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Medical

Anaesthetist

Anaesthetists are doctors who give anaesthetics to patients before, during and after surgery.

Annual Salary

£44,000 to £96,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

41 to 43 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; on a rota

3.8%
Future employment

There will be 3.8% more Anaesthetist jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

In this role you could:

  • explain the risks and side effects of anaesthesia
  • give anaesthetics and monitor patients during surgery
  • help reduce pain after an operation or during childbirth
  • manage chronic pain services
  • help patients receiving specialist treatments

Working environment

You may need to wear a uniform.

You could work in an NHS or private hospital.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You can get into this job through a university course or an apprenticeship.

University

To become an anaesthetist, you'll need to complete:

  • a degree in medicine recognised by the General Medical Council
  • a 2-year foundation programme of general training
  • specialist training which can take up to 8 years

A medical degree normally takes 5 years to complete. Some courses have the option to include an extra year if you want to study a subject further. This is called an intercalated year.

You might be able to study a foundation year before starting a medical degree. This will depend on your circumstances or if you have not studied enough sciences. Check with the admissions department where you want to study.

If you already have a degree, you could take a 4-year graduate entry route into medicine. There’s lots of competition and entry requirements vary, so check with the admissions department where you want to study.

Entry tests

When you apply for a course in medicine, you could be asked to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT), BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) or Graduate Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT).

They test the skills you'll need on the course, like critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis, communication and scientific knowledge.

Work experience

Medical schools will also expect you to have some relevant paid or voluntary work experience. The British Medical Association provides information on how to find a placement.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology and chemistry
For more information
Apprenticeship

From September 2024, you might be able to do a doctor degree apprenticeship which will take around 5 years to complete.

The apprenticeship is recognised by the General Medical Council.

You could then progress to the foundation course of general training before completing the specialist training.

For more information
Volunteering and work experience

You can get valuable caring skills from volunteering in health, education, charity or social care settings. You can find opportunities through:

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

The General Medical Council has a guide on what it means to be a good doctor. You might find this useful when preparing for medical school interviews.

You can use online resources to find out more about the types of interviews you can expect to get into for medical school.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the British Medical Association for professional development and training opportunities.

Further information

You can find more details on how to become an anaesthetist from the Royal College of Anaesthetists and Health Careers.

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With experience you could:become a consultant anaesthetist; lead or manage an anaesthesia department; teach medical students, trainee doctors, nurses, midwives and paramedics; become a senior consultant if you have a lot of experience and you're on the General Medical Council specialist register

As a specialist or consultant, you'll usually earn a much higher salary.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • the ability to use your judgement and make decisions
  • knowledge of medicine
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • maths skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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