How To Become A Surgeon
A surgeon is a specialty within the medical field. As a surgeon, you will be performing operations on people. Many patients need surgery in order to treat illness or disease. You must love science, medicine, and helping others feel better. It takes many years of education and experience to become a surgeon, including medical school and a five year residency specializing in surgery.
Why Become A Surgeon
Once in medical school, a physician can choose many types of specialties to continue their career. Surgery is just one of many specialties in the world of medicine. Surgeons perform operations on patients in order to treat illnesses, diseases, and deformities in the body. A surgery may be required after an injury. Some patients may also choose surgery as a preventative measure. Still others may choose a cosmetic or elective surgery.
There are many types of specialties a surgeon can choose from, such as neurological surgery (operations of the brain, spine and neurological system), plastic and reconstructive surgery, cardiovascular surgery of the heart, and more. A surgeon examines patients, reviews diagnostic tests, counsels patients about the necessary details involved with the operation and possible treatment options, performs operations, and provides education for after the surgery.
A surgeon is an important medical professional. Many people rely on surgeons to help them when they are in pain and suffering from illness or injury. This is an excellent career choice for somebody who loves medicine and science, who is interested in surgery as a specialization within the medical field, enjoys operating on people and potentially saving people’s lives.
Surgeons should possess the following qualities and skills:
- Problem Solver
Surgeon Work Environment
Surgeons may work in a variety of venues, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. They may be part of a small team, or they may be part of a large staff, sharing patients with other doctors. Ten percent of surgeons were self-employed in 2014.
Surgery is performed in a clean, sterile environment. Surgery may last a long time, depending on the procedure. A surgeon may see numerous patients during the course of a day. This can be a stressful occupation due to the unpredictable nature of medicine and operations. A surgeon works full time, and hours can be long and unpredictable, including nights and weekends.
The median salary for a surgeon was $395,000 in May 2015, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Many things can affect salary in an occupation. The specialization that a physician chooses can affect how much their salary will be. The hospital or private practice they work at will also determine they salary. Location, such as rural area or large city, will also be a factor to consider in salary.
Average Surgeon Annual Salary
The average annual salary for surgeons is $251,890 a year. Salaries start at $88,360 a year and go up to $208,000 a year.
Average Surgeon Hourly Wage
The average hourly wage for a surgeon is $121.10. Hourly wages are between $42.48 and $100 an hour.
Stats were based out of 38,600 employed surgeons in the United States.
Highest Paying States For Surgeons
- 1. Maine $138.00 / hr $287,030 / yr
- 2. Delaware $137.69 / hr $286,400 / yr
- 3. Nebraska $136.43 / hr $283,760 / yr
- 4. New Mexico $135.56 / hr $281,960 / yr
- 5. Michigan $135.37 / hr $281,570 / yr
Top Paying Cities For Surgeons
- 1. Bloomington, IL $139.96 / hr$291,110 / yr
- 2. Kennewick, WA $139.08 / hr$289,300 / yr
- 3. Syracuse, NY $138.35 / hr$287,780 / yr
- 4. Wilmington, DE $138.34 / hr$287,740 / yr
- 5. Gary, IN $137.88 / hr$286,780 / yr
Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Surgeon Career Outlook
Employment of surgeons is expected to grow by 20 percent from 2014 to 2024. This is faster than most occupations within the United States.
Due to recent changes in health care regulations, more people have access to quality, affordable health care. More people are, as a result, seeking out qualified professionals for their medical needs. There will always be a need for medical professionals. As the human population grows in size, and there is an increased amount of elderly people, there will be an increased need of surgeons for treating illnesses and injuries of all kinds. Surgeons will be needed to heal the human population and potentially save people’s lives.
It takes many years of experience and education in order to become a surgeon. Read more below on how to get started in a career as a surgeon.
Step 1: Undergraduate education. If you want to become a doctor, you will need a four-year degree. There are many programs to choose from, including biology, chemistry, physical fitness, kinesiology, nutrition, pharmacy, or any other program that interests you. Recently, there has been a trend for medical schools to accept students with majors outside of the sciences, so don’t feel trapped into choosing only a traditional science for your major. It takes four years to complete a bachelor’s degree program.
Step 2: Medical school. Once you have completed undergraduate school, you will need to attend medical school. Research schools that are well known for their medical programs and apply. You can choose a program as a Medical Doctor (MD) or as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). You will take classes in anatomy, biology, chemistry, human behavior, genetics, immunology, and other important courses. You will also do rotations through hospitals and clinics, learning about the many specialties offered in the medical world. It is during this time you will first see surgery up close and personal. Medical school takes four years to complete.
Step 3: Residency. This is the on-the-job training portion of school. During your last year of medical school, you decide what you want to specialize in. If you discovered you love surgery, then apply to residency programs for surgery. You will need to write an essay, take exams, amongst other application details. Residency placements are announced during your final year. It takes about five years of residency in a hospital or clinic to become a surgeon.