The 10 Best Anesthesiology Schools in the US

When one thinks about the essential types of doctors, one might think about brain surgeons or cardiologists. But anyone doing invasive procedures ultimately relies on a very special type of doctor, an anesthesiologist.

Anesthesiologists are physicians who focus on the delivery of anesthetics. They help prepare patients for surgery by determining what type of anesthetics are needed for particular procedures, considering the patient’s health and situation. 

Anesthesiologists play just as important a role as anyone else involved in a surgery, as they make sure that the patient stays safe and comfortable during the procedure.

As you might guess from that description, anesthesiologists have a complex job and must be ready to contend with a host of variables. 

For that reason, their training is as challenging and thorough as that of any type of doctor. 

Like other medical practitioners, anesthesiologists must perfect their skills through educational programs and residencies, working with experienced faculty members and doing hands-on work in clinics.

For that reason, the school where an anesthesiologist studies is of utmost importance. They must be able to work with proven teachers, have access to the latest technologies, and do residencies at respectable teaching hospitals.

That’s a lot to cover, but this list is here to help you out. The ranking for this list is based on the U.S. News & World Report list of top anesthesiology schools at the time of this writing. 

This article identifies the qualities that make each school unique, such as the faculty and resources. With this, you’ll be able to find the best program to begin your career in this essential medical role.

10. UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine (Los Angeles, CA)

UCLA Medical Center
Biochemistry2016, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, CC BY-SA 4.0

The David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California – Los Angeles is one of the world’s most famous med schools, and not just because it’s named after a Hollywood mogul. The school works closely with the UCLA Medical Center, a level I trauma center for both adults and children, ranked by most outlets as one of the best hospitals in the nation.

Unsurprisingly, the school’s anesthesiology program is state-of-the-art. 

Devoted to providing superior clinical training to all of its students, the residency program takes full advantage of the UCLA Med Center, giving students full access to a wide range of patients and scenarios. 

In addition to these technical resources, the program also features impressive brainpower in the form of teachers such as Anesthesia History Association co-founder Selma Calmes.

9. New York University Grossman School of Medicine (New York, NY)

NYU Grossman School of Medicine
Public domain photo by Jim.henderson via Wikimedia Commons

The pediatric department at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine understands that excellent medical training requires access to excellent resources. 

One of the best is its new emergency center, The New York Simulation Center. Designed with the cooperation of the City University of New York, the Simulation Center features everything future critical care anesthesiologists need to practice their trade in high-pressure situations.

In addition to critical care, the Grossman anesthesiology department features divisions focused on other specializations within the field. 

Within the cardiothoracic division, students learn how to keep patients comfortable and safe before, during, and after surgical procedures. The obstetric division focuses on teaching students how to care for women during delivery procedures.

With all of these resources, Grossman is the perfect place for aestheticians to get their start.

8. Stanford University School of Medicine (Stanford, CA)

Stanford Medical School
Robert Skolmen Bobskol854, Stanford Medical School, CC BY-SA 3.0

With a history that stretches back to the University of the Pacific’s Medical Department, established in 1858, the Stanford University School of Medicine is one of the country’s oldest and most respected institutions. 

Part of that respect stems from the hospital in which its students train. One of the highest-ranked hospitals in the state, Stanford Health Care is a level-I trauma center with 620 beds, which gives anesthesiology students access to a wide range of patients.  

Now is the best possible time to begin studying in Stanford’s Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine, as they welcome new chair, Dr. Brian T. Bateman. Before coming to Stanford, Dr. Bateman served in the Anesthesiology Department at Harvard Medical School.

Under Dr. Bateman’s direction, the Anesthesiology Department at Stanford plans to increase its already impressive track record of research and education. 

With this new vision to build on the excellent resources, the Stanford School of Medicine promises to be a premier 21st-century institution.

7. Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (New York, NY)

Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Jim.henderson, Bard Hall Columbia, CC0 1.0

For future anesthesiologists, Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons offers a fellowship training program. The program gives students advanced instruction in their field with its two focus tracks: clinical subspecialty training and research training. 

Both tracks have a research and a clinical component, but they allow for a more intensive specialization, giving them a foot up on their future careers.

Whichever track they choose, Columbia’s students gain foundational training through participation in one of the school’s nine divisions

Each operating room in the program adheres to one of these divisions, providing extensive practice for students according to the focus of the unit. 

Students can work in everything from surgical or multidisciplinary and heart hospital intensive care units to off-site units such as the endoscopy or neurovascular areas.

6. University of Michigan School of Medicine (Ann Arbor, MI)

University of Michigan Medical School
Dwight Burdette, University of Michigan Medical Campus, Ann Arbor, Michigan, CC BY 3.0

The Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan School of Medicine gives its students ample practice opportunities, thanks to the nearly 100,000 procedures it performs every year. 

By participating in these procedures, students develop not only foundational knowledge of their craft but also the clinical and interpersonal skills they need to treat their patients.

The quality of U of M’s department can be seen in the awards the school has earned. In 2021, Robert B. Sweet Professor and Chair of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan Medical School George A. Mashour, M.D., Ph.D. was named a 2021 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

The honor comes as recognition for Mashour’s work identifying the ways that general anesthetics disrupt consciousness.

Earlier that same year, the department received $4 million in funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to discover safer and more effective pain treatments for patients after surgery.

5. University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine (Philadelphia, PA)

University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
Ajaxean, PennCHOPQuadSpring2013, CC BY-SA 3.0

Future anesthesiologists studying at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine have the honor of learning in the oldest medical school in the United States. 

Since 1765, Perleman has counted among its faculty and alumni four Nobel Laurates, two Medal of Honor recipients, and thousands of dedicated physicians.

Today, the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care continues this proud tradition with its outstanding faculty.

Dr. Michael Alan Ashburn, director of the school’s Pain Management Division has not only been recognized as a top doctor by several observing outlets but also serves as a Senior Fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. 

In addition to her ranking as Assistant Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Dr. Diana Ayubcha is the Associate Program Director of Neuroscience in Anesthesiology and Critical Care Fellowship.

4. Duke University School of Medicine (Durham, NC)

Duke University Medical School
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

Working in connection with the Duke University Medical Center, Duke Anesthesiology emphasizes the collaborative nature of the field. 

Students learn not only the fundamentals of anesthesiology but also their place in a process that involves nurses and staff to treat patients fully. With a priority on outcome-based care, Duke Anesthesiology learn to put the patient first.

That patient-first approach extends to the program’s research projects. Working out of the F. G. Hall Laboratory, faculty and students examine the possibilities of drug and stress treatments as they relate to cellular function. 

The experiments performed there involve translational research, making connections between findings in the laboratory and the treatment of real patients in practice.

Duke’s research commitment has led to the Duke Developing Research Excellence in Anesthesia Management (DREAM) Campaign. 

The Campaign provides funding and collaboration opportunities for Duke students, encouraging them to find new ways of treating patients.

3. University of California – San Francisco School of Medicine (San Francisco, CA)

Eccekevin, UCSF panorama, CC BY-SA 4.0

Students in the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care at the University of California – San Francisco School of Medicine have unique opportunities to get hands-on experience in the Pain Management Center

At the Pain Center, students not only practice their trade but also learn how to teach patients about their care. Because the Center sees approximately 800 patients per month, students have many opportunities to work with a range of students.

The Pain Management Center is just one of the training opportunities the University offers to its students. The school also features a vast research training program, which teaches students how to work towards answering the most pressing questions in the field. The school teams students with research mentors, to help encourage and direct their individual research interests.

2. Harvard Medical School (Cambridge, MA)

Harvard Medical School
Public domain photo by Kentaro Matsui via Wikimedia Commons

One of the oldest and most respected institutions in the country, the Harvard University Medical School has had among its faculty and alumni University presidents and poets, CEOS and Nobel Laurates. 

Central to the school’s success is its $804 million endowments. With this funding, the school can not only pursue ambitious research projects but also training opportunities for its students.

Those in the Anesthesiology Department benefit from this support in that it helps launch projects for the faculty, which they pursue in partnership with students. 

Those projects earn further funding from external outlets, such as the $50,000 grant that Dr. Linda Aglio earned from the Program for Interdisciplinary Neuroscience and the Women’s Brain Initiative. 

With this support, Dr. Aglio crosses disciplinary boundaries in her work, examining the relationship between gender and the opioid crisis.

1. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore, MD)

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
yusuketakeuchi, Jhmi, CC BY-SA 4.0

In the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, students learn their practice with an emphasis on innovation. 

The faculty teaches their students how to find new solutions to pain management problems when treating patients, making surgeries safer and more comfortable.

That mission is easier thanks to the excellent hospitals where the students can train. A level I pediatric trauma center Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, with 196 beds specially designed to treat unique cases.

The primary Johns Hopkins Hospital holds similar esteem. 

With over 1,000 beds to serve patients, the Hospital gives anesthesiology students ample opportunity to practice their trade. As a level I trauma center, the Hospital is especially well-suited for treating students in critical care situations.