Orthopedic Surgeon Salary

Orthopedic Surgeon SalaryThere are many different kinds of surgeons, but what exactly do Orthopedic Surgeons do? They are responsible for being knowledgeable about the skeletal system including muscles, bones, ligaments, etc.  They perform surgeries and prescribe other rehabilitative treatments.  Want to know how much Orthopedic Surgeons make?  We will go over Orthopedic Surgeon Salary in this article.

Orthopedic Surgeon Salary

What is the salary of an Orthopedic Surgeon?  Currently, the annual average salary for Orthopedic Surgeons is $415,000 with monthly average salaries being around $35,000.  The top 10% of individuals in are earning around $600,000 while the starting wage can be as low as $200,000.  The top paying states are Wyoming, West Virginia, South Dakota, Oregon, and North Dakota.

Wages for surgeons in general are some of the highest of all occupations.  Salaries can vary based on the surgeon’s number of years in practice, the area they practice in, hours they work, and even their professional reputation.  Most surgeons work long hours and often overnight.  They may need to travel between different offices or hospitals for their patients.  While on call a surgeon can be expected to be called in to the hospital at any time or answer patient concerns over the phone.

Orthopedic Surgeon Job Description

As a surgeon they are educated and trained in diagnosis and preoperative, operative, and postoperative treatment of diseases and injuries to the musculoskeletal system.  They often work closely with other healthcare providers and act as consultants to other physicians.  Some are professors at medical schools or are researchers.  They can practice in a group practice or have their own.

Orthopedic Surgeons treat various conditions that affect bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, or nerves.  Some of the issues they treat include arthritis, bone tumors, cerebral palsy, club foot, knock knees, bow legs, bunions, hammertoes, dislocations, fractures, sprains, strains, muscle, ligament, and tendon damage, osteoporosis, spine disorders, etc.

They spend a lot of time performing surgeries, but they also prescribe other forms of treatment such as physical therapy.  With their wide array of knowledge they can choose to practice general orthopedic surgery or specialize in one of several different areas including arthroscopy, foot and ankle, hand, joint replacement, musculoskeletal oncology, pediatric, rehabilitation, reconstructive surgery, shoulder and elbows, spine, sports medicine, or trauma and fractures.

Because surgeons are required to speak with patients about their procedures and treatments they must be able to communicate complex concepts and information easily to patients and other staff.  Additionally they must be empathetic with their patients so that they can understand the patients’ point of view.  Lastly, they must be patient and level headed under pressure because there can be unforeseen and sudden changes that need to be dealt with in the operating room.

Work Environment

Orthopedic Surgeons often work in a sterile and well lit operating room and can stand for long periods of time.  Additionally they might also have an office where they can talk with patients about treatment options.  They may work in a group practice which is becoming increasingly popular or practice independently.

Typically surgeons will have to obtain operating privileges at the hospitals they wish to work in.  They often work full time and have irregular hours.  Surgeons often have to work long and odd hours including overnight.  They usually have to travel between their offices and the hospitals they have privileges in.  All surgeons typically have a period of time during the week when they are on call.  During this time they may be called in for emergency surgeries or answer patients’ questions at any time of the day.

How to become an Orthopedic Surgeon

The road to becoming an Orthopedic Surgeon is long and demanding.  First, individuals must obtain a bachelor’s degree which can cost $7,605-$30,000 a year.  Then they have to attend a four year medical school program which can cost $49,298- $66,984.  Lastly, individuals must complete 3-8 years of internship and residency.  This does not include the additional two years it can take to become a board certified surgeon.

There is no specified bachelor’s degree one is required to receive in order to attend medical school.  But all students must complete coursework in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and English.  Medical schools are highly competitive and applicants are often required to submit transcripts and scores from the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) as well as letters of recommendation.  Schools might also take into consideration an individual’s personality, leadership qualities, etc through an admissions committee interview.

Once medical school is complete individuals will have to complete an internship and five year residency where they can choose to specialize in orthopedics.  Additional training may be required if you choose an orthopedic specialization.  Every state will have its own set of specifics for becoming licensed, but all surgeons will have to become an M.D. by taking the US Medical Licensing Examination which is a national standard.  After two years of practicing orthopedic surgery they can become board certified with the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (ABOS) and/or the American Osteopathic Board of Orthopedic Surgery (AOBOS).  Recertification is required every 7-10 years.

Career Outlook

By 2022 jobs for surgeons is expected to grow 18% which is much faster than for all occupations.  Job growth is going to continue because of the expansion of healthcare related industries.  An aging population is also expected to drive a need for surgeons.  Additionally, as more of the baby boomer population approaches retirement age there will be more open spots for surgeons. Job outlook for surgeons is most favorable in underserved, low-income, and rural communities.

Although demand for surgeons is expected to grow there are factors that will reduce the growth.  While technology allows surgeons to care for more patients in a timely manner it also has the real possibility of reducing the number of surgeons required to complete the same tasks.  Lastly, as higher education becomes increasingly expensive more and more individuals may not choose to enter the healthcare profession in order to avoid the massive amounts of debt that can be associated with the advanced education.  This also will slow the growth of surgical positions in the country.

Related Careers

Physician Assistants (PAs) practice medicine under the supervision of physicians and surgeons.  They may examine patients, diagnose injuries, and provide treatment.  Most work full time and need to be licensed.  Job outlook is very good for PAs and the rate of growth is expected to be at 38% by 2022.  The average annual salary is $90,930.

Chiropractors treat patients with neuromusculoskeletal problems which include nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.  They can perform spinal adjustments, manipulation, and other techniques to address patients’ needs typically related to back and neck pain.  Most work solo or in a group practice.  They must be licensed and obtain a D.C. to practice.  Average annual salary is $66,160.

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