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How to Get Anesthesiology Certification for Medical Doctors

Updated on January 22, 2012

Anesthesiology is a major specialization in the field of medicine and vital to units engaging in surgical medicine. An aspiring anesthesiologist can get certified through the American Board of Anesthesiology.

Naturally, all physicians seeking to become a board-certified anesthesiologist are going to have to complete an anesthesiology residency program. This is in addition to the normal medical school and training required to get a medical license in each state.

During the residency program, the American Board of Anesthesiology provides an in-training anesthesiology exam. This is designed to familiarize aspiring anesthesiologists with the format of the board's certification exam and give some idea of the content and difficulty level of the test. The Board publishes the in-training anesthesiologist exam content outline online. See the Resources section of this article for a link to that and other resources mentioned here.

It is also beneficial to look at previous exams to get an idea of how to approach preparing for and taking this test. If you do well on the in-training exam, you should be well on your way to getting ready for the real anesthesiology certification exam. If not, you should at least get a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses so you can make a plan for further study.

There is also a link below to the official exam content outline for the real test. These outlines are good for leading you to the correct exam references. Your anesthesiology program should be able to provide you with an appropriate list of textbooks or other references. Reading anesthesiology journals can also help in preparing for the exam, but that should be considered a bonus, not the main study tool.

All future applicants should plan at least a year ahead for the application and exam. The fees to get anesthesiology certification involve an application fee and separate exam fees. The costs differ based on when you apply. For example, some applicants pay about $900, while others pay close to $2000 just to apply.

There are two separate parts to the anesthesiology board certification exam. The first part is $600 to $900 as of August 2011, depending on when you take it. The second part is around $2000. These are all hefty, nonrefundable fees, so take the in-training exams seriously in preparation for the anesthesiologist exam.

View the "Booklet of Information" for full details on how to get board certification in anesthesiology.

Note: There are also many sub-specialties for anesthesiologists. These include pain medicine, critical care medicine, hospice and palliative medicine, and sleep medicine. See the "Booklet of Information" for full requirements for anesthesiology sub-specialties.


American Board of Anesthesiology: In-Training Exam Content Outline

ABA: Official Exam Content Outline

ABA: Booklet of Information


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