According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the “average” surgeon brought home just over $19,200 a month, or $230,540 a year, in 2012. But this figure accounts for all surgeons, regardless of specialty. Specializing in certain branches of medicine can drastically improve a surgeon’s earnings, sometimes even doubling their salaries.
As of 2012, orthopedic surgeons tend to earn the highest salaries, at an average of $43,870 a month, or $526,400 a year, according to a survey published in Becker’s Hospital Review. However, subspecialties within orthopedic surgery can increase salaries even further. For example, orthopedic surgeons specializing in the spine averaged nearly $60,000 a month, or $714,000 a year. Those focused on the hip and joint earned $49,100 monthly, or $589,300 annually, while trauma orthopedic surgeons averaged $46,900 a month, or $562,700 a year. In sports medicine, orthopedic surgeons made $45,800 a month, or $550,000 a year.
Pediatric surgeons also fared better than many specialties, and the same can be said for the subspecialties within this branch of medicine. In general, pediatric surgeons earned roughly $42,100 a month, or $505,300 a year. Pediatric orthopedic surgeons averaged $40,800 monthly, or $489,500 annually, and pediatric neurological surgeons made $54,700 a month, or $656,300 a year. Of all pediatric surgeons, those specializing in cardiovascular surgery brought home the highest wages, at an average of nearly $57,000 a month, or $681,400 a year.
Of the remaining specialties and subspecialties, neurological surgeons often top the salary list, averaging nearly $702,000 a year, or $58,490 a month. Dermatologic surgeons specializing the Mohs surgery, which is used to control certain types of skin cancer, averaged $586,800 a year, or $48,900 a month. Thoracic surgeons brought home $475,700 a year, or $39,640 a month.
The BLS anticipates employment opportunities for surgeons will be good, with an average growth rate of 24 percent through 2020. By comparison, the national average for all U.S. occupations is expected to be 14 percent during this same time. Expect the greatest prospects for surgeons specializing in procedures that correct health issues in the aging populations, as baby boomers are living longer, more active lives.
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