Many high school students often wonder how to become a surgeon. How long is the education process and how many years as interns and residents after that? How does one specialize in a certain area of surgery such as cardiovascular or pediatrics? It is a long journey to becoming an attending surgeon however it is a career that will only expand its horizons and numbers in the years to come. If one excels in science and has a desire to help others this could be the right career choice.
Preparation for a career in surgery must begin in high school. Students should maintain a high GPA and focus their studies on math and science taking Advance Placement classes if available or math and science classes at a community college if AP classes are not available. Students should consider volunteering at medical offices or hospitals in their Junior and Senior years to prepare themselves for what lies ahead.
College preparation for a career in surgery consists of much the same: maintain a high GPA at a school that is known for high academic standards with a focus in mathematics and science; a pre-med or pre-health major is usually the most beneficial when applying to medical schools as a BA is typically required for acceptance. A pre-med degree is not required by medical schools applications with BA’s in biology, psychology, microbiology, pathology, anatomy, and biochemistry are considered to be at the forefront of considered applications.
After completing a BA in college and four years of medical school; one year of internship and five years of residency are required to become a solo surgeon in most states. During the intern year students must report to a resident and have all medical decisions approved before application. While in residency, doctors receive hands on training from experienced surgeons with the goal of mastering six core competencies of surgery: medical/surgical knowledge, surgical patient care, professionalism in the workplace, interpersonal and communication skills with fellow doctors and surgical patients, practice based learning and skill improvement, as well as systems based practices. After the residency years aspiring surgeons must take and pass a comprehensive test called the MCATS to evaluate their knowledge and skill levels before they are approved for solo surgery and are officially surgeons.
Any student interested in how to become a surgeon should do the proper research, strive for excellence in math and science, and choose the right college and medical school. The path to becoming a surgeon is long an tiring and those interested in this career should prepare themselves for days without sleep and many years of education. However this is coveted and growing field and the road less traveled is often the most rewarding.