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Pediatric surgeons, unlike some other pediatric specialists, do not begin their medical careers as pediatricians, according to the American College of Surgeons. A pediatric surgeon is first trained as a surgeon and then completes a two-year specialty training in pediatric surgery. Pediatric surgeons first become employees -- and thus eligible for benefits -- during their residency programs.
That First Paycheck
Salaries for pediatric surgery residents vary according to the institution and year of residency. Unlike experienced pediatric surgeons, residents cannot typically negotiate salaries. At Kaiser Permanente during the 2012-2013 academic years, for example, residents started at $56,399 in the first year and by the fifth year, earned $74,775. Chief residents made more -- up to $77,175 annually. At the Marshfield Clinic Department of Education in Wisconsin, first-year residents earned $53,987 and fifth-year residents earned $61,093 in 2013.
Benefits, like salaries, vary from one organization to the next. Standard benefits at Kaiser Permanente include medical, dental and vision insurance, life insurance, malpractice insurance, paid time off, a retirement program, worker’s compensation and disability insurance. Marshfield Clinic offers health and dental insurance, but not vision insurance. Marshfield provides professional liability, disability and life insurance. Hospitals and other organizations that employ pediatric surgeons after graduation offer similar benefits. At University of Iowa Community Medical Services, physicians receive long-term disability, group life and professional liability insurance, dental and health insurance and a retirement plan.
In addition to what might be called routine benefits, organizations might also offer other perks. Kaiser Permanente pays the medical license fees for its residents and fellows. It also has an employee assistance program. In addition, Kaiser Permanente residents can participate in a Commuter Choice program, which allows them to set aside tax-free dollars to pay for transportation expenses. Marshfield Clinic provides interview days, when residents and fellows can travel to interview for permanent positions with other organizations. Marshfield also has exam days, when a resident can be away from their training for special national exams. Residents at Marshfield can check out cellular telephones when they are on call and are provided with lab coats and laundry service.
Salaries After Graduation
Once a pediatric surgeon graduates, her salary changes considerably. Reports of salaries vary according to the source. An August 2011 article in Becker’s Hospital Review reports the annual salary for pediatric surgeons was $475,645 in 2010. Profiles Database, a company that matches graduate physicians with prospective employers, reported in their 2011-2012 survey that the median starting salary for pediatric surgeons was $294,000. After six years, pediatric surgeons earned $401,000. Cejka Search, a nationwide physician recruiting company, reported a median salary of $462,801 in 2013.
Beth Greenwood is an RN and has been a writer since 2010. She specializes in medical and health topics, as well as career articles about health care professions. Greenwood holds an Associate of Science in nursing from Shasta College.
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