How Do You Become an Orthopedic Surgeon?


Quick Answer

It takes at least 14 years of schooling and specialized training to become a certified orthopedic surgeon. The first step is to obtain a four-year bachelor's degree, which must include a significant amount of coursework in various science disciplines, especially chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology. From there one must be accepted into and complete medical school, pass the necessary licensing exams and complete a residency program.

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Full Answer

After graduating with a bachelor's degree, an individual must take the Medical College Admissions Test, which is required to be accepted to medical school. If accepted, the person then needs to attend the full four years of medical school. After completing school, they must pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination.

After passing the licensing exam, the student then moves on to a residency program, which involves working in a teaching hospital in order to gain more hands-on knowledge and experience. The first year of the residency program is more general, giving new doctors a chance to work in a variety of different medical disciplines.

In order to become a licensed orthopedic surgeon, doctors are required to complete a full five years of residency. After the first year, doctors can eventually begin to focus more on the various subspecialties of orthopedics, such as spine, hand and foot, or hip and joint. After completing the residency, the doctor can then begin working. However, many people continue their education with an additional one year fellowship that is focused directly on their preferred subspecialty in order to gain the experience necessary to obtain a specialty certification from the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.

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