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Best Medical Schools for Surgery: List of Colleges for Aspiring Surgeons

Discover the best schools that offer educational training for those who wish to pursue a career in surgery. Learn more about the undergraduate and graduate requirements to acquire professional status in the field, along with the expected skills of the job and the employment outlook of the industry.

Aspiring surgeons are expected to undertake extensive educational training before pursuing a professional career. This would involve acquiring a bachelor's degree and completing science coursework, before pursuing a degree in medical school and undertaking internship and residency programs in the surgical field. The role of surgeon is a highly demanding one, but provides plenty of employment opportunities for those with the right experiential and educational background.

What Are the Most Common Educational Requirements for Becoming a Surgeon?

After completing their undergraduate education, aspiring surgeons are required to earn a 4-year professional degree in medical school, during which they complete clinical experiences that prepare them for residency training.

Surgery clinicals are generally taken in the fourth year of your medical program and provide you with clinical experience as a member of a surgery team. You will perform the daily operations, procedures, and patient rounds of a surgical professional, under the supervision of the surgical faculty. These clinicals take about 4 weeks to complete, and after graduating from medical school students move on to complete a residency program.

Residency programs involve further intensive training in the field of surgery. Residents acquire increasing levels of clinical experience across a broad spectrum of surgical cases, applying knowledge taught by faculty members and senior residents. These programs typically start with the foundational skills in surgery, before focusing on subspecialties such as vascular, endocrine, and pediatric surgery.

Residents are required to pass a national licensure exam, the process of which may begin in medical school.

What Schools Offer These Medical Programs in Surgery?

Although you would typically complete your medical school education and residency training at different locations, many schools offer both types of training. Schools that offer both clinicals and residency programs for aspiring surgeons include:

  • Duke University School of Medicine
  • University of Rochester - Medical Center
  • Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Drexel University - College of Medicine

What Are the Most Important Skills a Surgeon Must Possess?

Surgeons have highly demanding careers that often involve critical patient cases. As such, surgeons must exhibit exemplary communication skills in order to work well among their teams, display high levels of compassion for patients in distress, and be detail-oriented. Being responsible for the physical state of others, surgeons are to ensure that the appropriate treatments and medical procedures are administered to help their patients.

As surgery involves a high amount of physical work - including long periods of standing over their patients or possibly lifting their bodies - surgeons must also exert a healthy level of physical stamina.

What Is the Job Outlook for Surgeons?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of surgeons is expected to decline 2% from 2019 to 2029. This is lower than the average for all occupations. It can be noted, though, that medical students are typically assigned to a residency program right after graduation, getting them started on their careers as soon as possible.

Rural or remote areas may have the highest potential for employment among physicians and surgeons, as these places typically struggle in finding people of this profession.