How to Become a Trauma Surgeon Doctor

Trauma surgeons face unpredictable challenges.
i Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Trauma surgery can be a high-pressure but rewarding career in medicine. A trauma surgeon faces some of the most intense cases, repairing damage from blunt or penetrating trauma that may damage one or more organ systems. A trauma surgeon also performs exploratory surgery to locate internal damage or bleeding; repairs damage to the pancreas, spleen, stomach or colon; supports critical organ systems, including the heart and lungs, and works in tandem with other specialized surgeons, such as heart surgeons or neurosurgeons.

Step 1

Complete a bachelor's degree program that will provide you with the broad base of knowledge necessary to complete the specialized program in medical school. Trauma surgeons will typically obtain a bachelor of science in biological sciences or chemistry and complete a set of classes mandated by a pre-medicine program.

Step 2

Obtain a doctor of medicine, or M.D., degree by completing a medical school program. The typical M.D. program lasts four years, with the first two focused on coursework and the final two focused on rotations through fields of medical practice.

Step 3

Complete a residency program in general surgery, typically lasting three years. While studying to become a trauma surgeon, you will rotate through surgery specialties, including trauma and cardiac surgery. A trauma surgeon requires knowledge of many organ systems.

Step 4

Become certified by the American Board of Surgery upon completion of your residency. You will stand for an oral exam in front of a board of practicing surgeons to demonstrate your understanding of the expansive knowledge required to practice trauma surgery. This is required in order to practice medicine as a surgeon.

Step 5

Specialize in critical care by entering a fellowship program in trauma surgery for one to two years. At the end of this you will have the opportunity to take the Surgical Critical Care exam and become board-certified in trauma surgery.

the nest