If you are interested in pursuing a career in medicine and want to become a valuable member of the team, you may want to consider becoming a surgeon. This field offers various opportunities to those who are passionate about medicine and surgery. If you would like to learn more about this field and how to become a surgeon, you have come to the right place.

What Is a Surgeon 

A surgeon is a medical professional who specializes in performing surgical procedures. This profession requires excellent manual dexterity and fine motor skills to carry out the necessary techniques to diagnose diseases, repair or remove damaged tissues, or enhance the function or appearance of an organ or body part.

Surgeon duties and responsibilities

The primary responsibility of a surgeon is to perform surgical procedures with precision and expertise. This involves:

  • diagnosing patients, 
  • discussing treatment options, 
  • obtaining informed consent, 
  • performing surgeries and 
  • providing post-operative care. 

Surgeons often work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as anesthesiologists, nurses, and surgical technicians, to ensure the best possible outcomes for their patients.

How to Become a Surgeon

Becoming a surgeon is a long and challenging process that takes an average of 13 years to complete after high school. This process includes many education requirements, residency, and fellowships.

See below for more detailed information on each step you should take to become a surgeon.

Education requirements

Like many other medical careers, becoming a surgeon starts by undergoing the right educational path.

During your education, you must take a set of core courses in anatomy, physiology, immunology, and pathology. Afterward, you can specialize in a particular field. You may choose general surgery or one of the many available sub-specialties based on your interests. However, if you have a specific area of interest, you may want to focus on that particular type of surgery.

To become a surgeon, you must fulfill certain requirements to be considered for medical school. Initially, you must complete an application, which is typically done through the AMCAS (Admissions Medical College Application Service). 

Along with the application, you will also need to submit your transcripts, MCAT scores, and an essay or personal statement. Finally, you will need to submit your resume and additional documents.

Licensing and residency

Upon residency training, surgeons must obtain a medical license to practice independently. Licensing requirements vary by state or country. Therefore, you need to make sure to check the specific requirements.

Surgeons may also choose to become board-certified in their specialty by passing a certification exam.

Exploring Surgical Specialties: A Spectrum of Choices

Medical students pursuing a career in surgery have many options and specialties to choose from, each demanding distinct skills and expertise. Some may opt for the precision of neurosurgery, delving into the complexities of the brain and nervous system, while others may be drawn to the dynamic field of cardiothoracic surgery, specializing in procedures involving the heart and chest cavity.

Orthopedic surgery offers students the opportunity to focus on the musculoskeletal system, treating injuries and conditions affecting bones, joints, and muscles. Alternatively, aspiring surgeons may pursue careers in plastic and reconstructive surgery, dedicated to restoring function and enhancing appearance through innovative techniques.

From the delicate intricacies of pediatric surgery to the urgency of trauma surgery, the diverse spectrum of surgical specialties ensures that each student can find their niche based on their passions and interests within the field of medicine.

Is Becoming a Surgeon Worth It?

Although many people dream of becoming a surgeon, few make it. That’s because everyone has different opinions on whether becoming a surgeon is worth it. 

If you are wondering whether becoming a surgeon is worth it, let’s examine the pros and cons of the career.

Pros of becoming a surgeon

  • Fulfilling career – Surgeons have the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of their patients by diagnosing and treating a wide range of medical conditions.
  • High earning potential – Surgeons typically earn high salaries, reflecting the extensive education, training, and expertise required for their profession.
  • Job security – The demand for skilled surgeons remains strong, ensuring a steady supply of job opportunities in hospitals, clinics, and academic institutions.
  • Professional prestige – Surgeons are highly respected members of the healthcare community and often hold leadership positions within their institutions.

Cons of becoming a surgeon

  • Long hours – Surgeons often work long hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays, to accommodate patient needs and surgical schedules.
  • High stress environment – The nature of surgical work can be inherently stressful, as surgeons must make critical decisions under pressure and deal with the potential complications of surgery.
  • Extensive training – Becoming a surgeon requires many years of education and training, including undergraduate studies, medical school, residency, and possibly fellowship, which can be financially and emotionally demanding.
  • Work-life balance – Achieving a satisfactory work-life balance can be challenging for surgeons due to the demands of the profession and the need to be available for emergencies.

Bottom Line

Becoming a surgeon is a challenging yet rewarding career path that offers the opportunity to make a significant impact in medicine. While the journey to becoming a surgeon requires dedication, hard work, and sacrifice, many find the personal and professional fulfillment of helping others well worth the investment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How long does it take to become a surgeon?

The path to becoming a surgeon typically involves four years of undergraduate studies, four years of medical school, and five to seven years of residency training. Additional fellowship training may extend the timeline.

What are the different types of surgeons?

Surgeons specialize in various areas of medicine, including general surgery, orthopedic surgery, cardiovascular surgery, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, and more.

What skills are essential for a career in surgery?

Surgeons must possess excellent hand-eye coordination, dexterity, problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and the ability to remain calm under pressure.

Do surgeons work long hours?

Yes, surgeons often work long hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays, to accommodate surgical schedules and patient needs.