How to Become a Pediatric Surgeon
Pediatric surgeons perform surgeries on children and adolescents. They are trained similar to other surgeons.
However, they are required to acquire a degree of specialization to surgically treat young patients.
Aspiring pediatric surgeons should have a natural knack for communicating with children and teenagers.
They should be aware of creating a safer environment for young patients before providing complicated surgical treatments.
Pediatric surgery is one of the most rewarding yet emotionally taxing jobs in the medical healthcare field.
5 Steps to Become a Pediatric Surgeon?
A specific curriculum has been designed to prepare aspiring medical students to become professional, certified and skilled pediatric surgeons.
Extensive training is necessary to be able to diagnose, treat and prevent pediatric disorders, diseases, injuries or deformities.
How to Become a Pediatric Surgeon in the USA? – Here are the 5 Main Steps
Step 1 – Earning an undergraduate degree
Earning a bachelor’s degree is the first step to becoming a pediatric surgeon. It is highly advised to choose a pre-med program during the undergraduate years.
You can also choose an alternate program that fulfills medical school admission requirements.
The pre-med course you choose should have science subjects. These include biology, chemistry, biomedical science or another science-centric subject.
These pre-med courses should prepare you for medical school by teaching you:
- Organic chemistry
Step 2 – Enroll in accredited medical school
Once you’ve earned your undergraduate science degree, you will need to enroll in an accredited medical school.
For this, you will need to prepare, and appear for, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). You should prepare for MCAT long before you graduate. The reason is that this entrance test is extremely challenging.
Next, you should search for medical schools that provide the medical education needed to become a pediatric surgeon.
You can choose to enroll in a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree course.
During medical school, students are taught coursework, have laboratory work and perform clinical rotations. This is an essential step to explore the various avenues within medicine.
The curriculum usually includes studying different parts and systems of the body. These may include learning about the respiratory system, nervous system, etc.
During medical school, you would learn everything you need to know about:
- Evidence-based medicine
- Patient safety
Step 3 – Admission into surgical residency
Once you’ve passed medical school, it is time to complete a residency for surgeons. Aspiring pediatric surgeons need to apply for a residency program in general surgery.
These residency programs involve a lot of clinical rotations. This helps students to experience various types of surgeries. This is also necessary to inculcate the necessary skills to perform successful surgeries.
Apart from clinical rotations, residency programs also offer research opportunities in your chosen field.
Step 4 – Enroll in Pediatric surgery fellowship
After completing residency for general surgery, you will next need to apply for a fellowship in pediatric surgery. These training programs are shorter as compared to general surgery residency programs.
However, fellowships are vital to training in pre and post-surgical care of children.
During this time, students get opportunities to work in in-patient and out-patient wards. Along with this, students also get to participate in research studies.
Enrolling in a fellowship for pediatric surgery is necessary to learn necessary surgical skills, such as:
- Pediatric oncology
- Pediatric radiology
- Pediatric urology
- Pediatric surgical pathology
Step 5 – Get state licensure and board certification
If you wish to practice your craft as a skilled pediatric surgeon then you need to apply for state licensure. You need to appear for the US Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) if you have an M.D. degree.
Although board certification is not mandatory for practice, it is highly advised. Getting certified by the American Board of Surgery (ABS) offer pediatric surgeons incredible employment opportunities.
All in all, it may take anywhere between 10 to 15 years to become a certified pediatric surgeon in the US.
How much do Pediatric Surgeons earn?
According to the latest United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for surgeons in the US ranges around US$ 207,720 per year.
This rate is dependent on various factors, such as the place of employment and state of residence.
Make sure to choose an accredited medical school to prepare for a career as a pediatric surgeon in the US. You will need complete commitment and drive to pursue this career.
However, the long years of training are rewarded well with a high-paying job at the end of your studies and training.