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What kind of training does an orthopedic surgeon have?

After earning their Bachelor's degree with undergraduate coursework in biology, chemistry, anatomy, or another related field, future orthopedic surgeons will complete 4 additional years of medical school, as well as an orthopedic surgery residency program.

An orthopedic surgeon is a medical doctor who diagnoses and treats conditions concerning the musculoskeletal system. They are required to undergo at least 14-15 years of formal education accompanied by extensive learning and training as follows:

  • 4 years of undergraduate education in college or university to get their Bachelor’s degree, followed by the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), which is necessary for their admission to medical school.
  • 4 years of medical school to obtain their Medical Degree. The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) ensues, which involves a 3-step assessment of their medical knowledge, health care skills, and ability to work in an ambulatory setting.
  • 5 years of residency training in Orthopedic Surgery in a major medical center, which consists of 4 years of orthopedic surgery training and one year of training in general surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, etc.
  • One optional year of education in an orthopedic subspecialty, such as foot and ankle, hip, knee, spine, hand, shoulder and arm, pediatrics, or sports medicine. This training often includes a research specialization as well.

After the orthopedic residency training, the candidates need to undergo 2 years of practice in the field before sustaining their final exam in order to become a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, which is part of the American Board of Medical Specialties. After successfully going through this 2-step examination (written and oral), they will receive the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree. This certification needs to be renewed every 7-10 years by sustaining a written and oral exam which will re-assess the surgeon’s proficiency in orthopedics.

Orthopedic surgeons who specialize in sports medicine and hand surgery can get additional qualifications if they pass a standardized examination. This Certificate of Added Qualifications is not available for other orthopedic subspecialties.

Disclaimer: We do not assume responsibility for the use of the provided information or its interpretation. Our efforts are towards providing current and reliable information; however these should not be considered, or used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment.

Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Medical-Library/