized as anesthesiology is, there are still sub-specialties in this field of medicine. Below are four of the most common and how these rank in terms of compensation.

Obstetrical Anesthesias

An obstetrical anesthesiologist’s job title includes the use of anesthetics to aid in delivering a baby or reducing the pain of birthing.

This sub-specialty is one of the highest-earning in anesthesiology, according to Payscale. An entry-level obstetrical anesthesiologist can expect to earn an average of $327,500 per year.

Recovery and Post Anesthesia Care

After a patient has been under anesthesia, they still need monitoring as they are recovering to ensure there are no complications. There is a sub-specialty in anesthesia that cares for these patients.

The job description of an anesthesiologist in recovery and post-anesthesia care includes being responsible for these patients.

Entry-level anesthesiologists with this sub-specialty can start out making $271,564 per year, according to Payscale.

Cardiothoracic Anesthesia

ZipRecruiter has the average income of an entry-level cardiothoracic anesthesiologist as $236,987 per year. However, the earners in the top 90th percentile can earn $400,000 in a year.

These numbers show a wide range of earning potential for a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist depending on varying factors.

Pain Medicine

Anesthesiologists who specialize in pain medicine earn on the low end of the spectrum for an annual salary.

According to Payscale, anesthesiologists in pain management can begin their career earning $266,853 annually.

Pediatric Anesthesiology

Although ZipRecruiter has the national average annual salary of pediatric anesthesiology as low as $167,107, the top 75th percentile of pediatric anesthesiologists earns $300,000.

Yet again, many factors can significantly affect the income of this sub-specializing anesthesiologist.

Learn how anesthesiologist salaries compare to those of other specialties in our Salary and Compensation Library.


How to Negotiate Your Anesthesiology Employment Contract

Now that you have a better understanding of how much your position as an anesthesiologist is worth, your next step is to negotiate your income to meet those numbers, or better yet — beat them.

While a physician has nerves of steel with a patient under anesthetics, many can lose their nerve when dealing with a potential employer.

Employment contract negotiation need not be a source of anxiety.

Any anesthesiologist can negotiate a contract to earn more than a nurse anesthetist. Still, many would feel unequipped to ensure that their employment contract’s language is in their best interest.

This is where a team of professionals can really help. They’ll review your contract before finalization and point out any potential setbacks.

A new position on the job market will require a new employment contract, but there are other situations where a contract review is a wise move.

This includes whenever you renew a contract for another few years or if you choose to renegotiate an agreement that you currently have. It would be best if you also had a contract review when exiting a contract.

Of course, if you are having a change in compensation or benefits, you should also be sure to read through and have a professional check the new contract.

Lastly, when you transition from employee to partner, you will want your new contract to have exact language to protect your part of the business and your potential earnings.

Every complete employment contract should cover each of the areas below in clear and concise language:

  • compensation and benefits
  • duties and responsibilities
  • partnership and ownership agreements
  • begin and end dates
  • restrictive covenants
  • termination details
  • insurance requirements

 


Disability Insurance to Protect Your Salary

Although it isn’t something that we want to imagine, disability can happen to us all.

What would happen to your finances if you become unable to work due to injury or illness?

Disability insurance comes to the rescue in a situation such as this. It’s a smart investment that will help you protect your income in case of emergencies.

Not all disability insurance policies are created equal. We can help you find the right plan for you. Contact us today.

Be prepared should the need ever arise by reading: How to File a Disability Insurance Claim for Physicians.


Building a Retirement From Your Annual Salary

The earlier that a physician begins to plan their finances toward retirement, the earlier they will be able to retire. It is critical that a physician does not put off retirement planning until they are ready to retire.

Anesthesiologists have a few options to consider as a retirement fund. Those available to them are dependent on the form of employment they choose.

For anesthesiologists employed full-time by a healthcare organization, they will gain a 401k plan if they work for a company that makes a profit.

For anesthesiologists that are self-employed or partners in private practice, they can still have a 401k plan. But, they also have additional options to contribute to their retirement fund and qualify for tax deductions.

These include money purchase plans, profit-sharing plans, and defined benefit plans. Both self- and direct-employed anesthesiologists can benefit from making contributions to a Roth IRA fund.

Related: The Complete Guide to Physician Retirement Planning.


Effective Tax Planning

Sign reading "taxes" laying on a pile of paper money
Taxes are never simple, especially when you work at such a high-paying job. An anesthesiologist should always consider enlisting the help of a professional when filling out their taxes.

This one step can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Professionals know where to look for tax deductions, exemptions, credits, and other ways  to save you money that you might be missing.

Most people would consider doing their own taxes as a great way to save money.

When you make hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, a professional could help you find ways to lower your tax obligation by thousands.

Learn: 5 Tax Planning Strategies for Physicians (2021 Edition)


Anesthesiologists are an essential part of a hospital’s critical care, obstetric, and surgical teams and deserve recognition as such.

Depending on your chosen path in anesthetics and your preferred location to practice, your professional day can vary.
Your education and experience qualify you to care for your patients, but you might not feel as capable when it comes to the business of finances.

Physicians Thrive is dedicated to helping anesthesiologists like you earn the most for your specialty. Our team of compensation specialists can set you up financially now and for the future. Click here to contact us now.

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