How to Become a Plastic Surgeon

Plastic surgery is one of the best known and highest paying branches of medicine. Plastic surgeons are asked to provide surgical procedures that change, enhance or correct physical deformities. They also help people by performing procedures that help them maintain their appearance. With plastic surgery an individual needs to get through the necessary steps including the education and training of typical physicians. The career of a plastic surgeon is arguably the most rewarding and artistic branch of medical practice. A career in plastic surgery is quite popular and is highly sought after by many aspiring physicians. This branch of medicine also among the least stressful as well.

Educational Background

In order to be a plastic surgeon, you need to go through the education that is typical of all physicians. First a person needs to go to college and complete at least 90 semester units of college coursework. However many medical schools prefer that each applicant complete a bachelors degree. During the undergraduate college years students need to complete two semesters of biology, two semester of physics, two semesters of general chemistry and another two semesters of organic chemistry. Many medical schools also want students to complete one year of English composition and other biological science courses. However medical schools want students to receive a very broad education that covers a variety of topics so it is best for students to study various subjects during their college years. It is also noted that students need to achieve a high grade point average and the higher it is the better off they are.

Medical School

Aspiring plastic surgeons also need to take and do very well on the Medical College Admission Test. If and once a person gets into medical school, they need to go through and complete four years of medical school. During the four years of medical school, students will study biological sciences and subjects such as microbiology, human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and neurology in the first two years. Then in the final two years of medical school they will begin receiving clinical training. After the first two years and in order to graduate. students need to pass the first two parts of the USMLE or national licensing examination.

Research and Clinical Experience

For aspiring plastic surgeons, it is very advantageous to complete research experience. This includes helping teachers research various issues in the sciences. This includes topics such as cancer, stem cell research, and other health related topics. Gaining experience in the medical field is also a very important step in becoming a future plastic surgeon. With experience you will be able to get a feel for what being a physician is like and what will eventually be expected of you. This is also a way of determining if a career in medicine is something that you can handle and most importantly an occupation that you enjoy. Since an individual wants to be a plastic surgeon it will be important to get experience working at a plastic surgeons office or practice.

Beginning of Career and Employment

Once a medical student graduates from medical school and becomes licensed they need to complete a residency. This varies by specialty and plastic surgeons usually need to complete a six year residency. This residency is either the independent model or the integrated model. In the independent model you choose a type of plastic surgery you want to specialize in and complete two specialties in two, 3 year increments. The integrated model is more comprehensive and encompasses all aspects of plastic surgery as it is more broad in nature. Once the residency is completed then a plastic surgeon gets employment at a physicians office to begin practicing independently. Plastic surgeons primary job duties are counseling patients, making recommendations and performing procedures to either enhance, maintain a person’s appearance or fix physical deformities.