If you have ever suffered injuries that have left you disabled, crippled, or broken in some form, you have probably visited an orthopedic surgeon. Orthopedic surgeons are physicians whose expertise lies in diseases and injuries that deal with the musculoskeletal system in the human body, including muscles, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and nerves.
This profession is gratifying, but how long will it take to become an orthopedic surgeon?
What Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Do?
Before we dive into how to become an orthopedic surgeon, we need to cover everything that this job title entails.
An orthopedic surgeon is a physician who treats musculoskeletal conditions in both congenital health and traumatic injuries. Their goal is to fix abnormalities in bones through surgical corrections. They provide assistance to patients suffering from joint pain such as back pain, knee pain, osteoporosis, and arthritis. They also treat severe conditions caused by degenerative diseases, trauma, or congenital disorders. Occasionally they prescribe non-surgical treatments such as medications and attending rehabilitative physical therapy.
Orthopedic doctors can choose to specialize in one form of treatment. For example, an orthopedic surgeon whose expertise lies in treating sports injuries adopts the title of orthopedist. Orthopedists practice orthopedic surgery in which the injury does not involve a life-or-death situation. They instead focus on improving the pain levels and mobility issues of the patient by addressing the root cause of the distress.
Orthopedic surgeons can also choose to become orthopedic oncologists and accel at removing tumors from the musculoskeletal system. These orthopedic doctors become experts at addressing life-threatening situations.
What Training Is Necessary to Become an Orthopedic Surgeon?
Like any medical professionals, orthopedic surgeons have to go through rigorous training before entering their careers.
An aspiring orthopedic surgeon must complete about 13 to 14 years of formal education. They must earn a bachelor’s degree in an accommodating science field and graduate from medical school. Once they have completed their schooling, they must acquire and complete an orthopedic residency that will last an additional five years.
If an orthopedic surgeon chooses to specialize in a particular area in the field, they will add an additional year of training in a fellowship program.
How Hard Is It to Become an Orthopedic Surgeon?
Becoming an orthopedic surgeon is a difficult task. Like all medical professions, it takes years of studying, discipline, and training. You must have a strong desire to achieve your goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon to stay on the course.
After extensive schooling and training are finished, aspiring orthopedic surgeons must pass a few tests to start their practice. You must pass the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (ABOS) or the American Osteopathic Board of Orthopedic Surgery (AOBOS) exam to be eligible to obtain a license. To earn a license to practice medicine, you must pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensure Examination (COMLEX). These exams are difficult a require a lot of preparation before taking them. They evaluate a doctor’s knowledge of their chosen trade.
Licensing qualifications vary between states, so research before taking one.
How Long Will It Take to Become an Orthopedic Surgeon?
The average time it takes an individual to become a licensed orthopedic surgeon is 13 to 14 years with the proper education and training. While becoming an orthopedic surgeon might be a lengthy task, the job rewards and fulfillment is worth the hard work.
Because of the time it takes to become a practicing orthopedic surgeon, you know you are in good hands when working with them. Meet the orthopedic surgeons at Great Lakes Orthopaedics.