Plastic surgeons are among the highest-paid physicians in the medical field, helping people to alter their looks or repair their appearance following traumatic accidents. You'll be required to go to medical school first, then complete a residency that covers surgical concepts, as well as an intensive plastic surgery internship. Once you've finished your coursework, you can become a board-certified plastic surgeon and start your career.
During your undergraduate years, you'll be required to take a range of core classes that cover topics such as English, communications, speech, foreign language and humanities. If you're planning to apply to medical school, you'll also take several science classes such as chemistry, physics and biology, including basic biology as well as more focused biological courses like cellular biology. You'll also take math classes, such as statistics, to receive your bachelor's degree and help you become a candidate for medical school.
Medical School Classes
Once you've been accepted to medical school, you'll take classes that focus on anatomy, physiology and infectious diseases. Courses that cover pharmacology, patient care, legal issues and ethics are also part of your medical school training. During your last two years of medical school, you'll take hands-on classes in a range of medical areas including dermatology, gynecology, pediatrics, neurology and ambulatory care, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Surgery courses are also required during your last two years of medical school that will help prepare you for your plastic surgery residency.
Specific Plastic Surgery Classes
Once you've finished medical school you'll receive five or six years of clinical training specific to plastic surgery, according to the American College of Surgeons. During these years, you'll receive training in a variety of plastic surgery areas that focus on the repair and reconstruction of the human body. You'll learn about skin grafts, replantation, tumor removal, bone repair and tissue transfer. Cosmetic surgery is part of your training, too, so you'll receive hands-on training in areas such as liposuction, breast enhancement and breast reconstruction. Training in ethics, legal issues and patient care are also part of your specific plastic surgery training.
Many plastic surgeons take advanced classes in specific areas they're interested in pursuing. For example, some plastic surgery students take courses in research regarding the most innovative ways to perform surgeries, as well as the newest technology available. Other plastic surgery students will focus on traumatic injuries and will take advanced courses in anatomy. Still other students will focus on one specific area of the body and become specialized in areas such as head and neck or hand and wrist surgery.
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.