How Do I Get an Orthopedic Fellowship?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 03 April 2020
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In order to receive an orthopedic fellowship, it is necessary for a doctor to research and apply to fellowship programs at universities or hospitals. These programs look for qualified candidates with strong scores on medical board exams and good letters of recommendation from supervising doctors. Though a doctor can practice orthopedic medicine at the end of a three year residency, in order to practice as an orthopedic specialist, the doctor needs to complete a fellowship. At the end of an orthopedic fellowship, he or she will be considered a specialist in a specific type of orthopedic medicine and will be able to practice as a specialist without the direct supervision of a more experienced doctor or surgeon.

Before applying to an orthopedic fellowship, it is important for a doctor to determine which type of fellowship to apply for. There are many different specialties in orthopedic medicine, including trauma surgery, spinal surgery, reconstructive surgery, and sports medicine. The type of preparation needed to go into one of these specialties depends on the type of medicine practiced within each specialty. Though most orthopedic fellowship programs are surgical, a doctor who specializes in sports medicine may be a medical doctor rather than a surgeon.


Before a doctor can apply for an orthopedic fellowship, he or she must complete a residency program in an appropriate field. This program gives the doctor the skills that they need to begin a fellowship program in order to become a competent and qualified specialist. It is possible for a doctor to begin the application process for the orthopedic fellowship toward the end of the three years of residency. A doctor will not, however, be considered for an orthopedic fellowship if the prerequisites are not met.

The orthopedic fellowship application process involves submitting a number of different documents to the university or hospital program the doctor hopes to be accepted into. The specific requirements vary between programs, but most ask for letters of recommendation, a resumé, scores from medical examinations, and grades from universities. It may benefit the applicant if he or she has published research in a medical journal before beginning the application process.

Receiving an orthopedic fellowship requires that a doctor have performed well on various exams and in medical school. Qualified doctors will also need to request letters of recommendation from the doctors who supervised them during their residency. If the program is interested in an applicant, he or she will be asked to come in for an interview. Over the course of this interview, doctors will have an opportunity to answer questions and demonstrate their knowledge of medicine.


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