Trauma Surgeon Education and Career Facts

Read about the path to becoming a trauma surgeon, from earning a bachelor's degree all the way through completing a residency and becoming board-certified in trauma surgery. Explore what you'll learn in medical school. Get more information on the job duties of a trauma surgeon. Schools offering Surgical Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Trauma surgeons repair organs, muscle and bone that have been damaged during an injury. Trauma surgeons must have a relevant bachelor's degree in a related field, plus a doctorate from an accredited medical school. Training through a medical residency is also required, as is medical board certification and licensure.

Degrees Bachelor's degree with specific undergraduate work in science, math and English, as well as a doctorate from a medical school
Training Residency period of 5-7 years working under the supervision of a licensed doctor
Licensing State medical license and board certification
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 14% growth (for all surgeons)

How Should I Prepare for Medical School?

You must have a bachelor's degree to be admitted into medical school. Entry into medical school is highly competitive; students are encouraged to have a high cumulative grade point average. Although you can be admitted with any major, many medical schools look for students who have taken science courses in biology, chemistry and physics.

Medical schools also require that you take the MCAT exam and earn a competitive score. Medical admissions boards look for students with a well-rounded body of knowledge and include test scores, extracurricular activities, coursework and letters of recommendation as some of the factors that determine admission.

What Will I Learn In Medical School?

Medical students spend most of the first two years of medical school in laboratories and classrooms. You will take courses in anatomy and physiology, immunology, microbiology, pharmacology and ethics. You will also learn techniques in patient communication and care.

During the final two years, you will participate in clinical rotations where you work under the supervision of a licensed doctor in various areas of the hospital, including emergency, obstetrics and psychiatry. Upon completion of your medical program, you will earn your medical degree and choose a specialty in trauma surgery.

What Additional Training Is There?

After graduating from medical school, you are required to complete a residency. You can complete your residency at a trauma center where your residency can last up to seven years. During your residency, you are required to practice under the supervision of a licensed doctor. Upon completion of your residency, you will be eligible to obtain a license and practice on your own.

What Can I Expect as a Trauma Surgeon?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for all surgeons in 2016 was $251,890. From 2016 to 2026, surgeon positions are expected to grow by 14%, which is faster than the average for all positions. Job prospects are expected to be especially good for surgeons willing to work in rural or low-income areas because of the difficulty in filling these positions.

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