How to Become an Orthopedic Surgeon

Orthopedic Surgeons are healthcare professionals that are experienced in treating patients having problems with their musculoskeletal system.

They are responsible for performing surgeries on individuals with joint, bone or ligament injuries or deformities.

Individuals who want to become an Orthopedic Surgeon can look forward to joining one of the highest paid professions.

Some helpful personal characteristics include being detail oriented, having physical stamina and have dexterous hands.

Education Requirements to Become an Orthopedic Surgeon

Like many other physicians and surgeons, individuals who want to become an Orthopedic Surgeon will need to complete several years of education, complete a residency and become licensed in order to join this profession.

Individuals wishing to choose a specialization may also have to complete a fellowship.

During their undergraduate career, individuals who want to become an Orthopedic Surgeon have the option to complete any bachelor’s degree.

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However, because competition into medical schools is high, individuals are encouraged to complete a science based degree such as pre-medicine, microbiology or biology.

As an alternative, individuals must show a strong history in sciences in math to stand out amongst other individuals.

Taking courses in chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics and English are highly encouraged.

Once enrolled in a medical program, medical students will focus their coursework in a variety of medical topics including: anatomy, psychology, biochemistry, microbiology, biology, medical ethics and pharmacology to name a few courses.

The first two years of medical school are focused in laboratory and classroom work where individuals learn the basics in medicine.

The last two years of medical school are focused on gaining on hands training through what are typically known as rotations.

During a variety of phases, medical students will work under the supervision of a licensed doctor and perform basic medical diagnosing and treatments.

Rotations include experience in some specialties including: internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology and psychiatry to name a few.

Individuals should ask their medical school for more information on how to complete a rotation in orthopedics.

Once an individual finishes medical school, they will need to seek a medical license in order to practice medicine.

Medical licenses are administered by individual state boards; individuals should contact their state regarding specific requirements and testing.

Once an individual is licensed, they will need to complete a 4 to 5 year residency specializing in orthopedic surgery at a hospital.

Individuals typically begin performed general surgery procedures during their first year in a residency slowly progressing to more complicated procedures and their specialization of orthopedic surgery.

Individuals who would like to specialize in a field within orthopedic surgery such as pediatric orthopedics or orthopedic sports medicine will also need to complete a fellowship lasting 1 to 2 years after their residency.

Orthopedic Surgeon Job Description

Orthopedic Surgeons are specialized physicians that perform surgeries involving the musculoskeletal system.

Professionals can work within a specialization in this field such as sports medicine or pediatric orthopedics.

Their main goal is to improve their patients’ mobility by repairing some of the following ailments:

  • Bone injuries or ailments
  • Joint injuries or ailments
  • Ligament injuries or ailments
  • Musculoskeletal injuries or ailments

Orthopedic Surgeons perform on individuals under general anesthesia to repair bones, joints or ligaments.

They will work with their patient’s information such as tests and medical records to understand their client’s help and with the help of other medical professionals, they will work on a treatment plan to improve their patient’s health.

Orthopedic Surgeon Salary and Career Path

Orthopedic Surgeons are some of the highest paid professionals in relation to other careers and industries.

In 2012, the median salary for Orthopedic Surgeons was approximately $333,000 per year with some individuals earning up to $578,000 per year.

Contributing factors to an individual’s salary include years of experience, professional reputation and whether an individual owns their own private practice.

The job outlook for all physicians and surgeons looks promising and is expected to grow at a faster than average rate when compared to other professions.

Job opportunities are expected to grow by 18 percent through the year 2022.

This growth is attributed to the expansion in healthcare related industries making medical services easily accessible to more individuals.

Orthopedic Surgery is a specialized form of surgery.

Individuals pursuing this path will have to complete several years of school and training, but the rewards after entering this field are countless including a high level of job satisfaction and some of the highest wages amongst other professionals.

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