As a surgeon, you can specialize in areas like neurosurgery or cardiosurgery, or work as a general surgeon, who performs an array of procedures on the whole body. Though it usually takes around 10 years of schooling and residency to get into a surgical profession and the work is often intense, surgeons do have a number of rewards that come with their jobs.
Much of your initial income may go toward paying off financial aid from years of schooling, but surgeons are among the highest-paid medical professionals. The average pay for all surgeons is $231,550, as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Higher earning potential is possible in some larger metro areas and hospitals and in specialized areas, such as neurosurgery, where the procedures are riskier.
Medical professions have a relatively high rate of job stability. BLS projects a strong growth rate of 24 percent for all physicians and surgeons from 2010 to 2020. Job prospects are especially high if you are willing to work in rural or lower-income areas, according to the bureau, since such communities often have more difficulty attracting top surgeons. This can also increase your pay potential.
To Help People
In a June 2012 article, general and vascular surgeon David Gelber indicated that his career comes with an array of challenges and frustrations. His primary motivation to do his job is the knowledge that his skills and expertise affects the lives of individual patients and their families. As a surgeon, each time you dawn your scrubs and take hold of surgical tools, you can impact someone's life in a major way.
A passion for daily challenges and mental stimulation is another driver for surgeons. Each day brings unique experience and distinct cases. A top surgeon must constantly research and read to stay up on current trends and procedures. He must also adapt to new technologies and innovation. Each surgery requires careful patient analysis, intense planning and extreme focus. Additionally, surgeons collaborate with other medical professionals and nurses in providing care, which allows for even greater stimulation through conversation and debate.
2016 Salary Information for Physicians and Surgeons
Physicians and surgeons earned a median annual salary of $204,950 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, physicians and surgeons earned a 25th percentile salary of $131,980, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $261,170, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 713,800 people were employed in the U.S. as physicians and surgeons.