How To Become a Surgeon in 7 Steps

Here’s how to become a surgeon:
  1. Get a bachelor’s degree. Most surgeons start their careers by earning excellent grades in their undergraduate studies. …
  2. Take the Medical College Admission Test. …
  3. Excel in medical school. …
  4. Pass a licensure exam. …
  5. Undergo a surgical residency. …
  6. Obtain state licensure.

So You Want to Be a SURGEON [Ep. 2]

Average salary

It takes roughly 13 years and a rigorous education to become a surgeon. Along with obtaining a license to practice, you must gain a lot of practical experience. The steps you must follow in order to become a surgeon are as follows:

1. Earn a bachelors degree

You must first complete a bachelor’s degree in pre-medicine, biology, or a closely related field if you want to become a surgeon. To prepare for medical school, you should take a lot of science and math classes in your coursework. You should take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) near the end of your junior year. Your MCAT score, anticipated college degree, letters of recommendation, and other additional information are required in order to apply to medical schools.

2. Complete medical school

You’ll finish medical school after an undergraduate program, which takes four years. You will take general courses in anatomy, biochemistry, patient interactions, pharmacology, and other medical fundamentals during the first two years. Rotations are a way for you to gain real-world experience during the last two years of medical school. Rotations in the third year last the entire year, whereas in the fourth year you can choose to work in various hospitals or clinics.

You must pass the first two parts of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) in order to start the process of obtaining your medical license. In your second and third years of medical school, you’ll take the Step 1 exam, and in your fourth year, the Step 2 exam.

3. Undergo residency

Upon graduating from medical school, you must complete a residency. You can select from a variety of surgical residencies, including general surgery and pediatric surgery. It might go for five to seven years, depending on the residency you choose to enroll in. You will learn in-depth information regarding surgical procedures during your residency. As your residency draws to a close, you’ll start working with your own patients and performing operations under the guidance of a qualified doctor.

You will pass Step 3 of the USMLE just before or throughout your first year of residency. You are then prepared to submit an application for a medical license.

4. Obtain a license

In order to practice medicine, doctors of all specialties, including surgeons, must hold a valid medical license. You must provide evidence of your degree and that you successfully completed all three USMLE steps in order to apply for your license. It’s a good idea to review the requirements before applying because some states might have additional requirements. In accordance with the most recent regulations in your state, you will also need to renew your license.

5. Earn certifications

Surgeons also need certifications in order to practice. You may obtain various certifications from the American Board of Medical Specialties depending on your specialty. Obtaining board certification as a surgeon can demonstrate to employers that you have in-depth knowledge of your field and expand your pool of job prospects. Typically, you must provide evidence of experience and succeed on an exam in order to obtain a surgery certification. Each certification has a requirement for renewal, which is typically continuing education.

6. Consider a fellowship

After completing a residency, a surgeon can pursue a fellowship to concentrate on a particular subspecialty. You can complete a variety of fellowships, each lasting one to three years. Fellowships are not required, but if there is a specialty you are particularly interested in, you might want to complete one. They can also increase your earning potential upon completion.

7. Prepare a resume or CV

You will typically need to create a curriculum vitae that details all of your education, experience, publications, and training in order to apply for jobs in the medical industry. To include all the details employers need to decide, a CV may span several pages. When you’re done, make sure to thoroughly proofread your resume and have a reliable friend or colleague look it over. Making a one- or two-page resume for hospitals or clinics that might require one is also beneficial.

What does a surgeon do?

In order to treat injuries or illnesses, a surgeon operates on patients. They might perform surgery on a patient as a preventative measure or to help treat a disease. Surgeons frequently focus on particular body parts or carry out particular procedures. The typical duties of a surgeon could include:

Frequently asked questions about being a surgeon

To help you determine if becoming a surgeon is the right career for you, the following are some of the most frequently asked questions about the field:

What skills do surgeons need?

To succeed in their careers, surgeons need a specific skill set, such as:

How long is the training to become a surgeon?

Training takes five to ten years, including a residency and occasionally a fellowship. Your residency will last five to seven years depending on your specialty, and if you decide to pursue a fellowship, you can anticipate an additional one to three years of training.

What are the different types of surgeons?

Due to the complexity of the human body, there are numerous surgeons who specialize in various fields. Some common specializations include:

What sort of hours do surgeons work?

Depending on the type and size of the facility where they work, surgeons typically work a variety of hours. Typically, they put in more than 50 hours per week, working up to 12-hour shifts. Shifts can include nights, weekends and holidays.


How many years does it take for you to become a surgeon?

Becoming a surgeon can take at least 13 years after high school. This includes five years for a residency and four years for each of the following degrees: undergraduate, medical, and four years.

Is it hard to be a surgeon?

No, if becoming a surgeon is what you truly want to do, it is not difficult. You will enjoy every minute of it, even though there were times when you had to work long hours. Being a plastic surgeon requires about 13 years total, including medical school.

What to study if you want to be a surgeon?

During your undergraduate years, you need to focus your work on pre-medical studies.

Step 1: Undergraduate Degree in Pre-Med
  • General Chemistry.
  • Physics.
  • Vertebrate Anatomy.
  • Medicinal Chemistry.
  • Biochemistry.
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology.

Does it take 8 years to become a surgeon?

You need to put in between 10 and 12 years to become a doctor, which is how long it takes to get your MD. The duration includes four years for undergraduate study, four years for medical school, and three to seven years for a residency program.

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