Anesthesia Residency Match: BEAT more than 2,000 Applicants
Learning about the specialty
Since anesthesiology is a specialty many students don’t have direct exposure to until the fourth year of medical school, it is important to learn about this specialty early in your medical education if you think it might interest you. This means trying to plan some shadowing with an anesthesiologist or within the anesthesiology department at your medical school during your first and/or second years. Some students will have a two week anesthesiology block of the surgical core rotation during the third year, however. The American Society of Anesthesiologists (https://www.asahq.org/For-the-Public-and-Media/About-Profession.aspx) is a great resource for students who want to learn more about the field. However, nothing can replace actual exposure to the field and meeting a variety of anesthesiologists who work in different settings to know if the specialty is a good fit for your interests and strengths.
What criteria are most important to match in anesthesiology?
Understanding what is most important to anesthesiology program directors and admissions committees will allow you to position yourself as well as possible to match in the specialty. It is also important to know how competitive you are for anesthesiology. By reviewing data published by the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) including the 2018 Program Director’s Surveys and Charting Outcomes in the Match, together with our own knowledge of what makes a successful applicant, we will outline what is most important to match!
Anesthesiology Residency Match
Anesthesiology is a residency that has two entry points. Some programs start in the PGY1 year while some start in the PGY2 year. In 2018, there were 1,253 PGY 1 positions and 447 PGY2 positions. US seniors filled 68.7% of PGY 1 positions and 55% of PGY2 positions.
There were also 140 positions reserved for physicians with previous training in the 2018 match. There were a total of 1,840 anesthesiology residency positions offered in the 2018 residency match.
Allopathic US Senior Medical Students:
Cumulatively, 2,004 applicants applied for 1,840 anesthesiology (PGY1 and PGY2) residency positions in 2018. Of those 2,004 applicants, 1,129 were US senior medical students. Only 45 US seniors did not match in to anesthesiology last year (four percent). Therefore, 96% of allopathic US senior anesthesiology applicants matched in anesthesiology.
This is the data for those US senior medical students who matched successfully:
- Mean number of contiguous ranks: 14.6 (444 applicants ranked 16 more more programs)
- Mean number of distinct specialties ranked: 1.3
- Mean USMLE Step 1 score: 232
- Mean USMLE Step 2 score: 244
- Mean number of research experiences: 2.9
- Mean number of abstracts, presentations, and publications: 4.5
- Mean number of work experiences: 3.1
- Mean number of volunteer experiences: 6.4
- Percentage who are AOA members: 10.5
- Percentage who graduated from one of the 40 U.S. medical schools with the highest NIH funding: 30.6
- Percentage who have Ph.D. degree: 2.5
- Percentage who have another graduate degree: 15
Osteopathic Medical Students
Cumulatively, 2,004 applicants applied for 1,840 anesthesiology (PGY1 and PGY2) residency positions in 2018. There were 296 osteopathic applicants. Of those, 267 matched. Therefore, 90.2% of osteopathic medical student anesthesiology applicants matched in anesthesiology
The data for those osteopathic students who matched successfully:
- Mean number of contiguous ranks: 11.2
- Mean number of distinct specialties ranked: 1.3
- Mean COMLEX-USA Level 1 score: 571
- Mean COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE score: 602
- Mean USMLE Step 1 score: 227
- Mean USMLE Step 2 CK score: 239
- Mean number of research experiences: 1.8
- Mean number of abstracts, presentations, and publications: 2.5
- Mean number of work experiences: 3.2
- Mean number of volunteer experiences: 6.2
- Percentage who have a Ph.D. degree: 0.9
- Percentage who have another graduate degree: 25
United States International Medical Student/Graduate (IMG) Data
Cumulatively, 2,004 applicants applied for 1,840 anesthesiology (PGY1 and PGY2) residency positions in 2018. There were 192 US IMGs who applied for anesthesiology. A total of 122 matched. Therefore, 63.5 percent of US IMGs anesthesiology applicants matched in anesthesiology.
Below is the data for those US IMG applicants who matched successfully:
- Mean number of contiguous ranks: 10.2
- Mean number of distinct specialties ranked: 2.0
- Mean USMLE Step 1 score: 231
- Mean USMLE Step 2 score: 237
- Mean number of research experiences: 1.5
- Mean number of abstracts, presentations, and publications: 2.1
- Mean number of work experiences: 3.2
- Mean number of volunteer experiences: 4.2
- Percentage who have a Ph.D. degree: 1.8
- Percentage who have another graduate degree: 21.6
Non-US International Medical Student/Graduate (IMG) Data:
Cumulatively, 2,004 applicants applied for 1,840 anesthesiology (PGY1 and PGY2) residency positions in 2018. A total of 199 non-US IMGs applied and 120 matched. Therefore, a total of 60% of non-US IMGs anesthesiology applicants matched in anesthesiology.
Below is the data for those non-US IMG applicants who matched successfully:
- Mean number of contiguous ranks: 6.9
- Mean number of distinct specialties ranked: 1.9
- Mean USMLE Step 1 score: 240
- Mean USMLE Step 2 score: 244
- Mean number of research experiences: 2.3
- Mean number of abstracts, presentations, and publications: 7.0
- Mean number of work experiences: 5.4
- Mean number of volunteer experiences: 3.9
- Percentage who have a Ph.D. degree: 3.6
- Percentage who have another graduate degree: 36
Looking for the raw residency match data? Be sure you click below:
Anesthesiology Residency Interview
Based on the 2018 Program Director’s Survey published by the NRMP, the following factors were most important in deciding who to invite for an anesthesiology residency interview:
- Any failed attempt in USMLE/COMLEX
There is no question that a USMLE/COMLEX failure is a deal breaker for many programs. However, in our experience, this is “easier” to overcome if you are a US allopathic student. The 2018 Program Director’s Survey indicated that 66% of programs rarely consider an applicant with a Step failure and 35% never consider an applicant with a Step failure.
- USMLE Step 1/COMLEX Level 1 score
It is a fact of life that your performance on Step 1 or COMLEX 1 will impact the likelihood that your application is “screened in” and that you are invited for an interview. Many programs automatically screen out applications if the Step/COMLEX 1 score falls below a certain threshold. The 2018 Program Director’s Survey indicated that 88% of programs have a “target score” they like to see applicants earn. That cut off from most programs is between 210-220. By the same token, some programs automatically grant interviews for students with scores above a certain threshold. That threshold varies but is usually between 225 – 240 depending on the program. If you don’t do as well on Step 1 as you would have liked, take Step 2 CK early and do as well as you can! The mean Step 2 CK score for US seniors who matched was 246.
- Evidence of Professionalism and Ethics
You might ask how your professionalism and ethics might be assessed based on your written application. Program directors glean information about your personal characteristics and traits from your anesthesiology personal statement, ERAS written application, and letters of reference. This is why it is important to compose your personal statement and ERAS work, research, and volunteer experience entries thoughtfully. It is empowering to know that the outcome of your application season is, in part, within your control at this stage of the process.
- Perceived commitment to specialty, personal prior knowledge of the applicant, grades in clerkship in desired specialty, audition elective/rotation within your department, letters of recommendation in the specialty.
Anesthesiology program directors want to understand your commitment to the specialty and that you have adequately demonstrated that interest by doing as much as possible to learn about the practice of anesthesiology and gain exposure. You can express this commitment though your personal statement and ERAS experience entries. Of course, if you are known and well liked by a program to which you are applying, this is a real plus which is why away electives and audition rotations can be beneficial in the residency admissions process. This is especially important if you are less competitive applicant or you hope to train in a geographically competitive area. Letters of recommendation from anesthesiologists who know you well is also of the utmost importance. Ideally, applicants should have two letters of reference written by academic anesthesiologists. Additional letters from intensivists, internists and surgeons are also valuable.
When should you apply?
The bulk of anesthesiology interviews are extended annually in October. Therefore, it is important to send your ERAS application in early!
Now, assuming you are selected for an interview, what factors influence how (and if) you are ranked?
Here’s the list:
- Interactions with faculty during interview and visit
- Interpersonal skills
- Interactions with housestaff during interview and visit
- Feedback from current residents
As you can see, after the interview, it is your “interview performance,” interpersonal qualities, and how you are perceived by anyone and everyone you meet that will influence how you are ranked (and even if you are ranked) the most. This is why, no matter how strong an applicant you are, it is important to be comfortable with the interview process. It is also valuable to know yourself; are you an introvert or more of an extrovert? What types of social situations make you comfortable or uncomfortable? During residency interviews you will be meeting many new people and having numerous conversations with strangers. Be prepared! While your USMLE/COMLEX scores, grades, letters of reference and written application will still be considered after you interview, it is how you do on your interview day itself that will most greatly influence your rank position at any program where you interview.
What if you don’t match or you feel you need personalized help?
Applicants often feel lost, confused and overwhelmed by the residency application process. This is where MedEdits can help. We have helped hundreds of applicants match successfully. Whether you need a fourth year planing strategy, help with your personal statement, interview help, or any other guidance related to the residency match, we will make sure you are positioned as well as possible to match well!
Looking for an anesthesia residency program?
Check out our state by state list below.
|George Washington University Program|
|MedStar Health/Georgetown University Hospital Program|
|HCA West Florida GME Consortium/Oak Hill Hospital Program|
|University of Florida Program|
|Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science (Jacksonville) Program|
|University of Florida College of Medicine Jacksonville Program|
|Jackson Memorial Hospital/Jackson Health System Program|
|Kendall Regional Medical Center Program|
|Mount Sinai Medical Center of Florida, Inc Program|
|University of Central Florida/HCA GME Consortium Program|
|Larkin Community Hospital Program|
|Cleveland Clinic Florida Program|
|Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Program|
|Boston University Medical Center Program|
|Brigham and Women’s Hospital Program|
|Massachusetts General Hospital Program|
|St Elizabeth’s Medical Center Program|
|Tufts Medical Center Program|
|Lahey Clinic Program|
|University of Massachusetts Program|
|Cooper Medical School of Rowan University/Cooper University Hospital Program|
|St Barnabas Medical Center Program|
|Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Program|
|Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Program|
|St Joseph’s Regional Medical Center Program|
Sunrise Health GME Consortium Program
|Geisinger Health System Program|
|Penn State Milton S Hershey Medical Center Program|
|UPMC Pinnacle Lititz Program Osteopathic Recognized!|
|Drexel University College of Medicine/Hahnemann University Hospital Program|
|Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University/TJUH Program|
|Temple University Hospital Program|
|University of Pennsylvania Health System Program|
|Allegheny Health Network Medical Education Consortium (AGH/WPH) Program|
|UPMC Medical Education Program|
Brown University/Rhode Island Hospital-Lifespan Programa