Surgeon Career Information

Surgeons use manual manipulation, instruments and appliances to treat injuries and diseases or deformities. Surgeons often specialize in one area (ie. heart, lung, brain).

A Surgeon’s Job Responsibilities

Surgeons must be up to date on current surgical trends and conduct research to develop and test techniques.

They diagnose patients and analyze medical histories, prescribe pre-op and post-op treatments and consult with patients.

Surgeons direct and coordinate nurses, assistants and other medical staff involved in surgeries.

Dexterity, hand-eye coordination, attention to detail, and the ability to work under intense pressure while performing high-risk procedures are crucial for surgeons.

Pay Information

$181,850 average annual salary ( Here’s a little more surgeon salary information:

Surgeon Salary | More details for Surgeon Jobs | Salary

Becoming a Surgeon

Surgical residency programs after medical school are usually five years, with specialization taking longer and often resulting in higher pay. Some different options:

  • General surgeons complete 5 years of residency, perform appendectomies, hernia surgeries, cardiac surgery, etc. Average salary is $330,215.
  • Orthopedic surgeons require 5 years orthopedic surgery residency training and specialize in joints, bones, tendons, and muscles. Average salary is $475,781.
  • Plastic surgeons complete 2-3 years of plastic surgery residency training in addition to their 3 years of general surgery residency.
    Patients give full payment up front to plastic surgery, usually not covered by insurance. Average salary is $408,065.
  • Neurosurgeons complete 5 years of neurosurgery residency training and specialize in brain surgery and spinal cord surgery. These specialists are the highest paid, with an average salary of $623,936.

Surgeons can gain positions with help from contacts made during their internships and residencies and through their school career placement offices. Surgeons starting out can enter private or group practice with connections with one or more hospitals. Urban and suburban areas have higher earning potential and strong networking possibilities for surgeons, who can move up as the years go on by increasing their knowledge, going into a specialty and increasing number of patients. Surgeons can also rise to head the surgery department of their hospital and teach or do research.

Most surgeons work fifty to sixty hours per week including on-call time, with some days booked with surgeries and some days set aside for office hours full of appointments or pre-op consultations. Surgeons perform an average of 300-400 surgeries annually. They spend most of their time in operating room (OR) at a hospital or outpatient surgery center, and time in the office for pre- and post-op visits and consulting with patients.


Learn More: Physician Career