What Education Do Surgeons Have?

If you’re considering a career in surgery, you’re probably wondering what kind of education and training surgeons have. Here’s a quick overview of the educational requirements for becoming a surgeon.

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surgeons must complete undergraduate education, 4 years of medical school, 3-8 years of residency, and a Fellowship.

High school

In order to become a surgeon, you will need to complete high school, although you may want to consider taking some extra classes in mathematics and the sciences. After high school, you will need to attend a college or university and complete an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree. Once you have completed your undergraduate degree, you will need to attend medical school for four years. During medical school, you will complete rotations in various surgical specialties. After medical school, you will need to complete a five-year residency in general surgery. Some surgeons opt to complete a fellowship after their residency in order to receive training in a specific area of surgery.


In order to become a surgeon, you will need to complete an undergraduate degree, as well as a medical degree. Depending on the country you are in, you may need to complete a pre-medical degree first, which will typically last for three years. After this, you will need to undertake a medical degree, which will last for five or six years. In total, it will take you around eight or nine years to qualify as a surgeon.

Medical school

All surgeons must complete four years of medical school and earn a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. During the first two years, medical students take courses in anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, microbiology, physiology, medical ethics and patient care. For the last two years, they work with patients in hospitals and clinics under the supervision of experienced physicians.


In order to become a surgeon, one must complete a residency, which is a postdoctoral educational program in which they receive training in a particular specialty of surgery. The length of a residency program varies, but is typically between three and seven years.

General surgery

General surgeons are highly trained medical doctors who perform surgery on patients. They may specialize in a specific type of surgery, such as orthopedic surgery, vascular surgery, or cardiac surgery. In the United States, general surgeons must complete four years of medical school and three to five years of residency training.


Surgeons who wish to subspecialize often complete a fellowship after completing their residency. Fellowships can last from one to three years, and they provide surgeons with training in a specific area of surgery. For example, a surgeon might complete a fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery, which would provide training in procedures such as heart transplants and bypass surgery.


Board certification is the process by which a physician demonstrates to the public that they have met specific educational and training requirements and are competent in their field. In order to become board certified, a Surgeon must have completed the following:

American Board of Surgery

The American Board of Surgery (ABS) is the oldest and one of the largest specialty boards in the United States. ABS was established in 1937 to protect the public by evaluating and certifying surgeons who meet specific qualifications and standards.

There are two routes to certification:
-The traditional pathway requires a minimum of five years in surgery training following medical school including a three-year general surgery residency.
-The alternative pathway is for those who have completed a general surgery residency of at least four years and has been in practice for two years. The surgeon must also pass an oral examination.

Both pathways require passing a written qualifying examination followed by a successful completion of an oral examination.

Maintenance of Certification

All surgeons must complete a minimum of 35 hours of continuing medical education (CME) every year.

Each five-year cycle, surgeons must earn said CME credits in each of the following four 10-hour blocks:

-Ethics and professionalism
-Patient safety
-Medical knowledge
-Practice improvement

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