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What degrees do you need in order to be a surgeon?

I am in High school. I play sports, only Basketball. I am curious about the work of surgeons. I wonder how well the job gets paid, how hard it is, and if it would be a job that I would be interested in. career doctor medicine

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5 answers

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Joseph’s Answer

A surgeon is a specialized doctor that is able to do different procedures to the body. After graduating from high school you will need to get some college credits that will prepare you for medical school. The job itself is mainly about work ethic. The harder you work the better you will become at your career. The degrees you will need are an undergraduate degree, then a Doctoral degree (MD or DO). You undergraduate degree can be in anything that you want. I suggest that you choose something that you are interested in. While getting your degree you can take the other classes needed to increase your knowledge about anatomy, physiology, chemistry, physics, math, psychology and ethics.

When you are ready to apply for medical school you will need to take the MCAT, which is your medical school standardize test to measure the knowledge you have about medical school geared classes. You can either take classes to prep for the exam or study independently. I would recommend taking the prep class because it will help you to focus on study strategies and test taking skill to maximize you time.

When choosing a medical school, you will want to pick schools that are geared towards a certain area of medicine you want to continue your career. example: Johns Hopkins - neurology and surgery. Wayne State and University of Michigan - research and internal medicine.

Different surgeons get paid different amounts. All of these are based on how well you do your job. The better you are at what you do, the better your return will be. The best way to know if you want to become a surgeon is to job shadow many doctors. This will help you to get a feel for what is actually involved in the job.

Joseph recommends the following next steps:

Shadow different doctors
Do research on different medical schools
Do research on surgeons and what college produce the best of the specialized Doctor you want to be.
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Richard’s Answer

In the US, to apply to medical school, you need a bachelor's degree. Any 4-year university should suffice.

Pick a major that interests you. You will need to get good grades in college in order to apply for medical school. At the medical school I attended, the average GPA is reported to be 3.85, so even one or two B's can hurt your chances of acceptance.

Aside from this, any major is acceptable as long as you complete the prerequisite courses.

Typical medical school prerequisites include:
Biology: Lecture – 4 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
General Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Organic Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Biochemistry: Lecture – 1 semester
General Physics: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Math: Statistics – 1 semester
English: Rhetoric (Composition) and Literature – 2 semesters

During college study for and complete the MCAT. Apply to medical schools during your last year of college.

Medical school takes 4 years to complete.

After medical school physicians complete a residency for additional training. These can last 3-6 years and are sometimes followed by an additional year or two of fellowship subspecialty training.
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Gita’s Answer

For those interested in being a physician, here is some basic information about the path to a career that is exciting, humbling and challenging all in one.
Going into the medical field is a compassionate and demanding career and high rewards.
If you are thinking about going to medical school, taking the hard sciences in high school will give you a good foundation. This education continues into college where one focuses on pre-medical education. This is something you could speak with your guidance counselor about as well.
Medical school entrance is competitive and beyond doing well in high school and college courses, medical schools want to know you have other interests and activities. A well rounded education and experience is important, whether it is volunteering, sports, research, or other activities.

There is a medical entrance exam called the MCAT which will also determine your success into getting into medical school. Medical school is four years. Once you are close to finishing medical school, you will need to take the first part of 3 exams and your grades and the results of this test will determine where you will do residency. Residency is the 3-4 years additional in the hospital to learn your specialty. Specialities such as surgery and anesthesiology will have longer residencies. During these years, you are completing 2 more exams, learning on the job, and working and being on call to the demands of residency.

Medicine is a field where the love of science marries with the desire to help people. It is a career that will demand life long learning and many work hours. Money alone will not be the drive for this career. If you are interested in being a physician, begin a conversation with your guidance counselor at school or someone you trust to learn the academic foundation you will need to build.

Gita recommends the following next steps:

Talk with your guidance counselor of which classes to take /pre-college courses
Use school breaks to participate in projects aligned with your goals
Contact the Volunteer office in the hospital to have exposure to the surroundings as well
Become involved in activities of STEM(science, tech, engineering, math)
Hi Gita, this is very insightful information but the student specifically asked about the degrees needed to become a surgeon. You mentioned needing to go to medical school to receive your doctorate but is there any degree required before/after that step? Gurpreet Lally, Admin
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Estelle’s Answer

College degree including pre-med requirements and MCAT

4 years of medical school

Residency for 5+years, depending on the program you choose and if you do a research year or fellowship

Good luck!
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Rachel’s Answer

General surgery is a great field requiring a medical doctorate. This means that you will have to complete college with a bachelor’s degree as well as all of the Pre-med requirements. GPA should probably be 3.5 or better. You will also have to score well on the MCAT. Once accepted to medical school, as long as you pass your classes and perform reasonably well during your four years of medical training, you can apply for a general surgery 5 year residency. Following that, you will apply for a 1-3 year fellowship. This = 14+ years of school after high school. This type of work can be exceedingly stressful and yes, the hours can be grueling. Especially the late night calls and sleep deprivation. However, this is a field that will provide you with a life’s purpose, a deep fulfillment in serving your patients, and an intellectual challenge.