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Careers

How to Become a Surgeon

Making the Cut

They're the ones that are called on when the things go wrong and tough situations get even tougher:  Surgeons. Whether it's a tonsilectomy or trying to save the life of a car crash victim, surgeons are often the ones called in to take care of delicate situations. Because of this, it's no wonder that so many people aspire to become one. And the first step on starting this career? Learning how to become a surgeon! It takes a lot of work, but will pay off in the end!

Take Your MCAT

test sign

As soon as you've gotten a bachelor's degree, your attention should turn towards medical school. After all, that's the first real step towards being a surgeon! To qualify, you'll need to take the MCAT, or the Medical College Admission Test. This, along with glowing recommendation letters and great academic record, will help you to gain admission to medical colleges, allowing you to become a doctor. A word of warning:  The name of the test may change from location to location!

Finish Medical School

girl graduation

Of course, long before you become a surgeon, you'll have to become a doctor. And becoming a doctor means med school. Typically speaking, medical school lasts an average of four years, with some of your studies being done in classrooms, and others being done in a more practical setting. While in school, you'll gain experience in a wide range of specialties, allowing you to better choose which type of surgeon that you'd prefer to be.

Do Your Residency

doctor stethoscope

Just because you're a doctor doesn't mean that you're out of the woods already! After you graduate, you need to apply for a residency program. Hopefully, if you've done your research well, you'll be able to find a residency that will allow you to learn more about the speciality you're most interested in. This residency will last anywhere from three years to seven years, so find one that you're comfortable staying with for a long period of time.

Now Complete a Fellowship

man on computer table

Yes, there's even more training to go through before you can call yourself a surgeon. Though it isn't a requirement, having a fellowship under your belt is a great way to really settle into the surgical specialty that you've been eyeing. A fellowship is almost like an extension added onto the end of your residency:  It gives you three more years of more specialized training beneath an experienced surgeon. If you're looking to publish, a fellowship is a great way to do so, as well.

Time to Get Licensed!

surgeon in operating room

We've reached the end at last! The very last step that you need to become a surgeon is to become licensed as one. While the final step, this certainly isn't an easy one. In most instances, you'll have to pass an exam (and, sometimes, more than one) before a medical board. This will differ depending on where you live; for more in-depth information, you should consult your local medical board.

Becoming a surgeon is far from easy. It takes years of study and hard work. But, with the right determination, you'll soon be in the surgical theater, ready to operate.

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