A full-time employee in America makes an average of $3,744 a month, while the average surgeon makes around $21,259 a month!
Explore this Article:
- What Do Surgeons Do?
- How to Become a Surgeon
- Different Types of Surgeons
- How Much Do Surgeons Make?
- Related Jobs
Becoming a surgeon might be a difficult endeavor, but it proves worth it in the end. Surgeons have one of the highest paying jobs making $17,515 more a month than the average American.
What Do Surgeons Do?
A surgeon is a physician who uses their expertise to primarily perform surgeries. They are specialized doctors who focus their education and medical practices on performing surgeries. They operate on lots of ailments from broken bones, removing cancerous tumors, and hip replacements. Ultimately, a surgeon is someone who fixes, replaces, or removes both internal and external parts of the body.
Surgeons can either become a Medical Doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). An MD lets them practice conventional (allopathic) medicine. A DO lets them practice osteopathic (more holistic) medicine.
Surgeons can also specialize in certain kinds of surgeries. For example, orthopedic surgery involves the musculoskeletal system, neurological surgery involves the brain and nervous system, cardiovascular surgery has to do with the cardiovascular system, and plastic or reconstructive surgery often involves fixing cosmetic or functional issues.
How to Become a Surgeon
Medical professions have some of the longest processes for becoming doctors and surgeons. But these professions also come with the biggest payouts in the end. Literally!
1. Get a Bachelor’s Degree
The first thing you’ll need to do on your journey to become a surgeon is to get a bachelor’s degree. This involves a four year degree from an accredited post-secondary university.
You’ll want to use these 4 years to major and minor in subjects that will help you pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and help give you a knowledge base for medical school. Some good subjects to study include, science, biology, health science, chemistry, physics, and kinesiology.
Another thing you’ll need to do during these 4 years is fulfill pre-med course requirements and healthcare experiences. You’ll need to have both of these things for your application to medical school. Talk to your school and make sure you know what courses are required for you to take and look into doing internships, job shadowing, and volunteer experience at your local health facilities.
2. Pass the MCAT
In your senior year of college
Now it is time to take and pass the Medical College Admission Test, most commonly referred to as the MCAT. You’ll take this test in your senior year at college.
It takes some people a few tries to pass the MCAT. You can take the MCAT 3 times in a year, 4 times in 2 years, and 7 times all together. There are also plenty of helpful resources out there to help you practice for this exam.
3. Enroll in Medical School
Once you pass the MCAT you can enroll in medical school! In medical school you will complete a Medical Doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. As stated above, an MD lets you practice allopathic medicine while a DO lets you do osteopathic medicine.
In medical school you will learn all things related to medicinal practices. You’ll learn subjects like biochemistry, physiology, human anatomy, pharmacology, pathophysiology, microbiology, and preventative medicine.
In your last 2 years at medical school you’ll start doing clinical rotations with the supervision of experienced doctors. This will help ease you in to getting real first-hand, medical experience.
4. Complete a Surgical Residency
After you finish medical school it will be time to complete a surgical residency. This where you can start to specialize in a certain area of surgery like orthopedic, neurological, cardiovascular, thoracic, obstetrical, pediatric, or reconstructive surgery. You will do all this while still under the guidance of other experienced surgeons. A surgical residency usually lasts about 5 years.
5. Get Licensed
Now that you have finished your surgical residency you can get licensed and board certified. The requirements for a surgical license will depend on the requirements and process of the state where you want to practice. But usually, to get your surgical license you will need the following:
- Graduate medical school
- Complete your residency
- Pass an examination
There are 2 types of examinations you will need to pass to get your surgical license, depending on whether you got an MD or a DO.
- MD exam: U.S. Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE)
- DO exam: Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam (COMLEX)
It’s also recommended you get board certified with the American Board of Surgery (ABS).
How Long Does It Take to Become a Surgeon?
After getting a bachelor’s degree, going through medical school, and completing your residency, it can take you up to 13 years to become a surgeon.
Different Types of Surgeons
How Much Do Orthopedic Surgeons Make?
An orthopedic surgeon performs surgeries on bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. As an orthopedic surgeon, you can be a general surgeon or you can specialize in a specific niche like hips and knees. According to Salary.com orthopedic surgeons can expect to make a median yearly salary of $484,210.
How Much Do Plastic Surgeons Make?
Plastic surgeons work with everything involved in the restoration, reconstruction, or alteration of the body. Often this field of surgery is separated into two categories, namely, reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgeons might do anything from performing nose jobs to helping burn victims. They make an average $220,473 a year.
How Much Do Pediatric Surgeons Make?
Pediatric surgeons specialize in surgery for fetuses, infants, children, adolescents, and even young adults. These young ages come with their own challenges and expertise. A pediatric surgeon can make around $446,154 a year.
How Much Do Trauma Surgeons Make?
Trauma surgeons use operations and non-operative methods to handle traumatic injuries. This includes emergency surgeries on patients in critical conditions, like those who’ve just been in a severe car crash. Trauma surgeons make an estimate median salary of $402,462 a year.
How Much Do Oral Surgeons Make?
Oral surgeons can also be called maxillofacial surgeons. They specialize in surgeries that involve the face, mouth, and jaw. They are often closely related to dentistry as well. They make about $284,089 a year.
How Much Do Surgeons Make?
If you’re going to go through 13 years of schooling with several difficult exams and residencies, then it needs to be worth it. You’re going to go through long periods of intense schooling and residency work.
According to the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) over 86% of graduates have tuition debt. In 2016 it was estimated that the average medical school student had $190,000 in student debt. But this doesn’t mean you should dismiss the idea of becoming a surgeon. Student debt can be a worthwhile investment into your future. All you have to do is determine the return on investment (ROI).
Financial constraints can be a real hassle, but Check City can help you with the day-to-day financial struggles with an easy to get Check City Payday Loan!
How Much Do Surgeons Make a Year?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics surgeons in the lowest 10% percentile can make an annual wage of $94,960, while surgeons in the highest 90% percentile make around $208,000 a year. This means that in general, surgeons make a mean annual wage of $255,110 a year.
According to PayScale surgeons in the lower 10% make $87,000, the average surgeon makes $221,093, and the highest 90% make $511,000 a year.
How Much Do Surgeons Make in a Month?
Considering the numbers given to us by the BLS, surgeons can expect to make a mean monthly income of $21,259. But according to the average annual salaries from PayScale, surgeons make an average $18,424 a month. This is still far greater than the average monthly income of most full-time Americans.
According to the highest estimated numbers surgeons can even make up to $42,583 a month.
How Much Do Surgeons Make in a Week?
One of the most practical ways to see and understand a potential salary is to break it down into weekly pay. According to the average annual salaries, surgeons can make $5,314 or $4,606 a week and $10,645 a week at most.
The BLS states that most surgeons make about $122.65 an hour and PayScale isn’t far from this number with an average $103.50 an hour. So according to mean hourly wages, if they work 40 hours a week surgeons can expect to make roughly $4,906 a week.
Pay by Location
How much a surgeon gets paid can depend on many factors, like what state you live in, which city in that state you live in, or what kind of facility you work in.
For example, here’s how much a surgeon can expect to make depending on the medical facility that hires them:
|Offices of Physicians||$265,920|
|General Medical and Surgical Hospitals||$225,700|
|Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools||$175,410|
|Outpatient Care Centers||$277,670|
|Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals||$235,770|
From this table you can see how different types of facilities and fields of expertise can impact annual salaries. Different states can also offer higher or lower pay.
Top Paying States for Surgeons:
- South Dakota
- South Carolina
Pay by Experience Level
A surgeon’s pay can also depend on their experience level. This can include how many years they’ve been working or the kinds of skills they develop.
So a surgeon who is beginning their career with 1 to 4 years of experience makes an estimated $101,736 a year, 5 to 9 years makes $150,000, 10 to 19 years makes $275,000, and 20 or more years make $395,000.
For example, having emergency or trauma skills can boost your salary by 122%! A general surgeon makes an average of $221,093 a year while a surgeon with emergency and trauma expertise can make up to $491,318 a year. That’s over twice the salary!
If surgery isn’t for you there are still many potential jobs out there in the medical field. If you’re looking for a little less schooling you could become a nurse! Or if you want better hours and less intensity you could become a dentist.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Surgeons.”
written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter