How to become a Surgeon

Overview, Courses, Exam, Colleges, Pathways, Salary

Medicine & Allied Healthcare


Who is Surgeon ?

It is expected that the growing and aging population will drive general growth in demand for physician services. Aspiring doctors should enter one of the most highly educated and well-paid professions.Surgeons have one of healthcare's most satisfying and often, most demanding careers. Such specialists are treating patients with sickness, disability, deformity, or injury. They use an amalgamation of non-intrusive methods and intrusive techniques involving the application of precise surgical methods.Surgeon meaning one who has to first evaluate the history, physical condition and lab results of their patient. Following an in-depth analysis of the patient's condition, a treatment plan is formed that might or might not involve surgery. They might refer the patient to some other healthcare practitioner if needed.In this field, different disciplines, types of surgeons and sub-specializations. However, a general surgeon meaning one who is trained to administer surgical procedures that cover nearly any area of the body.

Here are some steps to becoming a Surgeon

  1. Obtain a Bachelor's Degree: Start by completing a bachelor's degree in a science-related field, such as biology, chemistry, or pre-medicine. While there is no strict requirement for the undergraduate major, taking courses in the sciences will prepare you for medical school.
  2. Take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT): To gain admission to medical school, you must take the MCAT. This standardized test assesses your knowledge of the sciences and critical thinking abilities. Score well on the MCAT to improve your chances of being accepted into medical school.
  3. Attend Medical School: After being accepted, complete four years of medical education. The first two years typically focus on classroom-based learning, covering medical sciences, anatomy, physiology, and pathology. The last two years involve clinical rotations, where you'll gain hands-on experience in various medical specialties.
  4. Choose a Surgical Residency: Decide on your desired surgical specialty during medical school. Surgery is a broad field with numerous subspecialties, such as general surgery, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, etc. Apply for a residency program in your chosen surgical specialty. Surgical residencies typically last 5 to 7 years.
  5. Complete a Surgical Residency: Throughout your surgical residency, you'll receive extensive training in your chosen specialty. You'll work under the guidance of experienced surgeons, participate in surgeries, and progressively take on more responsibilities as your skills develop.
  6. Obtain a Medical License: After completing your surgical residency, you'll need a medical license to practice as a surgeon. Requirements for licensure vary by location, so research the specific licensing requirements in the area where you plan to practice.
  7. Consider Fellowship (Optional): Depending on your chosen surgical subspecialty, you may opt for further training through a fellowship program. Fellowships provide additional expertise and specialized knowledge in pediatric, cardiovascular, or plastic surgery.
  8. Get Board Certified (Optional): Some surgeons seek board certification in their surgical specialty. Board certification is a voluntary process that demonstrates a surgeon's expertise and commitment to maintaining high standards of medical practice.
  9. Continue Professional Development: As a surgeon, continuous learning and professional development are essential. Attend conferences, participate in workshops, and stay updated on your field's latest advancements and research.
  10. Start Your Surgical Practice or Join a Medical Facility: Start your surgical practice or join a hospital, clinic, or medical group to begin practicing as a surgeon.

Typical day at work

What does Surgeon do?

A Surgeon is a medical doctor specializing in performing surgical procedures to treat various medical conditions and injuries. Their primary responsibility is to diagnose medical conditions requiring surgical intervention and plan and execute surgical procedures with precision and care. Surgeons work in various medical specialties, such as general surgery, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, cardiovascular surgery, and more.

Here are some key tasks and responsibilities that Surgeons typically perform:

  1. Diagnosing and Evaluating Patients: Surgeons assess patients' medical conditions through physical examinations, diagnostic tests, and medical history reviews. They determine whether surgery is necessary or alternative treatments are more appropriate.
  2. Surgical Planning: Surgeons develop comprehensive surgical plans, considering the patient's health status, medical history, and the specific nature of the condition or injury. They discuss the procedure with the patient and obtain informed consent.
  3. Performing Surgery: Surgeons execute surgical procedures, employing their medical expertise and technical skills to perform surgeries safely and effectively. This involves making incisions, manipulating tissues and organs, removing diseased or damaged tissue, and repairing or reconstructing body structures.
  4. Postoperative Care: Surgeons provide postoperative care, monitoring the patient's recovery and managing possible complications. They prescribe medications, instruct patients on post-surgery care, and coordinate with other medical professionals to ensure the best possible outcome.
  5. Research and Continuous Learning: Surgeons stay updated with the latest surgical techniques, technologies, and medical research advancements. They continuously learn and develop professionally to improve their skills and knowledge.
  6. Collaboration: Surgeons often work as part of a medical team, collaborating with other specialists, anesthesiologists, nurses, and support staff to ensure comprehensive patient care.
  7. Communication: Effective communication is crucial for Surgeons. They must be able to convey complex medical information clearly to patients and their families, helping them understand the surgical procedure, potential risks, and expected outcomes.
  8. Ethical and Legal Considerations: Surgeons adhere to ethical standards and follow legal guidelines in their practice. They prioritize patient safety, confidentiality, and informed decision-making.

Abilities and Aptitude needed

What are the skills, abilities & aptitude needed to become Surgeon?

  • Successful surgeons have specific features and outlooks that contribute to career fulfilment. While it is important to have a strong desire to become a surgeon and the tenacity to persevere through ten or more years of rigorous training is necessary, you must also have other qualities.
  • While you may have a very comfortable lifestyle in the field of surgery, to be successful, your primary motivation must be love and appreciation for the human body and human life. If you lack this, patients may see you as less genuine and not trust you.
  • You must also possess high physicality and dexterity, allowing you to conduct operations on your feet frequently lasting for several hours, and to use your hands to make precise cuts and to follow operational methods.
  • Due to the high-stress environment during surgery, surgeons should be critical thinkers who work well under pressure. People in medical professions should always be extremely concentrated and attentive to detail, as the slightest mistake during surgery can have significant and potentially fatal consequences.
  • Additionally, surgeons should be good communicators, because they need to explain surgical procedures to patients and members of the healthcare team, including nurses and physician helpers. They also need to provide clear and precise instructions for assisting procedural staff members.
  • Besides thinking on your feet, problem-solving and working well under high-stress levels, you also need to be able to cope with crises and emergencies. Finally, professionals involved in this role should be resourceful, devoted to the profession, fair and committed to improving their patients’ lives.


Salary for Surgeon?

The average monthly salary for a Surgeon in India can vary based on specialization, experience, location, hospital or clinic, and the surgeon's reputation. Surgeons who are highly specialized or work in renowned hospitals may earn higher salaries.
On average, a Surgeon in India could earn anywhere between INR 80,000 to INR 500,000 monthly. However, it's important to note that these figures are approximate and can vary significantly depending on the abovementioned factors.

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Which Industries are open for Surgeon?

Surgeons can find opportunities in various industries related to healthcare and medical services. Here are some industries where surgeons commonly practice:

  • Hospitals: Surgeons are an integral part of hospital settings, working in various departments such as general surgery, orthopaedics, neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery, plastic surgery, and more. Hospitals offer diverse surgical specialities and provide a wide range of surgical procedures.
  • Private Practice: Surgeons often establish their private practice or join group practices, offering specialized surgical services to patients. It allows them to have greater autonomy and manage their patient caseloads.
  • Academic and Research Institutions: Surgeons can work in academic and research institutions, such as medical schools and teaching hospitals. They contribute to medical education by teaching and training future surgeons and engaging in research and advancements in surgical techniques and treatments.
  • Ambulatory Surgical Centers: Ambulatory surgical centres (ASCs) are facilities dedicated to providing same-day surgical procedures. Surgeons can work in ASCs specializing in specific surgical procedures, providing outpatient surgeries in a more focused and efficient environment.
  • Government and Public Sector: Surgeons may work in government hospitals, military healthcare facilities, or public healthcare institutions. They contribute to providing surgical care to patients within government healthcare systems and ensure access to surgical services for the public.
  • Speciality Clinics: Surgeons may practice in specialized clinics that focus on specific areas, such as fertility clinics, cosmetic surgery centres, laser eye surgery clinics, or specialized surgical clinics catering to a particular patient population or medical condition.
  • Research and Development: Surgeons can contribute to the medical device or pharmaceutical companies' research and development efforts. They may be involved in clinical trials, product development, or medical affairs roles related to surgical innovations and advancements.
  • International and Humanitarian Organizations: Surgeons can work with international organizations and humanitarian groups, providing surgical care in underserved regions or participating in medical missions to offer surgical services in areas with limited access to healthcare.


Are there internships available for Surgeon?

Internships specifically targeted for surgeons are not expected due to the extensive training and specialization required in the field. However, internships and programs are available during the early stages of medical education that provide exposure to surgical specialities and assist in developing surgical skills. Here are some internship opportunities related to surgery:

  • Medical School Internships: Medical students may have the opportunity to participate in surgical internships or rotations as part of their medical education. These internships provide hands-on experience in surgical departments, allowing students to observe surgeries, assist in patient care, and learn from experienced surgeons.
  • Research Internships: Surgeons often research to advance surgical knowledge and techniques. Medical students or aspiring surgeons can pursue research internships in academic institutions or research organizations to gain exposure to surgical research, data analysis, and academic publication.
  • Surgical Observerships: Some hospitals or surgical departments offer observerships or shadowing opportunities for medical students or individuals interested in surgery. These programs allow participants to observe surgeries and interact with surgical teams to understand surgical procedures and patient care better.
  • Summer Surgical Programs: Various organizations, hospitals, or surgical societies may offer summer programs or fellowships designed to introduce medical students or aspiring surgeons to surgical specialities. These programs may include workshops, lectures, hands-on surgical skills training, and mentorship from experienced surgeons.
  • Global Surgery Programs: International medical organizations or non-profit groups often organize surgical mission trips or global surgery programs. These initiatives allow medical students and young surgeons to participate in surgical outreach in underserved regions, gaining valuable surgical experience in resource-limited settings.

Career outlook

What does the future look like for Surgeon?

The career outlook for surgeons is expected to remain strong in the coming years. Here's a glimpse of the future for surgeons:

  • Growing Demand: Surgeons will continue to be in high demand due to the increasing ageing population and the prevalence of chronic diseases that require surgical interventions. Advances in medical technology and techniques will also drive the need for specialized surgical expertise.
  • Technological Advancements: Surgeons will benefit from ongoing technological advancements, such as minimally invasive surgical techniques, robotic-assisted surgery, and precision medicine. These innovations will enhance surgical precision, reduce invasiveness, improve patient outcomes, and expand the scope of surgical procedures.
  • Subspecialty Development: Surgeons can specialise further in their respective fields. Subspecialties such as robotic, transplant, cardiothoracic, and neurosurgery will continue to evolve, allowing surgeons to focus on specific areas and provide specialized care.
  • Collaborative Care: Surgeons will increasingly work in multidisciplinary teams, collaborating with other healthcare professionals, including anesthesiologists, radiologists, nurses, and allied healthcare personnel. This collaborative approach will improve patient care, facilitate comprehensive treatment plans, and optimize surgical outcomes.
  • Research and Innovation: Surgeons will be crucial in advancing surgical research and driving innovation. They will contribute to developing new surgical techniques, improving surgical instruments and equipment, and participating in clinical trials to evaluate novel therapies and treatment approaches.
  • Global Opportunities: Surgeons may have opportunities to work in international settings, participating in medical missions, teaching programs, and research collaborations. The globalization of healthcare will open doors to cross-cultural exchange, exposure to diverse surgical practices, and the ability to contribute to global health initiatives.
  • Work-Life Balance and Well-being: There is increasing recognition of the importance of work-life balance and physician well-being. Efforts are being made to address burnout and improve work environments for surgeons. Enhancements in scheduling, technology, and support systems may contribute to better work-life integration and overall satisfaction.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How many years will it take to become a surgeon? 

Answer: The time required to become a surgeon varies based on the educational path and specialization. Generally, it takes around 10 to 15 years of education and training after high school to become a qualified surgeon. This includes completing a bachelor's degree (4 years), attending medical school (4 years), and completing a surgical residency program (5 to 7 years).

2. Can an MBBS graduate be a surgeon? 

Answer: Yes, an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) graduate can become a surgeon. In many countries, including India, the MBBS degree is a prerequisite for pursuing further specialization in surgery. After obtaining an MBBS degree, aspiring surgeons must complete a surgical residency program to gain the necessary training and experience in their chosen surgical specialty.

3. Can I become a surgeon without MBBS? 

Answer: Becoming a surgeon typically requires completing an MBBS (or equivalent) degree. The MBBS degree provides the foundational medical knowledge and skills required for further specialization in surgery. With an MBBS or equivalent medical degree, it is likely to pursue a career as a surgeon.

4. How to become a surgeon in 5 years?

 Answer: Becoming a surgeon in 5 years is highly challenging and unlikely. The standard path to becoming a surgeon involves completing a bachelor's degree (4 years), followed by medical school (4 years), and then a surgical residency program (5 to 7 years). This totals approximately 13 to 15 years of education and training. However, in some countries, medical schools may offer accelerated programs combining bachelor's and medical degrees, but even these programs usually take 6 to 7 years to complete.

5. Can I become a surgeon after the 12th? 

Answer: No, you cannot become a surgeon directly after completing 12th grade. To become a surgeon, you must first complete a bachelor's degree (such as MBBS), which requires passing 12th grade with a science stream (Physics, Chemistry, and Biology) and qualifying in relevant entrance examinations for medical schools. After completing the bachelor's degree, you must pursue a surgical residency program to gain the specialized training needed to become a qualified surgeon. This process takes several years of education and training beyond the 12th-grade level.