Education and Training of General Surgeons: The Road to Becoming a Surgical Specialist

General surgery is a complex and demanding medical specialty that requires extensive education and training. General surgeons are highly skilled medical professionals who diagnose, treat, and manage a wide range of medical conditions through surgical interventions. In this article, we will explore the education and training requirements of general surgeons and the path to becoming a surgical specialist.

Education Requirements

To become a general surgeon, a medical professional must first earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. While there is no specific major required for admission to medical school, most aspiring surgeons major in a science-related field, such as biology, chemistry, or physics.

After completing their undergraduate studies, prospective general surgeons must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and apply to medical school. Medical school typically lasts four years and includes coursework in anatomy, pharmacology, pathology, and other medical subjects.

Training Requirements

After graduating from medical school, aspiring general surgeons must complete a surgical residency program, which typically lasts five to seven years. During this time, residents receive hands-on training in various surgical procedures, including laparoscopy, endoscopy, trauma surgery, and oncological surgery.

Residents also receive training in critical care, emergency medicine, and anesthesia. They work closely with experienced surgeons to hone their skills and gain the knowledge and experience necessary to provide excellent patient care.


After completing their surgical residency, some general surgeons choose to pursue further training in a specific area of surgery. This additional training is called a fellowship and typically lasts one to two years. Fellows gain advanced knowledge and experience in their chosen specialty, such as trauma surgery, oncology, or transplant surgery.

Licensing and Certification

To practice as a general surgeon, medical professionals must obtain a license from the state in which they plan to practice. They must also pass a certification examination offered by the American Board of Surgery, which tests their knowledge and competency in surgical procedures, patient care, and other critical areas.


In conclusion, becoming a general surgeon requires extensive education and training. Prospective surgeons must complete a bachelor’s degree, attend medical school, complete a surgical residency program, and obtain a state license and board certification. By acquiring the necessary knowledge and experience, general surgeons can provide expert surgical care to patients with a wide range of medical conditions. Whether they specialize in trauma surgery, oncology, or another area of surgery, general surgeons play a critical role in modern healthcare and are essential members of the healthcare team.