I am 43 years old,and am taking science courses at a community college in Chicago. Am I too old to consider a career as an anesthesiologist?

As I remember, njbmd, an early poster on this board, was 50 years old when she graduated from medical school and entered a surgical residency.

In particular, I know a former anesthesiology resident who graduated from a combined BS-medical school program at 24 years old. He was dismissed from residency in his second year. He readily admits he went to medical school for the wrong reasons (e.g. prestige, parents), was too young and too inexperienced (he never worked a job before) to handle the long hours and intense pressure of residency. He left medicine altogether. So, what you should focus on now is not your age, but what skills, tolerances, and knowledge you need to develop to make you a productive anesthesiology resident and to show those qualities in your medical clerkships. A highly productive medical student will be noticed by residencies. Highly productive residents make residencies happy.

Also, ageism is illegal in medical school admissions and in residency selections.

It is illegal but the med schools don’t tell you:

“you’re too old to come here and won’t fit in…”

What they might/will/can/do say is:

“your undergraduate GPA is too bad for us to consider you…”


“you don’t have enough (insert your favorite upper division science course, shadowing, volunteering, leadership, mentoring, …) to admit you”

You’re not too old by any means, but you have to rock everything from this point forward – MCAT, Step exams, clerkship shelf exams – to secure a match in anesthesiology. It’s very competitive. Many academic affairs deans are advising students who apply to anesthesiology to have a plan B in a less competitive specialty.

Statistically you have a much better chance if you graduate from a US allopathic school. There were a little over 1000 anesthesia positions filled in the 2014 Match. Roughly 80% were filled by US allopathic grads, another 10% by DOs and the rest from international schools, including US offshore schools.