Surgeons’ salaries can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, from type of employer, hospital setting, and geographical location, to specialization and years of professional experience.
Specialty is one of the most important factors in determining a surgeon’s annual salary. General surgeons have an average yearly salary of $250,765, orthopedic surgeons are paid around $333,668 a year, and the median yearly salary for plastic surgeons is $248,708 according to Payscale’s salary data.
Cardiac surgeons have an average annual income of $308,064, and cardiothoracic surgeons earn around $365,145 a year. Oral surgeons report an annual pay of $246,914 on average, trauma surgeons earn around $303,961 a year, and neurological surgeons report an average annual pay of $206,624.
Medscape’s Surgeon Compensation Report for 2012 reveals that 32% of the surgeons included in the annual survey saw their salaries increase, while 40% reported that their annual pay remained the same from the previous year, and 29% of the professionals surveyed reported a decline in their annual salary.
Surgeons earn an average annual salary of $341,669 according to Salary.com, $230,540 a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and $250,765 according to Payscale.
The best paid surgeons are those working at specialty hospitals (except psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals), with an average yearly salary of $238,120, followed by professionals employed at offices of physicians, who earn around $237,770 a year. Surgeons working for the state government make $233,920 a year on average, and those employed at offices of other health practitioners report a median yearly pay of $222,650. Professionals working at outpatient care centers earn $221,480 a year on average, and those employed by general medical and surgical hospitals have an average annual income of $218,630. Surgeons employed by colleges, universities, and professional schools are offered a median annual salary of $127,130 according to the BLS.
Medscape’s 2012 Surgeon Compensation Report reveals that men earn $276,000 a year on average, while women are paid a median annual salary of $223,000. This translates into a 24% gap between male and female surgeons.
The average salary for surgeons also varies from one geographical location to the next according to Medscape’s report. The highest salaries are in the Great Lakes region (Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin), where surgeons earn $297,000 a year on average, followed by those in the West, where the median annual pay for this occupation is $295,000. Surgeons employed in the Southwest earn $285,000 a year on average, those in the South Central region earn around $265,000 a year, and professionals employed in the Southeast make $258,000 a year on average. Surgeon based in the Mid-Atlantic region have an average annual salary of $255,000 a year, and those working in the Northeast are paid $253,000 a year on average. The lowest salaries for the profession are in the North Central region, where surgeons earn around $234,000 a year, and in the Northwest, where the average annual pay for this occupation is $233,000 according to Medscape’s salary report.
The average starting salary for surgeons will usually depend on their field of specialty. For example, general surgeons with less than a year of experience typically earn between $45,302 and $304,108 a year, orthopedic surgeons in their first year are offered a salary between $72,719 and $410,512 annually, and plastic surgeons typically make between $76,819 and $510,283 a year. Trauma surgeons are generally offered a starting salary in the range from $30,000 to $188,685 a year according to Payscale’s salary data.
Salary by specialty
Surgeon salaries vary significantly depending on their area of specialty. For example, general surgeons typically earn between $99,182 and $353,761 a year, orthopedic surgeons make between $144,771 and $546,130 a year, and plastic surgeons are generally paid between $76,819 and $510,283 a year.
Cardiac surgeons report salaries in the range from $99,543 to $554,094 a year, and cardiothoracic surgeons are paid an annual wage in the range between $157,261 and $529,920 a year. Oral surgeons typically make between $100,498 and $475,000 a year, trauma surgeons have an average annual salary in the range from $100,000 to $422,588, and neurological surgeons are generally paid between $77,000 and $677,957 a year according to the salary data provided by Payscale.
Along with the basic salary, bonuses, and contributions from profit sharing, surgeons usually get good benefits packages. The most popular benefits and perks among surgeons are 401(k) plans, malpractice and liability insurance, life and disability insurance, paid vacations and holidays, 403(b) plans, paid sick leave, and reimbursement for education, training, certification, or tuition according to Payscale.
Surgeons earn an average hourly wage of $110.84 according to salary data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The hourly rate will vary dramatically depending on specialization, geographical location, employer type, and industry among other factors.
Surgeons employed in specialty hospitals (excluding psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals) have the highest hourly pay: they earn $114.48 per hour on average according to the BLS. Professionals working at physicians’ offices earn around $114.31 per hour, and those employed by the state government make $112.46 per hour on average. Surgeons working at offices of other health practitioners are offered an average hourly wage of $107.04, and those employed at outpatient care centers earn around $106.48 per hour.
Surgeons working at general medical and surgical hospitals earn $105.11 per hour on average, and those employed by universities, colleges, and professional schools earn a median hourly wage of $61.12 according to the BLS.
The hourly rate for surgeons also varies from state to state. Professionals employed in California make $100.91 per hour on average, those based in New York earn around $99.45 per hour, and surgeons working in Texas are paid an average hourly wage of $92.35. Surgeons working in Ohio make $113.60 per hour on average, and those based in Florida earn around $110.96 per hour. Professionals employed in Vermont report an average hourly pay of $102.08, and those based in Connecticut earn $113.17 per hour on average. Surgeons working in North Dakota are offered a median hourly wage of $117, and professionals based in Kentucky earn around $110.87 per hour according to the BLS.
Medscape’s 2012 Surgeon Compensation Report reveals that 19% of surgeons employed in the United States earn $100,000 a year or less, while 8% of them earn $500,000 a year or more. On the lower end of the scale, 7% of surgeons earn between $100,000 and $150,000 a year, and 8% are paid an annual salary in the range from $150,000 to $200,000.
16% of the surgeons included in Medscape’s survey report a salary in the range between $200,000 and $250,000 a year, and 14% have an annual income in the range from $250,000 to $300,000. A further 14% of surgeons earn between $300,000 and $350,000 a year, and 8% are paid between $350,000 and $400,000 a year.
On the higher end of the scale, 5% of the surgeons surveyed report an annual pay in the range from $400,000 to $450,000 a year, and 2% are paid between $450,000 and $500,000 annually. Medscape’s figures include the basic salary, yearly bonuses, and contributions from profit sharing.
Salary by state
Surgeons’ annual salaries vary significantly from state to state. Surgeons employed in California earn $209,880 a year on average, those based in Texas earn around $192,090 annually, and professionals working in New York make $206,850 a year on average. Surgeons working in Florida have an average annual salary of $230,790, and those based in Ohio earn $236,290 a year on average according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Surgeons employed in North Dakota earn $243,360 a year on average, and those working in Kentucky make $230,610 a year on average. Professionals based in Connecticut earn around $235,380 a year, and those working in Vermont have an average yearly salary of $212,330.
The top paying states for surgeons are Wyoming, West Virginia, Washington, Tennessee, and South Dakota according to the salary data provided by the BLS.
Other income factors
Surgeons’ salaries can vary significantly depending on these professionals’ work setting. Surgeons working for healthcare organizations have the highest salaries, $339,000 a year on average, followed by those working in single-specialty group practices, who earn around $332,000 a year.
Professionals working in multispecialty group practices have an average annual salary of $324,000, and those employed in solo practices earn around $250,000 annually. Surgeons employed at hospitals make $226,000 a year on average, and those working in an academic setting have an average annual wage of $177,000. Surgeons working at outpatient clinics have the lowest average salary, at $135,000 a year according to Medscape’s 2012 Surgeon Compensation Report.