Becoming a colon and rectal surgeon requires many years of education and hands-on learning. Surgeons must then apply to receive certification and pass a series of written and oral exams. Even after they become certified, they need to stay up-to-date with current procedures and practices and undergo continuing education.

Undergraduate Degree

Before moving into a medical program, future surgeons must first complete an undergraduate degree at a four year university. Students normally choose a field of study relevant to their future career path. Human physiology, biology, and health sciences are popular options. Once they have their bachelor’s degree, students move on to medical school.

Medical Program and Residency

After aspiring surgeons complete their first degree, they need to enter an accredited medical school and complete a four year program. Afterwards, surgeons need to complete a general surgery residency.

This surgical residency normally requires at least five years of intensive training. If a surgeon is interested in becoming a colorectal surgeon, they need to undergo another year or two of specialized training to prepare them for the future career. Colon and rectal surgeons need to complete a minimum of 14 years of education and training before they can even apply for their board certification.

Colorectal Surgeon Board Certification

The American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery (ABCRS) is responsible for administering certifications to surgeons in the United States. In order to become certified, surgeons need to pass a series of written and oral examinations, and demonstrate a proficiency in their chosen field. They also must display an expertise in diagnosing and surgically treating colorectal disorders.

Oral Examination

The ABCRS oral examination includes an interview with a panel of prominent colorectal surgeons. Three teams of surgeons ask the surgeon pursuing certification questions about  colon and rectal surgical problems in order to decide whether or not they should become certified.

After Becoming Certified

Once a surgeon has successfully completed the certification process, they receive the initials F.A.C.S. (Fellow of the American College of Surgeons) and F.A.S.C.R.S. (Fellow of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons).

Colorectal surgeons are required to become recertified every decade. The surgeon needs to complete another written examination in order to prove that they actively practice colorectal surgery and have stayed up-to-date with techniques and procedures.