Orthopedic surgery is among the most popular branch of medicine practiced today. But it is also one of the most competitive practices, which is why very few actually pursue it. Nevertheless, there are definitely a lot of attractive benefits to pursuing a career as an orthopedic surgeon.
First of all, there is that lucrative salary waiting for you at the end of your training. On average, orthopedic surgeons earn $155,000 to $300,000. If they have a private practice, it could very well amount to $500,000. Hourly rates can be anywhere between $2,000 and $25,000. And you don’t have to work gruelling hours since it is not emergency surgery. Typically, orthopedic surgeons make their rounds and meet clients only five days a week, within regular office hours. If they are affiliated with a hospital, they might be asked to go for clinic or ER duty. But they can attend that as an “on call” doctor.
And then, one should also consider the prestige. As the second highest paying medical professional, orthopedic surgeons not only command respect. They are also able to cultivate a decorated career. After residency, an orthopedic surgeon can pursue fellowship and take on a number of subspecialties. And afterwards, they can take part in clinical researches and be among those that contribute to the advancement of the field.It also doesn’t hurt that it is a highly demanded medical field, with an industry revenue of $850 billion yearly.
Finally, there is also the advantage of being able to help better the lives of people, especially children.
Orthopedics entails the surgical and non-surgical treatment of conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system. It covers the joints, bones, tendons, ligaments, nerves and muscles and deals with all kinds of complaints, from degenerative diseases, infections, trauma, congenital disorders, and tumors. In 2006, it was the second most common reason for physician visit. And there was approximately 132 million people who submitted themselves for check-ups for related complaints.
But of course, along with these upsides are a few pre-career downsides including the 14-year training experience that you have to undergo to become a licensed and certified orthopedic surgeon. See, before getting a medical degree, you will first have to finish an undergraduate course, preferably medically related. And then, you have to enroll for a 4-year theoretical medical course which is subsequently followed by a five-year residency. Now, if you’d like to become head of a unit, or are looking to build your own practice or just aiming for an increase in your pay grade, you then have the option to add 2 more years of fellowship. Here, you will be able to learn a subspecialty and gain added certification. All in all, it is obviously a pretty long journey just to end up with the aforementioned advantages.
And as if to add insult to injury, the fourteen years you spend will be expectedly ridden with stress, physical and mental challenges, emotional exhaustion as well as financial challenges. Unless you are holistically committed, you might not be able to complete the process and end up using a good number of years for nothing.