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How to become an Anaesthetist

Anaesthetists are responsible for administering general or local anaesthesia to a patient for a variety of reasons, including undergoing surgery, for diagnostic procedures, or for pain relief. They also monitor patients during the procedure in case of an adverse reaction.

If you’re kind and dedicated, want work that is rewarding, and are prepared to take on the responsibility of the role, becoming an Anaesthetist could be ideal for you.


About you:


  • Fantastic problem solver
  • Excellent communicator
  • Thorough and analytical
  • Calm and observant
  • Dedicated and hard-working
  • Kind and caring
  • Works well in teams
  • Resilient and level-headed


The job:


  • Examining patients pre-procedure to determine appropriate sedation methods
  • Discussing procedures with patients and obtaining informed consent
  • Administering local and general anaesthesia using a variety of methods
  • Supervising patients as they undergo procedures
  • Acting swiftly to prevent injury in the event of an adverse reaction
  • Monitoring patients’ recovery post-procedure
  • Recording thorough details of anaesthetics administered
  • Liaising with other healthcare workers, such as surgeons and nurses


Lifestyle Impact: Low


  • Part Time opportunities: Very low – only around 19% of Anaesthetists work part-time (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 47 hours a week, which is above average (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Anaesthetists’ salary (average) $195,000* per year (source: au.talent.com). Salaries vary depending on your skills and experience, with some Anaesthetists making over $400,000 a year.
  • Future career growth: Moderate (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • A majority of your work will be done indoors, in clinical settings such as hospitals and day surgeries.
  • Emergency surgeries may need to be done at any time, so be prepared to be on-call day or night.
  • You may need to work with patients who are distressed, in pain, or nervous.


Anaesthetists are most in demand in these locations:


Around 5,800 people worked as Anaesthetists in Australia in 2021 (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au). Demand is spread evenly across Australia, with extra demand in regional and rural areas. Most Anaesthetists work in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry.


How to become an Anaesthetist in Australia


To become an Anaesthetist in Australia takes many years of hard work and training. You will first need to complete a Medical degree, followed by internship, residency and fellowship.


Step 1 – Complete Year 12 with a focus on English, Maths and Sciences.


Step 2 – Complete a Medical program at university.


Step 3 – After graduation, complete 2 years of general hospital experience.


Step 4 – Apply to become a trainee with the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA), and complete 5 years of training.


Step 5 – Apply for specialist medical registration with Ahpra and start working as fully qualified Anaesthetist.


Step 6 – Undertake mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) throughout your career and renew your registration annually.


Find out more here –




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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What do Anaesthetists do?


Anaesthetists prepare patients to undergo surgery and other procedures by administering anaesthetics and sedatives.


Which industries employ Anaesthetists?


Anaesthetists are mostly employed in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry.


What options are there for career progression?


There are many pathways you can take as an Anaesthetist, working in general surgery, perioperative medicine, providing pain relief to chronic sufferers, or as a rural specialist working in the farthest reaches of the country.


Do I need to go to university to become an Anaesthetist?


Yes, you will need to complete a medical degree and undergo around seven years of additional training before you can work as an Anaesthetist.


Where do Anaesthetists work?


Anaesthetists are employed in both public and private hospitals, private clinics, day hospitals, and in specialist clinics.


What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become an Anaesthetist?


If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as an Anaesthetist is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:

  1. Start looking at medical programs in Australia and make sure you’re on track to meet any entrance requirements. Consider whether you’re willing to complete the long training requirements.
  2. See if you can find work experience in medicine or health. This will help you see if you might enjoy the work, and can help you start building important contacts for the future.
  3. Talk to an Anaesthetist to see what a day in their life is like. If you don’t know anyone, see if you can watch videos or documentaries about a career in health.

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