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Want to Be a Plastic Surgeon? Here’s What You Should Know

Want to Be a Plastic Surgeon? Here’s What You Should Know
January 8, 2021 Tom Clark

On the surface, life as a plastic surgeon seems glamorous. You make a lot of money, you live in a semi-mansion, you go on vacations every other week, and you essentially make your own way in the world.

But is being a plastic surgeon really as great as it seems? And, even further, is it really the right career choice for you?

It just might be! However, you’ve got to do your research first. So, without further ado, here are the ins and outs of being a plastic surgeon.

What Does a Plastic Surgeon Do?

You have a cursory idea as to what a plastic surgeon does. But you’re not sure of the specifics. Put simply, plastic surgeons perform reconstructive surgery, providing parts of the body with a different aesthetic and, in some cases, enhanced functionality.

Plastic surgeons perform a variety of different procedures. Some of the most prominent of these include the following:

Breast Augmentation

One of the most common procedures performed by plastic surgeons is breast augmentation. This is a procedure wherein the size and/or shape of the breast is changed. It’s often done for aesthetic purposes but can be done for functional purposes as well (i.e., to take some physical strain off of the back).

For more information, read this breast augmentation guide.


Another popular procedure performed by plastic surgeons is the facelift procedure. This is a procedure wherein the skin on the face is tightened and lifted. It brings dimension back to the face, allowing it to look more youthful.

Cleft Palate Surgery

Some children are born with cleft palates that can distort the look of their face. Fortunately, these can be repaired through surgery. A plastic surgeon is the one who will facilitate said surgery.

Collagen Injection

These days, it’s become common for women and men to have their lips injected with collagen. This gives the lips a more plump appearance. You might not know it, but plastic surgeons are the ones who carry out these collagen injections.


In some cases, when a person is overweight, it becomes necessary for him or her to have the fat sucked out of his or her body. This procedure is known as liposuction, and it’s performed by plastic surgeons.

How to Become a Plastic Surgeon

Now, you might be wondering how to become a plastic surgeon. We’ll cover the process in detail below.

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

To start your foray into becoming a plastic surgeon, you must earn a bachelor’s degree. This degree can be in anything but, in any case, it must help you to land a spot in medical school.

Some of the best degrees to pursue include chemistry, biology, and physics. If there’s a pre-med program available, you should pursue it.

Complete Medical School

After you’ve obtained an undergrad degree, you’ll need to complete medical school. You can pursue either a doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathy degree. These usually take 4 years to complete and include a mixture of in-class study and in-hospital rotational sessions.

Get Your Medical License

Once you’ve completed medical school, it will be time for you to get your medical license. To do this, you’ll need to pass an exam.

If you have a doctor of medicine degree, you’ll need to pass the US Medical Licensing Exam. If you have a doctor of osteopathy degree, you’ll need to pass the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam.

Complete a General Surgery Residency

Next, you’ll need to complete a general surgery residency. This will take 3 years and will introduce you to the ins and outs of different types of surgery. You’ll look in on surgeries and will even offer a helping hand from time to time.

Complete a Plastic Surgery Residency

After you’ve completed your general surgery residency, you’ll need to complete a plastic surgery residency. This too will last three years and will include many different types of surgery. You’ll be introduced to everything from breast augmentations to facial reconstructions to burn care and more.

Specialize By Participating in a Fellowship

Though you don’t have to specialize as a plastic surgeon, we recommend doing so. It will help to improve your employability and will ultimately make you more money in the long run.

If you’re interested in specializing, you’ll need to participate in a fellowship. This is a year-long program in which you become educated on the specialization of your choice. There are programs available for every specialty, so find one you enjoy and go at it with full force.

Obtain Plastic Surgery Certification

If you want to work professionally as a plastic surgeon, you must obtain a plastic surgery certification. This is facilitated by the American Board of Plastic Surgery Certification.

Want to be certified in a particular specialty? You’ll also need to gain certification from the American Board of Medical Specialties.

How Much Money Do Plastic Surgeons Make?

Plastic surgeons make exorbitant amounts of money. They’re some of the highest-paid medical professionals around. The average salary for a plastic surgeon is around $290,000.

Note, however, that after you’ve been practicing for a while, you can command salaries as high as $350,000, $500,000, and sometimes a million dollars. The best plastic surgeons make several millions of dollars a year, with some of them being worth between $20,000,000 to $30,000,000 in total assets.

In other words, when it comes to the money you can make as a plastic surgeon, the sky’s the limit. The better surgeon you are, the more money you can command over the years.

So, while the education needed to become a plastic surgeon can be long and arduous, it can also be well worth it. You’ll be making far more than enough money to pay off your student loans.

Looking for Info on Other Careers?

Now that you know a thing or two about becoming a plastic surgeon, you might be searching for info on other careers. If so, you’re in the right place. Our website has all the info you seek.

Check out some of our other articles right now!