How To Become An Orthopedic Surgeon

Learn how to become an orthopedic surgeon. Javier Larrea / Getty Images

Becoming an orthopedic surgeon takes a little time, but orthopedic surgery is a terrific medical specialty, and the education and training is rewarding.

Difficulty: Hard

Time Required: 14 years

Here's How:

  1. Undergraduate Education. (4 years)
    We'll start at college... Four years of undergraduate with one year of biology, two years of chemistry, and one year of physics.
  2. The Medical College Admission Test. (1 day)
    The MCAT is one day you'll be happy to have behind you. Four sections: biological sciences, physical sciences, verbal, and a written sample.
  1. Medical School Applications.
    They come in two rounds, a preliminary and secondary, and follow with an interview if competitive. Entrance rates vary, but schools usually admit about 5-10% of applicants.
  2. Medical School. (4 years)
    Four years of medical school. The first two are classroom based, and the final two are hospital based. Graduate as an M.D. or D.O. (osteopathic medicine).
  3. National Board Exams. (3 days)
    Two parts taken during medical school, one after 2nd year, the other after 3rd year. Each is one full day of testing on fundamental medical knowledge.
  4. Residency Applications.
    Applications done in the fall before beginning orthopedics residency, the interviews are offered in the winter if you are going to be considered.
  5. Match Day. (1 day)
    This is the big day for medical students as everyone finds out at one time the result of their hard work and where they'll be for residency.
  6. Internship. (1 year)
    The first year of your residency is called an internship. The first day, July 1, is always a fun day to be around the hospital!
  1. Residency. (4 years)
    Four years of studying the fundamentals of orthopedic surgery. Rotate through the major subspecialties in several different hospitals to get good exposure to orthopedic surgery.
  2. Fellowship (optional). (1 year)
    A one-year fellowship in a sub-specialty is an option for orthopedic surgeons to focus on sports medicine, pediatric orthopedics, or other specialties.

    That's it! Before you know it you'll be on your own as a practicing orthopedic surgeon.

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