The path to becoming an orthopedic physician can be a long one, but the career can be both rewarding and lucrative. To become an orthopedic physician, you will typically have to start out by earning a high school or general educational development (GED) diploma. After high school or passing a GED test, you will typically have to earn a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent at an accredited college or university. Following college, the next step is usually the completion of four years of medical school. Finally, you will likely have to pass a physician licensure exam and complete a residency program to become an orthopedic physician.
The education and training you have to complete to become an orthopedic physician can be long and difficult. You will usually have to prepare for college by earning a high school diploma or a GED. All of the classes you take in high school may prove important as you prepare for college, but science, math, and composition classes may be most relevant to your later studies. Additionally, participating in extracurricular activities and volunteering during your high school years may boost your chances of gaining acceptance to the college of your choice.
Once you graduate from high school or earn an a GED, your next step will usually be attending college to earn a bachelor’s degree. You can usually pursue just about any major and still gain acceptance to medical school. Science majors, however, may provide particularly good preparation. Each medical school may have unique criteria for accepting students, but you will usually have to provide a transcript of your college grades, obtain recommendations, and earn acceptable scores on a medical college admissions test to gain acceptance to medical school. Often, medical schools will also consider the extracurricular activities or groups in which you participated during college as well as the details of any volunteer efforts or internships.
After college, you will typically have to complete four years of medical school to become an orthopedic physician. A couple of these years will usually be completed in classrooms while the rest may involve hospital-based learning. To complete your preparation to become an orthopedic physician, you typically have to pass your jurisdiction's licensing exam and complete a residency, which is on-the-job training for medical doctors. In some places, this training lasts a few years.
It is important to note that entrance into medical school is usually highly competitive. Though medical schools often receive many applications from talented students, they usually only accept a small percentage of them. This means you will usually have to try your hardest throughout your entire educational career to have a chance to become an orthopedic physician.