General Surgeon Education Requirements

Completing a general surgery residency program after medical school will teach you to perform operations and save lives. Explore a typical surgery residency program in depth, from year-to-year. Review the prerequisites for entering a residency, and find out whether surgery residents get paid. Schools offering Surgical Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are the Prerequisites for General Surgery?

General surgery is a medical specialization, and once you begin your general surgery education, you will already be considered a medical doctor. Most teaching hospitals are limited to the number of residents they accept each year, so you should apply to several hospitals to ensure that you find a matching residency program.

You will apply for a residency program through the Association of American Medical College's Electronic Residency Application Service. Beyond your bachelor's and medical school degrees, you will also need the following supporting documents and prerequisites:

  • Letters of recommendation
  • Medical school transcripts
  • Professional statement

PrerequisitesMedical school transcript, personal statement, recommendation letters, bachelor's and master's degree
Residency DetailsResidencies will take at least five years to complete and will begin with mastering basic care skills and develop into performing complex surgeries
SalaryResidents receive a yearly stipend, the amount of which will vary by program

What Will My Residency Years Entail?

Depending on your chosen program, you will spend at least five years completing your residency. In those years, you will receive progressively increasing responsibilities and surgical duties. Residency is your formal training in general surgery, and you must perform a certain amount of documented surgical procedures before you can receive your surgical license.

In your first year of residency, you will be responsible for a surgical patient's preoperative and postoperative care. You will become well versed in basic procedures, such as IVs, catheters and chest tubes. You will begin to receive broad instruction in basic surgical techniques. An attending physician will closely supervise you in all of your patient care.

Your care of patients will expand to more complex procedures in the second year. Therefore, your surgical knowledge will grow to encompass more types of surgical procedures to include critical and trauma care. You will begin to perform minor procedures on surgical patients and learn how to communicate effectively with a healthcare team.

In your third year, you will have a leadership role within the surgical care and resident team; however, an attending physician will closely monitor you. You will begin to take part in the instruction and training of first year residents. This will also be your first year in a leading surgical capacity.

The fourth year will mark your entry into a senior residency, and you will be able to demonstrate mastery of common procedures and surgical knowledge. This is also the year where you will perform more operations and procedures on your own.

This will be the last year of your residency, and you will be performing operations under the direct training and supervision of an attending physician. At this point, you must have mastered all the surgical procedures required for licensure and be able to communicate with your medical team in an administrative role.

Will I Receive Pay During My Residency?

Unlike your previous medical training, you will not have to pay for your general surgery residency training. In fact, you receive a stipend, similar to a yearly salary, which will vary according to your school. If the attending physicians choose you as a chief resident, your stipend will increase. Otherwise, expect the stipend to stay about the same throughout the duration of your training.

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