How do I Become an Orthopedic Consultant?

N. Madison
N. Madison

An orthopedic consultant is a special type of surgeon who specializes in conditions, injuries, and diseases that affect a person’s musculoskeletal system. If you’re hoping to become an orthopedic consultant, you’ll typically have to make a commitment to a lengthy period of educational preparation. You’ll likely have to earn a high school diploma or a similar credential and then spend about four years in college earning a bachelor’s degree. After college, your next step is medical school, which usually requires an additional four years of study. Once you've graduated from medical school, you’ll typically have to complete an orthopedic residency, which may last for about five years, in order to become an orthopedic consultant.

Orthopedic consultants have special training in the body's bones and joints.
Orthopedic consultants have special training in the body's bones and joints.

In order to get started on the path toward becoming an orthopedic consultant, you’ll usually have to graduate from high school. While all of your high school classes may be important, you may do well to pay close attention to math and science courses, as they can provide a firm foundation for further study. Additionally, you’ll likely need good communication skills to become an orthopedic consultant, so you may also find classes that build your written and verbal communication skills helpful. If you do not complete high school, however, you can still pursue your goal of becoming an orthopedic consultant. Most colleges accept students who've earned general educational development (GED) credentials as well.

Once in college, you’ll typically have to pursue a four-year degree. While you may do well to choose a science major, such as biology, chemistry, or pre-medicine, many medical schools also accept students who've earned degrees in other majors. Medical school admissions are highly competitive, so you’ll typically need to earn a high grade point average in college. You may also need to take standardized tests, obtain letters of recommendation, and demonstrate that you are a well-rounded student to gain admission to medical school and become an orthopedic consultant. Keep in mind, however, that there are some medical schools that do not require applicants to graduate from college; some accept students who've completed three years of college as well.

Typically medical school lasts for four years after which you’ll usually have to complete an orthopedic surgery residency, which may last for about five years. In many cases, the first year of an orthopedic surgery residency focuses on general surgery while the other years concentrate on the orthopedic specialty. If you want to focus on a sub-specialty of orthopedic surgery, you may also complete a fellowship, which may last for about a year. You'll typically have to take a licensing exam to become a practicing doctor as well.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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