How Much Do Surgeons Make?

Surgeon SalarySurgeons treat illness and injuries by way of surgical procedure. A patient will usually have been referred to a surgeon by their physician, with some notes for the surgeon to review.

Surgeons operate on patients to treat almost any injury, such as; tumors, broken bones, diseases, and corrective or cosmetic procedures. Outside of this, surgeons give advice and explain medical procedures to patients and their families.

Surgery involves cutting into the body to repair, diagnose, or replace parts of the body. Surgeons are in charge of managing the procedures, and work with a team of medical professionals.

There are different areas of specialty that surgeons can specialize in, these include;

  • Upper GI
  • Plastic surgery
  • Oncology
  • Thoracic
  • Pediatric
  • Cardiac
  • Ophthalmology

Surgeon Salary

So, how much do surgeons make? The average surgeons’ salary is $255,110. This is for the general surgery occupation, and recorded  by looking the median wage.

Median wages are a good way of calculating an average salary. It’s calculated by looking at the midpoint of the recorded occupation salary. Meaning half the workers earned less than this amount, and half earned more than.

A surgeons starting salary is around $94,960. This figure represents the point in which the lowest 10% earn less than. While the top 10% of this surgical profession earn in excess of $208,000, showing how experience and expertise can boost salary considerably.

The salaries for surgeons vary for a number of reasons. These include the industry, size of company, years of experience, level of expertise, and qualifications. A surgeon can typically expect to see their salary steadily increase the longer they are practicing in the same location.

It’s normal for surgeons to not only work irregular hours, but to work marathon shifts covering hours in a single surgery. Emergencies can come in at any time of day or night. So surgeons on call can be called in to operate on a moment’s notice.

Top 5 Paying States

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Wyomin FlagWyoming 0.21
West Virginia FlagWest Virginia 0.11
South Dakota FlagSouth Dakota 0.67
Oregon FlagOregon 0.37
North Dakota FlagNorth Dakota


Top Paying Industries

IndustryPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
State Government0.02
Diagnostic and Medical Laboratories 0.03
Physicians Offices 1.28$119.18$247,900
Outpatient Care Centers 0.12$116.73$242,800
Research and Development 0.01$114.45$238,060

Surgeon Job Description

Surgeon Job DescriptionWhat do surgeons do? Surgeons care for patients who need an operation. From consulting with the patient and explaining the procedure, to carrying out the operation. They also offer some aftercare, making sure the patient is recovering well and offering any additional advice.

A surgeon needs to be able to put patients at ease. Good communication skills, interpersonal skills, and compassion are assets to a surgeon’s role. Along with being able to work under extreme pressure, and make life-depending decisions.

To embark on a surgeons career there are many years at medical school, qualifications, and further training. There are also regular developments in the medical world, meaning the learning curve never tapers off completely.

Some of the key duties for a surgeon include:

  • Meeting with the patient and their families to discuss the impending surgery.
  • Taking any necessary tests and x-rays.
  • Perform operations with a team of medical professionals.
  • Work with nurses and doctors after a surgery as part of patient aftercare.
  • Do hospital rounds visiting with patients.

Surgeons are also responsible for training other surgeons, and medical interns. There is a great deal of interaction with other medical professionals, making working relationships an important part of the role.

Surgeons spend most of their time in the operating room. Some surgeries can take many hours without a break. They also have an office where they carry out consultations and patients.

Emergency surgeries will happen. So surgeons spend a lot of time on call, and are required to respond quickly in the case of an emergency. Meaning they often have to sacrifice their home-life, and put work first. This can be stressful if there is not a great deal of support from their family.

Surgeons work with a wide range of tools during a surgical procedure. From scalpels and saws, to more sophisticated electronic tools used in keyhole surgeries. Keeping up with modern technology is an absolute must, with patients often demanding the highest level of medical care.

Surgeon Salary by State

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Alabama FlagAlabama0.096$111.29$231,480
Alaska FlagAlaska0.205
Arizona FlagArizona0.133$118.11$245,660
Arkansas FlagArkansas0.471$110.35$229,540
California FlagCalifornia0.324$111.12$231,120
Colorado flagColorado0.472$111.87$232,680
Connecticut FlagConnecticut0.496$99.35$206,650
Delaware flagDelaware0.439
Florida FlagFlorida0.293$119.88$249,350
Georgia FlagGeorgia0.282$122.73$255,280
Hawaii FlagHawaii
Idaho FlagIdaho0.193
Illinois FlagIllinois0.243$117.17$243,710
Indiana FlagIndiana0.264
Iowa FlagIowa0.283$119.86$249,310
Kansas FlagKansas0.206$119.46$248,470
Kentucky FlagKentucky0.45$121.14$251,970
Louisiana FlagLouisiana0.251$110.84$230,550
Maine FlagMaine0.458
Maryland FlagMaryland0.23$124.50$258,960
Massachusetts FlagMassachusetts0.563$123.78$257,460
Michigan FlagMichigan0.189$107.07$222,700
Minnesota FlagMinnesota0.474
Mississippi FlagMississippi0.386$125.32$260,660
Missouri FlagMissouri0.101
Montana FlagMontana0.273$104.05$216,410
Nebraska FlagNebraska0.241
Nevada FlagNevada0.282$124.93$259,850
New Hampshire FlagNew Hampshire0.371
New Jersey FlagNew Jersey0.423$124.68$259,340
New Mexico FlagNew Mexico0.069
New York FlagNew York0.271$105.22$218,860
North Carolina FlagNorth Carolina0.373
North Dakota FlagNorth Dakota0.25
Ohio FlagOhio0.312$113.61$236,320
Oklahoma FlagOklahoma0.367$100.92$209,910
Oregon FlagOregon0.372
Pennsylvania FlagPennsylvania0.369$113.22$235,500
Rhode Island FlagRhode Island0.444$124.98$259,950
South Carolina FlagSouth Carolina0.189$107.94$224,510
South Dakota FlagSouth Dakota0.673
Tennessee FlagTennessee0.256$117.58$244,570
Texas FlagTexas0.263$108.91$226,540
Utah FlagUtah0.157
Vermont FlagVermont0.536$92.05$191,470
Virginia FlagVirginia0.268$116.97$243,300
Washington FlagWashington0.287$115.52$240,280
West Virginia FlagWest Virginia0.112
Wisconsin FlagWisconsin0.279$117.03$243,420
Wyomin FlagWyoming0.207

Top paying metropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Portsmouth – NH / ME0.53
South Portland / Portland / Biddeford – ME 0.53
Pittsfield, MA 2.05
Peabody – MA NECTA Division
Methuen / Lawrence / Salem, MA / NH – NECTA Division 0.81

Top paying non-metropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Northwestern Texas – non-metropolitan area
North Central Tennessee – non-metropolitan area 0.42
Eastern South Dakota – non-metropolitan area
Eastern Oregon – -non-metropolitan area
Other Ohio –non-metropolitan area 0.14

Surgeon Job Outlook

The outlook for surgeons is very positive. There is an estimated 14% growth between 2016 and 2026. This is faster than the average for all occupations, and is in-line with previous trends.

There are numerous reasons for this growth. The expansion of healthcare industries is a large contributing factor, along with the increase in demand for medical care.

One of the factors that reduce the growth is the introduction of new technology. While new technology is good for the medical field, the machinery is doing some work previously done manually.

The greatest job prospects are for surgeons willing to practice in low-income rural areas. There is a greater demand for surgeons in these areas, presenting some interesting opportunities for surgeons.

Surgeon Career Video

Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith is a Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

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