How to Become an ENT Surgeon

How to Become an ENT Surgeon

Ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgery is the surgical treatment of conditions and diseases related to the ears, nose, and throat. ENT surgeons are specially trained medical doctors that perform a variety of surgical procedures to treat many different ear, nose, and throat conditions.

What does an ENT surgeon do?

ENT surgeons (also called otolaryngologists or otorhinolaryngologists) specialize in treating conditions, diseases, and deformities of the ear, nose, throat, head, and neck. They diagnose and treat a variety of conditions such as chronic ear infections, sinusitis, tumors, birth defects, swallowing disorders, sleep apnea, and tonsillectomies. They typically focus on diagnosis and treatment of congenital defects, reconstructive or plastic surgery, and treatment of diseases. Some ENT surgeons also perform cosmetic surgery such as hair transplantation and chin augmentation. Many perform complicated procedures to treat malignant cancers. ENT surgeons perform physical examinations of the ears, nose, throat, head, and neck, discuss the medical history of the patient, and discuss treatment options.

What kind of training does an ENT surgeon need?

ENT surgeons must complete undergraduate education, medical school, and internships and residencies. Most ENT surgeons complete bachelor degrees that focus on the medical sciences. Medical school combines intensive instruction and clinical rotations on all major medical disciplines. After medical school, prospective ENT surgeons must complete at least 1 year of general surgical residency and at least 4 years of ear nose and throat surgical residency. Many ENT surgeons complete fellowships to sub-specialize in areas such as head and neck surgery, otology, laryngology, and pediatric ENT. All surgeons must be licensed to practice. Licensing requirements include completion of a medical degree from an accredited medical school, residency training, and passing a licensing examination. Most ENT surgeons also gain board certification from the American Board of Otolaryngology.

What are the prospects for a career as an ENT surgeon?

Employment of all surgeons is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% from 2006 to 2016 (1).

Job prospects should be good especially for ENT surgeons with advanced training and specialized skills. Many job openings will also arise from the need to replace ENT surgeons that retire, transfer, or leave the profession for other reasons.

How much do ENT surgeons make?

As of November 2009, the average annual salary for ENT surgeons is $112,000; average annual ENT surgeon salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as an ENT surgeon is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in providing care to patients with conditions affecting the ears, nose, throat, head, and neck. ENT surgeons must be able to perform a variety of surgical procedures ability to put patients at ease. Detail orientation, manual dexterity, determination, and self-motivation are desirable characteristics. ENT surgeons must also be able to work effectively as part of a team. They must be able to work flexible hours and make quick decisions in emergency situations.

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