Ever fallen down hard while riding a bicycle or while walking on a slippery icy pavement? Most of us have, and most of us have experienced at least one fractured limb after these kinds of falls.
You can go to a general physician to set the limb but a complicated fracture requires expert help from an Ortho surgeon. Bone surgeons or ORTHO surgeons, as they are called, are experts are recognizing bone conditions and treating them.
Do You Really Want To Be A Bone Surgeon?
Although the job sounds glamorous, it is actually one of the most labor intensive medical professions in the world. Orthopedic doctors have to work with patients to diagnose medical conditions of the bone, treat them, and correct them.
This may also involve physical examinations, chart reviews, medical treatments, physical therapy, follow-up treatments and much, much more. Another important fact to consider is that less than seven percent of bone doctors are women with more than 20% made up of men and other minority groups.
The bone surgeries, in particular, are quite lengthy and most surgeons have to work standing up for extended periods of time. These surgeons also require upper body strength to manipulate and set broken bones and fractured pieces. As a result, before you enter the career, you should take a few moments to contemplate whether you would actually like to work with blood and bones on a daily basis.
Qualities Of a Good Bone Surgeon
Strength – Dealing with bone injuries can be quite difficult. Surgeries are usually long and surgeons have to stand for a very long time. As a result, a certain amount of fitness is required in a bone doctor.
Tact – All doctors require a large amount of patience, sensitivity and tact. Worried patients have to be soothed and this means that the doctor should be able to help them understand the condition and how well it can be controlled or treated.
Orthopedic Surgeon Education: How to Become one
The path to becoming a bone doctor is very lengthy. It usually takes anywhere from 12 to 14 years to complete your studies and then start working. If you are still committed to becoming a bone doc, here is a quick guide to how you can become a surgeon working on bones.
You can start by taking additional biology and math courses in high school. This may seem like too much too soon, but it can actually help you quite a lot in preparing for your medical career. You can also choose to volunteer at medical centers, outpatient centers, and hospitals to add to your resume.
Once you have completed your additional courses at high school level, you should take up science courses in college. Although this is not required, again, it will help you when you actually start med school. Some schools offer accelerated programs or pre-med courses that are perfect if you want admission to a medical school. Most of the courses are heavily focused on human anatomy, chemistry and biology. The curriculum will cover the pre-requisites for admission to a medical school and it will help you prepare for the medical entrance exam.
The MCAT or medical college admissions test is highly competitive and thousands of students compete for admission into the course. Once you have passed the exam, you can choose the school you want. The basic med course is four years long and most students are provided a completed grounding in basic medicine.
After completing the medical course, you have to sit for the United States Medical Licensing Examination. This examination will test the scientific principles and practical skills acquired by the medical student. On passing the exam, the student is automatically allowed to work as a doctor.
At this stage, students can join a residency program in any medical specialization. The field is highly competitive with only 650 residency programs available in 170 accredited institutions. Candidates who opt for these residencies need to graduate at the top of their class. Most specializations range from two years to seven years but the orthopedic post-graduate course is usually five years long.
After completing the basic course, medical professionals may choose to specialize in fields like pediatric orthopedics or geriatric orthopedics. As students specialize, it will take more time to complete their education and start working.
Once you have completed your orthopedic residency, you have to then sit for an additional licensing exam with the orthopedic board. The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery will then certify you as an ortho surg. qualified to work anywhere in the US.
This may seem like too long to study and it is. The reason for this extended study period is that these doctors will be working on the human body and they have to take life-altering decisions for their patients. To ensure that they are fully equipped to care for life/death situations, this amount of study is absolutely necessary.
Orthopedic Salary Range
As you might have guessed, these doctors may a lot of money. An average orthopedic surgeon salary ranges anywhere from $125,000 to $577,000 depending on their expertise and education. Location is the biggest factor regarding salaries. For example, states like California that have a higher elderly population, have a higher demand for orthopedic surgeons.
As a result, candidates who are willing to relocate to this area and have the necessary expertise can easily earn more than the average. Similarly, surgeons with additional qualifications can earn more. For example, spine problems are some of the most common issues seen in the modern world.
As a result, an orthopedic spine surgeon salary will be almost double that of a surgeon who has not specialized in spine surgery.
Beginner orthopedic surgeon salary range will vary from $117,283 – $519,369 but this does not include other perks like medical insurance, dental coverage, profit sharing for private practices, and commission. Salary will also depend on practice patterns. For example, some surgeons may work as solo practitioners with their own clinics. In this case, they make a variable income depending on how many patients they get every day.
Apart from a solo career, some surgeons may also work in orthopedic groups in which one to six surgeons may work together. They share costs and see each other’s patients. In this type of practice, there are generalists and specialists and income is usually shared in the group. Other than that, surgeons may prefer to work with generalists. In this type of practice, several different specialties like a dentist, pediatric surgeons, podiatrist, pediatrician, etc. will work together at the same clinic and share their patients depending on requirement.
Scope For Orthopedic Jobs
Over the last few years, there has been an increasing demand for trained medical surgeons. Aging populations, elderly patients who live alone, and bone problems have resulted in more and more patients opting for preventive or restorative orthopedic surgery. As a result, there is already a very high demand for trained specialists in bone surgery. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be an increased demand of 25% to 45% for trained docs in the coming decade.
Find out exactly what the orthopedic industry is all about. This is one of the most secure industries one could possible choose.