Orthopedist treat and diagnose bone and joint related diseases including arthritis, tendon injuries, fractures and osteoporosis, etc. They focus on the overall musculoskeletal system but may specialize in a particular part of the body.

Should I Become a Orthopedist?

Education Required Medical Degree
Major Requirement Medical
Training Required
Licenses/Certifications Required
Key Skills Dexterity, Problem Solving Skills, Patience, Communication Skills, Organization Skills and Leadership Skills.
Annual Mean Salary (2019) $203,450 (Physicians and Surgeons, All Other)
Job Outlook (2018-28) 8% (Physicians and Surgeons, All Others)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Orthopedists have the option to choose their work environment; some prefer to work at a hospital, while others practice independently. Some of these professionals choose to specialize in one area like knee, foot, hip and spine, etc. It is a career which offers high job security and opens various options like teaching and managing healthcare organizations, etc.

Career Outlook

Physicians and surgeons are projected to witness a growth rate which is faster than the average of most other occupations. As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Physicians and Surgeons, All Other are expected to grow 8% from 2018-2028.

Steps to Become a Orthopedist

  1. Get a Bachelor’s Degree
  2. Aspiring Orthopedists have to get an undergraduate degree to get enrolled in a medical college. There are no pre-medical major requirements, but students have to take a few compulsory courses such as biology, physics, chemistry and anatomy, etc.

  1. Take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
  2. Students have to pass the MCAT which is a standardized exam. The scores of the exam is a criterion of medical schools across the US. Along with MCAT scores, students have to submit a letter of recommendation and their CGPA as well.

  1. Get a Graduate Degree
  2. Prospective orthopedists have to complete a 4-year medical program which is a combination of practical and classroom learning. Students study subjects like anatomy, physiology, medical ethics and law, etc. during the first two years. While in the latter years, they are allowed to work with patients under an expert’s supervision. This program results in a medical degree.

  1. Obtain Licensure
  2. Applicants have to gain licensure to practice in the US. They have to pass the US Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) which ensures that professionals understand the scientific principles. Other requirements may differ according to the state.

  1. Complete a Residency Program
  2. These professionals have to complete a 5-year residency program in orthopedic surgery inclusive of 4 years of training and 1 year of practice. They receive a certificate from the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery once they complete their residency, practice for 2 years and clear a written and an oral exam.

  1. Serve a Fellowship
  2. A 6 months to one-year fellowship program is available for professionals who want to specialize in a particular specialty like surgical repair, pediatric orthopedics, sports medicine or reconstructive surgery.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Orthopedist?

Like all other physicians, orthopedists have to complete a 4-year undergraduate and a 4-year graduate program at a medical school. Once they complete their education, they can apply for licensure and start their residency program which lasts for 5 years. They have to serve a fellowship as well.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Orthopedist

Following are the requirements to become an Orthopedist:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree
  • Take the MCAT and earn a medical degree
  • Pass the USMLE and obtain licensure
  • Complete a medical residency and a fellowship

How Much Can I Make After Becoming an Orthopedist?

As reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Physicians and Surgeons, All Other were getting an annual mean salary of $203,450 in 2019.