Anesthesiologist Salaries Compared: Are You Paid What You're Worth
Anesthesiologists are an integral part of any surgery team. Because of this, anesthesiologists should be well compensated for their services.
Various factors can affect how much an anesthesiologist will earn.
Average Anesthesiologist Salary
According to Medscape, one of the leading sources for physician salaries, the average salary for an anesthesiologist is $405,000 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a much lower average for how much an anesthesiologist makes.
Their data shows the national average income for anesthesiologists at $331,190 per year, but the BLS has notoriously low numbers across the board for salaries.
On the other hand, salary.com has more promising numbers, listing the top 90th percentile of anesthesiologist jobs earning up to $522,121.
As you can see, the annual salary for practicing anesthesiologists can vary greatly, and we will delve into the various factors that can affect this.
How do anesthesiologists feel about how they are being compensated for their job title? According to Medscape’s report, 53% of anesthesiologists feel fairly compensated.
If they could begin medical school all over again, 86% reported that they would stick with their choice of specialty.
Factors That Affect an Anesthesiologist’s Salary
Several factors determine the hourly wage or base salary of an anesthesiologist. In this section, we will discuss exactly what those factors are and how they affect the salary of an anesthesiologist.
This data can help a physician know what kind of salary they can expect according to their individual circumstances and possibly find even more rewarding anesthesiologist opportunities.
Years of Experience
So, what about after completing your residency? As with every medical specialty, you can expect a big raise when you get into practicing anesthesiology full-time.
Anesthesiologists’ pay increases with experience but greatly depends on the type of practice employing an anesthesiologist.
According to Payscale.com, anesthesiologists can earn around $298,000 in their first year of practice and can’t expect much more five years later.
However, they can see a big jump after ten years of practice, earning up to $339,000. After ten more years of experience, this number jumps again to $349,000 annually.
Anesthesiologists who are board-certified can leverage this to request a higher salary when applying for a new position.
Another big factor that can change your expected pay is where you are practicing anesthesiology.
Why would one state or city pay an anesthesiologist more than another?
The short answer is that the cost of living and demand for anesthesiologists in the area either increase or decrease the average salary offered.
However, the demand for anesthesiologists in a location plays a much more significant role in the average pay.
Let’s take a look at the differences in pay across the nation, according to ZipRecruiter:
Top Paying States
The states that pay their anesthesiologists the most include:
- Wyoming at $375,144
- Arizona at $373,233
- Tennessee at $367,939
Lowest Paying States
On the lower end of the spectrum, these states pay their anesthesiologist much less:
- North Carolina at $255,484
- Louisiana at $279,827
- Texas at $285,884
Highest Paying Cities
While some states pay a consistent salary across the state, there are some cities that pay much more, even while being in one of the states not listed among the higher-paying for anesthesiologist jobs.
According to ZipRecruiter’s data, the cities that pay the most include several in California:
Seattle, Washington; Barnstable, Massachusetts; and, oddly enough, Frankston, Texas, also made the top-paying cities list, even though Texas is one of the lowest-paying states.
Some states you would have expected to see among the top paying didn’t make it to the top of the list.
Florida is almost smack in the middle, and Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan are hanging around the bottom.
New York and Wisconsin fared better. Even though they didn’t make the top 10 paying states, they rank higher than most.
Type of Practice
The type of practice an anesthesiologist works in can greatly affect their expected salary.
From the highest-paying practices to the lowest, here are the various types of practices an anesthesiologist most often works for, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
If you want to apply for a position that will earn you the most as an anesthesiologist, you should focus on positions at a physician’s office.
The BLS shows that these positions offer anesthesiologists the highest pay at around $349,590.
Working for a specialty hospital is among the highest-paying positions available to anesthesiologists, second only to physicians’ offices.
The mean annual wage for anesthesiology positions in specialty hospitals is $318,950.
Working at a dentist’s office as an anesthesiologist can earn you slightly more than working for a general hospital.
These positions have the highest demand for anesthesiologists but offer the lowest pay.
This is often the practice where new anesthesiologists start their careers since these jobs are plentiful.
Medical Center or Outpatient Clinic
You won’t find many positions as an anesthesiologist in a medical center or outpatient clinic. This type of practice would definitely offer a more laid back environment, but the pay is lower at just around $208,000 per year.
The pay for locum tenens positions for anesthesiologists will vary depending on location, but according to ZipRecruiter, the national average pay is $7,100 per week (X 52 = $369,200).
Self-Employed vs. Employed
While it is generally assumed that self-employment will earn a physician higher wages, the data from Medscape proves otherwise when it comes to anesthesiologists.
Their survey shows that employed anesthesiologists make an average of $431,000 annually, while their self-employed peers only make $387,000 in private practice.
The gender wage gap is a hot topic among female physicians; unfortunately, anesthesiology is not immune to this disparity.
Medscape’s compensation report shows that male anesthesiologists make 17% more than their female counterparts.
Medscape’s report shows that the incentive bonus for anesthesiologists increased in 2022 by about $13,000.
Incentives can make a big difference in a physician’s take-home pay.
Medscape reports that about 56% of anesthesiologists receive a bonus of an average of $68,000 per year.
Subspecialties for Anesthesiologists
An anesthesiologist can see a change in salary according to their job description or chosen subspecialty within anesthetics.
Here are some of the most common subspecialties pursued by anesthesiologists and how much money they can expect to see on average:
Working with children in anesthetics can earn you a higher salary than most other subspecialties.
According to ZipRecruiter, pediatric anesthesiologists earn an average of $331,286.
One of the highest-paying subspecialties in anesthetics, obstetrical anesthesia, can earn a physician an average of $327,500 just starting out, according to Payscale.com.
Specializing in cardiothoracic anesthesia can earn you an average of $306,422 annually, according to ZipRecruiter.
Recovery / Post-Anesthesia Care
Those who come after a patient has undergone anesthesia and ensure that they recover well can expect to earn a little less than other anesthesiologists.
According to Payscale.com, the average entry-level post-anesthesia care salary is $271,564.
Entry-level pain management specialists can earn an average of $271,515 per year, according to the data presented by Payscale.
Registered Nurse Anesthetist
While not a “subspecialty,” we’ve included the CRNA path as a possible career choice for readers pursuing anesthetics.
According to Salary.com, certified registered nurse anesthetists earn an average of $204,264 per year.
Benefits to Increase the Value of Your Employment Contract
Regarding the value of your employment, your salary is only a fraction of the benefits you can expect to receive.
An anesthesiologist applying for a position should consider the various benefits offered in their employment contract to see what their total compensation will be.
Some physicians will even consider a position that offers a lower salary simply because the benefits offer significant value
Salary.com presents a detailed chart outlining the common benefits of an anesthesiologist’s job and their value.
Let’s take a deeper look at these numbers to highlight the value of these benefits so that you can better appreciate these additions to your employment contract.
Your employment can also earn you a large contribution to your retirement fund.
A 401k plan for corporate employment and a 403b for employment at a nonprofit organization can earn you around $10,000 annually.
Group disability insurance from your employer may not cover all your financial needs should you become disabled. However, it can cover a large portion of your monthly expenses.
For the best coverage and financial protection in the event of a disability, we strongly encourage physicians to seek out their own true own-occupation disability insurance policy.
Unfortunately, medical professionals also require some medical attention at times.
An anesthesiologist’s job will usually include the option to enroll in their employer-provided healthcare insurance plan.
These plans have an average value of $6,374 per year.
Some jobs will also provide dental and vision insurance plans as well. This only increases the value of your healthcare benefits.
Student Loan Repayment
Physicians carry one of the largest student loan debts of any occupation due to the number of years required to get their medical degree.
According to Medscape’s Residents Salary and Debt Report, over a quarter of all physicians owe over $300,000 for medical school.
When your employment helps to pay off some of these hefty loans, it is a great relief and a wonderful benefit.
Some jobs not only provide some student loan repayment but qualify you for student loan forgiveness. Learn more about your student loan options here.
A pension plan, although rare nowadays, can help increase the value of your anesthesiologist job.
These employer contributions act as a private retirement fund, separate from your government 401k.
The more your employer adds to this fund, the better your finances will be during retirement.
There’s nothing better than taking a day off and getting paid for it. That’s why PTO is one of the most sought-after employee benefits.
In fact, according to the chart we’ve been referring to, the average value of paid time off for anesthesiologists is $63,242.
Where the demand for anesthesiologists is high, many practices will draw in new physicians by offering a hefty sign-on bonus.
How much is received is largely dependent on the demand, physician qualifications and experience, and how well they negotiate for this benefit.
Often, an anesthesiologist position in an area with few in-state applicants will offer a relocation fee as part of their employment bonuses to entice out-of-state physicians to apply for the position.
Again, this number can vary greatly. If your position has yet to offer this bonus, don’t be afraid to ask for it if you are relocating to accept this position.
New anesthesiologists or experienced anesthesiologists looking for a new position can leverage the data presented in this article to position themselves to earn the highest salary available to them.
It can also help to know these numbers when going into an employment contract negotiation. You can present these when negotiating your salary and benefits.
It can also help to know the average pay around the country and how that measures up to your current salary. You may be entitled to an increase in pay.
At LeverageRx, we help medical professionals take control of their finances. Contact us today to see what we can do to help you.