For over 25 years, Dr. Klassen has dedicated his career to the practice of medicine and orthopedic surgery. He completed his residency in 1995 at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine and wants to share with prospective students (and doctors) the steps to becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
Complete a Four-Year Degree in College
First and foremost, you must complete your undergraduate degree in order to become an orthopedic surgeon. You should focus on taking classes related to the field of medicine, such as anatomy, physiology, and biology. You may also need to take classes in calculus, physics, the sciences, and chemistry. These will help you develop the skills necessary for success in medical school.
“I knew from the get-go that I wanted to devote my career to medicine and graduated from the University of California Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine in 1989. But, I want to encourage students to feel free to retake classes and complete their pre-requisites if they’re not deciding on a career in medicine,” says Dr. Michael Klassen MD.
Some great bachelor’s degree programs that could help prepare you for an orthopedic career are
- Biology, Biomedical Engineering, or Pre-Med
- Sports Medicine
- Medical Technology or Medical Sciences
If you already have a bachelor’s degree in another subject, such as business or history, you can still pursue an orthopedic career- just make sure to take the necessary classes to meet the prerequisites of medical school.
Take the MCAT Exam
Once you complete your college degree, you’ll need to take the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT. This is a required step to be accepted into medical school and obtain a doctorate of medicine degree. The exam can be taken online or at a physical testing center. Study resources such as the Official Guide to the MCAT Exam or Khan Academy courses can help you prepare for success on the MCAT.
It’s vital to take this exam seriously, as your score will have a direct impact on which medical schools you are accepted into. If you have your heart set on becoming an orthopedic surgeon, you should aim for a top score on the MCAT to increase your chances of acceptance! Research your desired school’s prerequisites to ensure you are familiar with any special requirements they may have.
Get Accepted into Medical School
Once you receive your scores, it’s time to start applying for medical school. You’ll need to choose a program and provide transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal essays, and other relevant information to be considered for admission. The admissions committee will review all applications holistically and select candidates based on a variety of criteria.
“While it was nerve-wracking applying to medical school, it’s also a very exciting time in your life. You’ll be able to learn more about the field of medicine and explore your options for a career path,” says Dr. Klassen.
Complete an Orthopedic Surgery Residency
Once you finish your medical school education, you’ll need to complete an orthopedic surgery residency. During this time, you will have the opportunity to learn from experienced surgeons and gain hands-on experience in the operating room. You may also be required to complete a research project or participate in clinical trials. This specialty training typically takes two to four years, depending on the program and your progress.
Dr. Klassen completed his residency in 1995 at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine and reflects fondly on his residency. “Orthopedic medicine is extremely detailed, and I learned a great deal from my mentors during my residency. It prepared me for the challenges that I would face as an orthopedic surgeon, and I’m thankful for the experience.”
Complete Fellowship Training
Fellowships are also an excellent way to gain additional experience in orthopedic surgery. These programs typically involve a one- to two-year commitment, and provide more intensive training than residency alone. You can start applying to fellowship programs during your second year of residency and will need to submit letters of recommendation, transcripts, and other materials to be considered.
Following the completion of a fellowship or residency, you will be eligible to become certified in orthopedic surgery by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. Certification requires passing a series of exams and demonstrating your expertise in a variety of areas such as trauma, sports medicine, and spine surgery. While being board-certified is not required to practice medicine, it can be beneficial to demonstrate your knowledge and experience in the field.
About Dr. Michael Klassen MD
Dr. Klassen is well-known in Monterey and Southern California for his expertise in orthopedic surgery. He is passionate about helping patients to regain their mobility and movement while reducing their pain. Dr. Klassen is an expert in medical legal advice in the state of California, and a top provider of lower extremity surgeries, sports injury rehabilitation, and holistic care.To schedule an appointment or to learn more, please visit his website at https://www.michaelklassenmd.com/