Vascular surgeons, surgical specialists who operate on the venous system, undergo a lot of training. In addition to learning generally about the field of surgery so that they can practice safely and effectively, vascular surgeons also complete specialized training in their chosen surgical specialty. Someone who wants to become a vascular surgeon should plan being in school and training for at least 14 years after graduating from high school.
People in high school who know that they are interested in medicine may want to consider loading up on science courses and taking advantage of internships and work-study opportunities in doctor's offices and medical clinics. This experience will be useful for students applying into a premed program, which will help them prepare to apply to medical school. People can also apply to medical school with a bachelor's degree in biology or a related science, and some medical schools also accept people with degrees in other areas of study, as long as they have fulfilled the prerequisites for admission, which are listed in the application materials for medical schools.
In medical school, students will learn about the practice of medicine. If a student knows that he or she is interested in surgery or a wants to become a vascular surgeon, electives can be taken for more experience, and it may help to get experience as an employee in a clinic or hospital which offers vascular surgery services. The more experience a student has and the better his or her grades, the better the chance of matching into a good surgery program.
Someone who wants to become a vascular surgeon has two options for residency. Some people become a vascular surgeon by taking a residency in general surgery, achieving board certification, and then applying for a vascular surgery residency and then obtaining board certification in vascular surgery. This method can take six to seven years. Others may choose to enter directly into a vascular surgery residency, which offers five to seven years of training, depending on where the doctor is completing his or her residency.
Becoming board certified is an important step for someone who wants to become a vascular surgeon. Board certification indicates that a surgeon has met the standards of a professional organization and that he or she is committed to a high standard of practice. Board certification also allows a surgeon to join a professional organization, gaining access to trade journals and continuing education opportunities which will allow the surgeon to keep up with advances in the field.