Anyone that damages his/her bones usually needs treatment from an orthopedic surgeon. This is because a bone surgeon/specialist knows the appropriate medication and massage therapy that the patient needs.
Orthopedics is a field in medicine that encompasses the handling of acute injuries, congenital and acquired disorders, and chronic bone disorders. Additionally, it deals with every other problem related to soft tissues, ligaments, nerves, and muscles.
These orthopedic surgeons or orthopedic doctors are always in demand in the health sector. Orthopedic specialists treat different kinds of diseases and conditions. Some of these include fractures and dislocations, torn ligaments, sprains, and strains tendon injuries.
Therefore, we have for you in this article, how you can become an orthopedic surgeon. In addition, you will get to know the schools that offer orthopedic medicine and the salary of bone surgeons/specialists.
Who is an Orthopedic Surgeon?
An orthopedic surgeon/doctor, or bone surgeon, is a certified medical professional who examines, diagnoses, and treats diseases and injuries of the musculoskeletal system.
In other words, an orthopedic specialist takes care of bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and nerves.
Some orthopedic doctors may specialize in certain areas of the musculoskeletal system thereby creating multiple disciplines within the field of orthopedics. This set of health professionals are known as general orthopedic doctors.
What is the duty of an Orthopedic Doctor?
Orthopedic specialists make use of medical, physical, rehabilitative methods, and surgery to treat issues relating to the musculoskeletal system. Additionally, bone surgeons or specialists treat fractures and dislocations, torn ligaments, sprains & strains tendon injuries, low back pain, bow legs, arthritis, bone tumors, muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy, and growth abnormalities.
Above all, orthopedic surgeons are skilled in the:
In the same vein, orthopedic doctors may wish to practice one of the following subspecialties:
What requirements do I need to become an Orthopedic Specialist?
The first step to becoming a bone doctor or specialist is by acquiring a bachelor’s degree. Here, you’ll take courses including physics, chemistry, biology, anatomy, and physiology.
These courses will help prepare you for the Medical School Admission Test (MCAT). The MCAT is a standardized exam that tests the candidate’s knowledge in physical and biological sciences, verbal reasoning and writing skills, and critical thinking skills.
Meanwhile, it will take you about 4 years to complete your training in medical school. The first two years of your program will focus on theory and practical sessions. In addition, the courses that you will take during this duration include anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, medical ethics, and medical law.
Finally, the last two years will require you to complete the clinic and hospital ward sessions under the supervision of experienced doctors. This clinical ward session which deals with diagnosing and treating patients will help you to gain practical medical experience.
Which schools can I study Orthopedic Medicine?
Students that wish to pursue a career in orthopedics can become orthopedic doctors or physician assistants. You can find several institutions in the U.S where you can study to become a bone surgeon.
Therefore, below are the best schools where you can study to become an orthopedic surgeon;
How can I become an Orthopedic Specialist?
Here, you will see the steps on how you can become a bone surgeon/specialist:
Before you can ever become an orthopedic surgeon/doctor, you will have to acquire a bachelor’s degree. The two degrees that you must have as a bone doctor include a doctor of medicine (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) degree.
The two degrees will take you roughly four years in an approved American or Canadian medical or osteopathic school to complete.
#2. Obtain license and complete Residency
The moment you complete the four years in medical school, take and pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination. This is a 3-part exam that doctors take to show that they understand the scientific principles necessary to practice medicine. It shows if they possess patient care skills and the zeal to work in ambulatory settings.
NOTE: Before you take this test, ensure that you get some materials from the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) website that you’ll use and prepare for the exam. These materials include practice tests and training materials.
After passing the USMLE, proceed to complete a five-year orthopedic surgery residency program. This residency program, however, includes four years of training in orthopedic surgery and a year in internal or pediatric medicine, general surgery, or other broad areas.
In the same vein, some residency programs comprise of two years of general surgery and three years of orthopedic surgery. Before you can obtain a license from the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery to practice as an orthopedic doctor, you must:
- practice for two years in the field
- pass oral and written exams
On the other hand, you can also get fellowships of six months to one year in different specializations. These specializations include surgical repair of the ankle and foot, hand, shoulder, or spine; pediatric orthopedics; reconstructive surgery; or sports medicine.
What is the salary and job outlook of Orthopedic Surgeons?
The salary of an entry-level orthopedic surgeon with less than a year experience is $319,524. An Orthopedic doctor with 1-4 years of experience makes an average salary of $345,722.
A mid-career bone surgeon with 5-9 years of experience earns an average salary of $386,286 while a professional orthopedic surgeon with 10-19 years of experience makes an average salary of $400,649. In addition, bone specialists with an experience of 20 years and above earn an average salary of $440,017.
Finally, the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the overall employment of physicians and surgeons will grow by 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.
This job growth, however, will occur due to the increase in the demand for healthcare by the growing and aging population.
Orthopedic patients usually benefit from technological advances such as joint replacement, and the arthroscope that allows the orthopedic doctors to look inside a joint.
But first, the bone doctor will start with a personal interview and physical examination. Afterward, the orthopedic surgeon runs diagnostic tests such as blood tests, X-rays, or other tests.
Your treatment may involve medical counseling, medications, casts, splints, and therapies such as exercise, or surgery. For most orthopedic diseases and injuries, there is more than one form of treatment. Your orthopedist will discuss the treatment options with you and help you select the best treatment plan to enable you to live an active and functional life.
FAQs on How to become a Bone Specialist/Surgeon?
Is orthopedic surgeon a good job?
Orthopedic Surgery is one of the most demanding fields among surgical specialities. The financial aspect is very promising as the orthopedic surgeon makes good amount of money. It is also a very satisfying career both for the patient and for the orthopedic doctor.
Is Orthopedic Surgery hard?
Becoming an orthopedic surgeon is very difficult. Most medical students that apply for an orthopedic surgery residency do not get placed in that type of residency program.
How long will it take me to become an orthopedic surgeon?
Before you can become an orthopedic surgeon, you will have to obtain a bachelor’s degree, attend medical school, and complete a residency and fellowship. Thus, it will take you 13 to 14 years of education and training to become a professional orthopedic surgeon.
What are the best schools for Orthopedic Surgery?
The best universities where you can study Orthopedic Surgery include:
1. Johns Hopkins University
2. University of Pennsylvania
3. University of Washington
4. University of California – Los Angeles
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