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Starting Salary for an Oral Surgeon

by E.M. Rawes

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon is the fourth highest paying career in the United States, according to Forbes. You visit these oral surgery clinicians when you need a wisdom tooth extracted, when your jaw is misaligned or to be fitted for a pair of veneers. Oral surgeons also treat more serious complications, such as oral tumors. If you are interested in becoming an oral surgeon, it is wise to know what to expect in terms of salary.

Starting Salary

As of 2011, the average entry level salary for an oral surgeon was $84,420, according to Career Outlook in the U.S. As you gain more experience in this profession, your salary rises. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of 2012, the average annual salary for all oral surgeons was $216,440.

Salary by Location

As an oral surgeon, your salary varies based on your geographic location. As of 2012, the average annual salary for an oral surgeon in New York state was $249,810 and in Massachusetts, annual salaries averaged $230,370. On the contrary, in California, annual salaries averaged notably less, at $179,920. Even your intrastate location may cause a salary variation. In the Buffalo, New York, area, salaries averaged $233,300 whereas in the Syracuse, New York, area, average annual salaries were about 5 percent lower at $221,530, the BLS reports.

Other Contributing Factors

In addition to experience and geographic location, the industry you work in is another factor that impacts your salary as an oral surgeon. According to the BLS, the highest paying industries for this occupation are physician's offices and dentist's offices, where annual salaries averaged $230,350 and $226,280 respectively, as of 2012. Salaries were markedly lower for oral surgeons who worked in outpatient care centers, where annual salaries averaged $189,720; and in hospitals, where annual salaries averaged $122,450. Oral surgeons at colleges, universities and professional schools earned pay averaging $62,900 annually -- less than one-third the pay of oral surgeons working in a doctor's office, the BLS reports. Another factor that may impact oral surgeon salaries is competition. If there are a low number of competing oral surgeons in your area, you may receive more patients and higher pay.

Career Outlook

As of 2010, there were about 8,000 oral and maxillofacial surgeons employed in the United States. From 2010 to 2020, the BLS expects employment within this occupation to rise by 4,100 to 12,100. This is a 50 percent increase, which is much faster than the average when compared to other occupations nationwide, the BLS reports.

About the Author

E.M. Rawes is a professional writer specializing in business, finance, mathematical and social sciences topics. She completed her studies at the University of Maryland, where she earned her Bachelor of Science. During her time working in workforce management and as a financial analyst, she reinforced her business and financial know-how.

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