How Long Does It Take To Become an Orthopedic Surgeon?

Specialists in medicine who work with the body’s structural systems include orthopedic surgeons. 

They are doctors and surgeons who work to prevent, identify, and treat diseases of the bones and muscles. 

To keep up with technical or scientific advances, orthopedic surgeons must complete intensive training and continue their education. 

In this article, we define orthopedic surgeons, describe their work, and lay out the requirements for how long it takes to become an orthopedic surgeon.

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What is an Orthopedic Surgeon School Like?

Orthopedic surgeons have extensive expertise in conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system, including illnesses and injuries. 

The muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and nerves are part of this system. Orthopedic surgeons address injuries like broken hips, degenerative diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis, and congenital issues like scoliosis. 

Orthopedic surgeons concentrate on enhancing their patients’ quality of life through therapies and treatments. 

To create a treatment plan and improve quality of life, they address the underlying causes of pain or identify why a patient lacks mobility. 

An orthopedic surgeon’s day may include correcting bone defects by surgery, prescribing drugs and therapies, or prescribing non-surgical treatments, including medicine or therapeutic physical therapy.

Orthopedic surgeons conduct operations or administer therapies to enhance a patient’s condition, lessen persistent discomfort, or stop degeneration. A hip replacement, for instance, could stop bone loss, ease arthritis pain, and restore mobility. 

To treat the body’s whole structural system, which consists of a complicated network of muscles and bones, orthopedic surgeons are skilled in the mechanical aspects of surgery. 

Orthopedic surgeons spend a significant portion of their day performing surgery, but they also:

  • Talk with the patients 
  • Patient education regarding their disease 
  • ordering and analyzing diagnostic exams such as MRIs or X-rays 
  • use surgical procedures to fix fractured bones or diagnose joint problems, such as arthroscopy 
  • prescribing medicine or after-surgery recovery 
  • Explain viral or bacterial illnesses 
  • Describe inherited disorders 
  • comprehensive, accurate patient records charting 
  • Be available to respond to crises like vehicle accidents or traumatic situations

Read More: How Long Does It Take To Become An Anesthesiologist?

Is Attending an Orthopedic Surgeon School Worth It?

To become an orthopedic surgeon, a person must complete several years of training and education. 

This is frequently a very drawn-out, difficult, and expensive period. When medical education and training are over, orthopedic surgeons are highly paid. 

If orthopedic surgery is worthwhile, one must also decide whether the lengthy training process and demanding schedule are worthwhile.

What Schooling Do You Need to Become an Orthopedic Surgeon?

Explore orthopedic surgeon education

One of the first things to consider if you want to work as an orthopedic surgeon is how much education you’ll need. 

A bachelor’s degree is held by 38.9% of orthopedic surgeons, according to our research. In terms of higher education, we discovered that master’s degrees are held by 6.7% of orthopedic doctors. 

Although most orthopedic surgeons hold a college degree, one can become one with just a high school diploma or GED. 

When looking into how to become an orthopedic surgeon, picking the right major is always crucial. 

According to our research, the most typical majors for an orthopedic surgeon are nursing, biology, and medicine.

Get orthopedic surgeon certifications.

Certifications can demonstrate to employers that you possess the minimum knowledge required for this career. 

You may become a more appealing candidate as a result of them. Even if a job doesn’t require a certification, having one could make your application stand out. 

Additionally, the certification process can teach you new abilities to apply to your job. We identified the orthopedic physicians’ most popular certifications. 

Surgery certifications are the most prevalent, but medical assistant certifications are also regularly found on the resumes of orthopedic surgeons.

Read More: How Long Does It Take To Become A Doctor?

Prepare your resume

After verifying your qualifications and understanding of the position’s duties, you may begin drafting your resume. 

It can take hours, days, or even weeks to complete all that goes into writing the ideal CV. 

We made a resume builder with hints, samples of talents, duties, and a summary to make the process as simple as possible.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Licensed Orthopedic Surgeon?

It takes about 13 years to become an orthopedic surgeon in the United States. 

Before applying to medical school, aspirants must complete a bachelor’s degree program with the required coursework. 

Biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and microbiology are the most popular required courses. 

One of the key requirements for applying to medical school is taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), which candidates must do after finishing their bachelor’s degree program. 

You will be admitted to reputable medical schools if you receive a high MCAT score. After that, you’ll need to complete the four-year Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program.

You will complete two years of classroom instruction, lab work, and clinical rotations during these four years in medical school. 

You must complete a five-year orthopedic surgery residency after receiving your M.D.

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Licensed Orthopedic Surgeon?

The average debt incurred from entering medical school alone is over $216,000, according to 

The average debt surpasses $241,600 when considering the cost of student loans taken out in school before pursuing a medical education. 

Even though all doctors eventually earn well, this is a sizable debt. 

Anyone pursuing a profession in medicine or orthopedic surgery should be aware of the high fees and extensive time in school needed to complete training.

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Salary and Job Outlook for Orthopedic Surgeon after Study

Physician wages, including those of orthopedic surgeons, are available from various sources. 

The first is a yearly report from Medscape. In accordance with their annual physician compensation report, orthopedic surgeons receive an average base income of $511,000 and an average bonus of $96,000. 

The American Association of Medical Colleges is a further resource (AAMC). 

The pay for assistant, associate, and full professor positions in academic medicine is broken down in this article. 

According to the AAMC, orthopedic surgery assistant professors make an average of $463,000 a year, while associate or full professors make an average of $612,000 yearly. 

Orthopedic surgeons are well paid, although their specific income varies depending on the source.


An orthopedic surgeon often needs a bachelor’s degree in education. Typically, orthopedic surgeons major in nursing, biology, or medicine. 15% and 39%, respectively, of orthopedic doctors, have associate degrees. 

Bryan College and New York University are where those who want to become orthopedic surgeons most frequently enroll.

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Frequently Asked Questions 

How Long Does It Take to Graduate from College and Complete Orthopedic Surgery Training? 

After college, it takes at least 9 years to complete orthopedic surgical training. After college, that total increases to 13 years of post-secondary education. 

However, many people do not immediately enroll in medical school after finishing their bachelor’s degree. Before enrolling in medical school, students have the option of earning a master’s or doctoral degree. 

After entering medical school, some students could take a year out to do research or finish a “fellowship” in disciplines like anatomy and pathology. Following graduation from medical school, surgeons spend one year working as interns in various specialties before completing four years of training in orthopedic surgery.

How do orthopedic surgeons work? 

A medical specialist who focuses on treating injuries to the joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones is known as an orthopedic surgeon. Orthopedic surgeons divide their time between operating on patients on hospital rounds and seeing patients in clinic settings. Orthopedic surgeons see patients of all ages because of the wide range of illnesses and ailments they treat.

How can you get a Job as an Orthopedic Surgeon?

A bachelor’s degree, a medical degree, and a residency are requirements for becoming an orthopedic surgeon. 
Your chances of being admitted into medical school will rise if you participate in internships and take science-related courses during your undergraduate years. 

Coursework in genetics, physiology, and anatomy is a part of medical school and is followed by clinical rotations where students gain experience and expertise in the main medical specialties. 
A three-part national exam must be passed before applying for residency. Typically, general surgery is the main focus of the first two years of residency, with orthopedic surgery taking up the following two years. 

After two years of practice following residency, you can pursue an exam for certification from the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Where can orthopedic doctors find employment? 

Orthopedic surgeons operate in hospitals, clinics, private practices, or other healthcare settings. Many orthopedic doctors start by joining an existing practice to obtain experience. Some choose to quit their existing practice after several years of employment and launch their private practice. 

What Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Do Every Day? 

Orthopedic surgeons discuss patients’ cases in the office for a portion of their workday and operate on patients for the remainder. After thoroughly examining and explaining the patient’s situation, the orthopedic surgeon decides the best course of action for the disease or injury, which may involve medication, physical activity, or surgery.


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