Anesthesiologists are responsible for the care of a patient immediately before, during and after a surgical procedure. Like other medical doctors, anesthesiologists undergo four years of undergraduate school and four years of medical school before they can begin specialized training in anesthesiology. While there are many good medical schools in the United States, the schools that receive a "top ten" status for anesthesiology residencies are considered excellent schools because of the amount of research dollars given to the university each year by the National Institutes of Health for research into anesthesiology and its effects.

University of California-San Francisco and Washington University-St. Louis

According to the National Institutes of Health, the University of California at San Francisco and Washington University in St. Louis were ranked first and second in 2012 in anesthesiology research residency programs. The University of California at San Francisco offers residency students fellowships in cardiac anesthesia, ICU anesthesia, pain medicine anesthesia and pediatric anesthesia, as these are current research fields for the university. Washington University in St. Louis is affiliated with two children's hospitals in the area, and is a leader in pediatric anesthesiology. The anesthesiology residents at Washington University are grouped according to their area of interest: Cardiothoracic, pediatric, obstetric, organ transplantation, neurological surgery, critical care medicine and pain management. Washington University uses a simulation center for some of its resident educational programs.

Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, both private research universities on opposite sides of the country, have residency programs in anesthesiology that were ranked third and fourth in 2012. Johns Hopkins accepts 25 students into its residency program yearly. The university assigns each new resident a faculty member for the first month of school for individualized teaching and an introduction to the program, and students are given months of research time to spend researching their area of interest, along with one month rotations in areas such as surgical intensive care, preoperative evaluation and pediatrics. Stanford University anesthesiology residents spend time rotating between Stanford University-Packard Children's Hospital, The Veterans Administration Palo Alto Health Care System and the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Areas of specialization include: Stanford University Pain Service, ENT/difficult airway, liver transplant anesthesia, post-anesthesia care, pediatric cardiac anesthesia and regional anesthesia.

University of Washington, UCLA and Duke University

The University of Washington, ranked number five, offers a combined five-year residency program of anesthesiology and critical care in addition to the typical four-year anesthesiology program. The university also offers a six year residency, with two years spent in anesthesiology research in addition to the four year residency. The University of California at Los Angeles, ranked sixth, has residents complete operating room and non-operating room rotations in pediatric, cardiac and transplant anesthesia as well as vascular and ophthalmic anesthesia. Duke University's research in anesthesiology is in three areas: Basic science in anesthesiology, biostatistics and clinical outcomes and clinical and peri-operative research. The residency program at Duke is limited to 14 students per year. Duke University is ranked seventh in the amount of research money given to the university yearly by the National Institutes of Health.

Columbia University, University of Pittsburgh and Medical College of Wisconsin

Columbia University in New York, ranked eighth, has an awards program for two of its new residents each year. The resident who is accepted for this program commits to an additional two years of training in a clinical anesthesiology area or in research in return for an annual stipend. The University of Pittsburgh, ranked ninth, offers its residents the opportunity in the third year to practice anesthesiology abroad, either in pediatric medicine in an underserved country in Asia or South America, or in transplant/cardiac anesthesia at the Mediterranean Institute for Transplantation and Specialized Therapies in Palermo, Italy. The Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, ranked tenth, equips its first year residents with podcasts and lecture downloads on iPads. Also, the college offers "real world" workshops for its residents on money management, types of practices doctors may choose, malpractice law and types of insurance doctors should acquire.