How To Become a Plastic Surgeon

If you're interested science, medicine and art, you should consider becoming a plastic surgeon. While it does take years of dedicated time at school, you'll be rewarded with a great career that compensates very well! The following steps outline what you need to do in order to become a plastic surgeon.

Step 1

Start preparing in high school. If you know early on in your life that you want to be a plastic surgeon, you should start taking the necessary courses in high school. Take biology, chemistry and physics at the senior level. And spend some time volunteering at hospitals or doctor's offices if possible. You will want to have as much experience and exposure to the medical field as you approach med school.

Step 2

Apply to college. Hopefully, you graduated from high school with a good GPA and you got into the undergraduate program of your choice. From there, you'll need to complete a 4 year degree. Again, take lots of courses in the sciences - biology, chemistry, physics, and so on. Look into the requirements for your desired pre-med program to ensure that you have the prerequisites for the program (one of which is a high GPA). Before you leave college, take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). Study long and hard for this, as it determines what pre-med program (if any) you'll be accepted into. During your senior year of college or university, you will need to apply to your preferred medical schools for admission. Make sure that you have the means to pay for this schooling, as it will be quite expensive.

Step 3

Complete pre-med. After college, you will be expected to complete your pre-med program. During this time, you'll take general medical courses and won't yet be able to specialize as a plastic surgeon. Expect to have courses in biochemistry, anatomy, pediatrics, gynecology, and so on. This will help you to become a well-rounded doctor of medicine.

Once you hit your third year of pre-med, you can declare your specialty as a plastic surgeon. Do some research on the American Board of Plastic Surgery website to confirm your interest in this career. If you can, continue to work in the medical environment to increase your chances of being accepted to plastic surgery residency at the hospital of your choice.

Step 4

Choose one of two different options for becoming a plastic surgeon resident. After pre-med, you will be required to complete a residency. And for this, you have two options. Under the independent model, you will first complete a 3-year general surgical residency followed by 3 years a plastic surgery residency. Or, under the integrated model, you can opt to have your entire 6-7 year residency focus on all of the necessary surgical training.

Step 5

Look for job opportunities. As your plastic surgery residency comes to an end, you need to start looking for jobs. In the final few years of your residency, start to keep your eye open for plastic surgery openings both at the hospitals you did your residency at and others. Once you have taken the proper board examination in your state (as mandated by the American Board of Plastic Surgery), you will be considered a fully-licensed plastic surgeon. After this time you can confidently apply to jobs and enter your career as a plastic surgeon.


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