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How Many Years Does It Take to Study Orthopedic Surgery? Salary and Scope

The duration of Study orthopedic surgery to become a professional certified Orthopedic Surgeon may take up to 16 years after your 12th grade.

Becoming an Orthopedic Surgeon

Orthopedic surgery is a specialist area of medicine that focuses on the treatment of musculoskeletal problems. The committed people who decide to follow this career path set out on a difficult and challenging road where they will improve their abilities to identify and treat bone, joint, and muscle diseases.

A tremendous commitment to study, rigorous training, and steadfast dedication are necessary to become an orthopedic surgeon.

Let’s check out various steps and years it takes to study orthopedic surgery, exploring the challenges and triumphs along the way.

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What to Do to Become Orthopedic Surgeon? Years Needed After 12th Grade

Let’s explore the number of years it takes to become an Orthopedic Surgeon after completing the 12th grade, shedding light on the challenges and triumphs that shape their professional journey:

Undergraduate Education: 4 Years

Upon completion of the 12th grade, aspiring orthopedic surgeons begin their journey by pursuing a Bachelor’s degree.

The undergraduate curriculum prepares students for medical school and gives them the chance to investigate topics like biology, chemistry, or pre-med.

Students learn the fundamentals of science and other essential subjects over these four years, preparing them for the challenges that lie ahead.

Medical School: 4 Years

Having completed their undergraduate studies, students with a passion for Orthopedic Surgery proceed to medical school.

Admission to medical school is highly competitive and requires exceptional academic performance, relevant extracurricular activities, and commendable letters of recommendation.

The four-year medical program delves deeper into medical subjects, and students gain a comprehensive understanding of various medical disciplines.

Residency: 5 Years

After successfully graduating from medical school, aspiring orthopedic surgeons move on to a critical phase of their journey – residency.

Under the direction of skilled orthopedic surgeons, they get practical training and experience during the residency program.  

This intensive period typically lasts for five years, during which residents learn to diagnose, treat, and manage patients with musculoskeletal conditions, working in hospitals and clinical settings.

Optional Fellowships: 1-2 Years

Some prospective orthopedic surgeons decide to pursue specialty fellowships to broaden their knowledge after finishing their residency.

These optional fellowships provide advanced training in specific areas of orthopedics, such as pediatric orthopedics, sports medicine, joint replacement, or trauma surgery.

Fellowships might last one to two years, depending on the selected specialism.

Board Certification: Varies

Aspiring orthopedic surgeons must apply for board certification after finishing their school and training to demonstrate their level of proficiency in the area. The process and requirements for board certification vary from country to country.

In the United States, for instance, the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (ABOS) conducts rigorous examinations to assess a surgeon’s competence. Being board certified is a noteworthy accomplishment that shows a surgeon’s dedication to providing patients with the best treatment possible.

Orthopedic Surgeon Salary – Scope of Orthopedics

According to data available cutoff date in September 2023, the median salary for orthopedic surgeons in the United States was approximately $527,000 per year. However, this figure can vary widely, with some orthopedic surgeons earning well above this amount and others earning less, depending on the factors mentioned below:

  1. Experience and Expertise: The salary of an orthopedic surgeon is often influenced by their level of experience and expertise. Surgeons with more years of practice and a solid reputation in their field tend to command higher salaries.
  2. Location: Geographical location plays a significant role in determining orthopedic surgeon salaries. Urban areas and regions with higher costs of living often offer higher compensation to attract and retain medical professionals.
  3. Type of Practice: Orthopedic surgeons can work in various settings, including private practices, hospitals, academic institutions, or as part of a group practice. The type of practice can impact their salary.
  4. Subspecialties: Orthopedics has many subspecialties, such as sports medicine, spine surgery, joint replacement, and pediatric orthopedics. Surgeons with expertise in high-demand subspecialties may earn more due to their specialized skills.
  5. Volume of Procedures: The number of surgeries and procedures performed can also affect an orthopedic surgeon’s income. Surgeons who are busier and perform more surgeries may have higher earnings.
  6. Bonuses and Benefits: Many orthopedic surgeons receive bonuses, profit-sharing, and other benefits as part of their compensation packages. These can significantly add to their total income.

In terms of the scope of orthopedics, it is a field with a promising outlook. As the population ages and remains active later in life, the demand for orthopedic services is expected to continue growing. Additionally, advancements in orthopedic surgery techniques and technology have improved outcomes and expanded the range of conditions that can be treated. This growing demand and ongoing innovation suggest that the field of orthopedics will remain a valuable and evolving area of medicine with a solid scope for the future.

The Foundation to Study Orthopedic Surgery: Undergraduate Education

A Bachelor’s degree is the first step for aspirant orthopedic surgeons because every great journey starts with just one. One must first finish a demanding college curriculum before delving into the complexities of orthopedics.

Please note, you’ll need to pass MCAT exam first to get admission in medical school.

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Since medical studies in graduation school provide a strong foundation for medical school, many students opt to pursue degrees in disciplines like biology, chemistry, or pre-medicine.

The undergraduate stage normally lasts four years, during which time students increase their academic proficiency, knowledge, and intellectual zeal.

Building Blocks: Medical School

The next stage for future orthopedic surgeons is to enroll in medical school after overcoming the difficulties of undergraduate study.

Medical school entrance is extremely tough and demands top-notch academic achievement, extracurricular activity, and outstanding recommendation letters.

Medical school is a demanding and life-changing four-year experience in which students immerse themselves in a thorough curriculum including many medical fields.

The Journey Intensifies: Residency

Students don white coats as physicians after graduating from medical school, but they are not yet prepared to specialize in orthopedic surgery. The following stage of their trip entails a key stint of practical instruction known as residency.

Medical school graduates must apply for a residency program in orthopedic surgery, which normally lasts five years, in order to become an orthopedic surgeon.

Residents learn to identify and treat patients with musculoskeletal disorders while working under the supervision of skilled orthopedic surgeons.

The Expertise Refinement: Fellowships (Optional)

While finishing residency provides professionals with the knowledge and abilities necessary to practice orthopedic surgery, others opt to hone their talents during specialized fellowships.

Fellowships provide specialized training in particular branches of orthopedics, such as trauma surgery, sports medicine, joint replacement, or pediatric orthopedics.

These programs, which typically last one to two years, provide aspiring orthopedic surgeons a rare chance to acquire in-depth knowledge and expertise in their chosen specialism.

The Culmination: Board Certification

The moment of recognition for aspiring orthopedic surgeons comes in the form of board certification after years of demanding school and training.

Individuals must pass the Orthopedic Surgery Board Certification test given by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (ABOS) in the United States in order to receive this prestigious certification.

The passing of this demanding exam shows a surgeon’s proficiency and dedication to the highest standards of patient care.

A Lifelong Learning Journey

Board certification is not the final step on the road to becoming an orthopedic surgeon. In actuality, it heralds the start of a path toward lifelong learning.

The practice of medicine is continually changing, with new studies, surgical methods, and technological advancements appearing often.

Orthopedic surgeons must pursue ongoing medical education by going to conferences, seminars, and reading academic journals in order to stay on the cutting edge of their field.

The Triumph of Perseverance

It takes tremendous devotion, selflessness, and an everlasting enthusiasm for medicine to study Orthopedic surgery.

The path to become an orthopedic surgeon takes more than ten years (up to 16 years) of intensive training and study, starting with undergraduate studies and ending with board certification.

Aspiring surgeons face many obstacles during this difficult journey, but their undying dedication to saving and enhancing patients’ lives keeps them going.

Last but not least, it is the victory of persistence and commitment that turns aspirational medical students into accomplished orthopedic surgeons prepared to make a meaningful contribution to the field of medicine.

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