Have you always had an interest in helping individuals become well and mending their injured body parts? If so, the job of a surgeon might be perfect for you. This career involves examining patients and ordering diagnostic medical tests, completing various types of surgeries on different parts of the body, following up with patients to ensure that the surgery went well, and more. Job security is anticipated to be very good in the years ahead. There will likely be many job opportunities for individuals pursuing positions as surgeons. Surgeons typically work full time, with sometimes irregular hours and the pay is excellent. If this field sounds like it may be of interest to you, here are all the details you need to know about. In this article, you can learn everything from an surgeon salary to the surgeon job description.
Overview of a Surgeon Salary
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for surgeons and physicians was $$355,865 per year in May 2012 or well over $90.00 an hour. The typical pay range for surgeons ranges from $300,945 to $422,350 annually. The highest earning surgeons earned an annual salary of approximately $480,882, whereas the lowest earning surgeons earned an annual salary of around $250,943. This is median annual salary is much higher than the average median for all occupations which was $34,750 per year as of May 2012. Factors that influence salary for surgeons include years and level of experience, how well-known and well-respected they are as surgeons, geographic location in which they work, etc.
Earning Factors of a Surgeon
The salaries of surgeons tend to vary somewhat based on how much experience they have, what the geographical location in which they are employed, what area they are specialized in/what types of surgeries they perform, and how well-know they are. Specialized surgeons tend to earn the highest salaries out of all surgeons employed in the United States. For example, neurosurgeons, cardiac surgeons, and orthopedic surgeons are typically the highest paid surgeons in the field of medicine. General surgeons tend to earn lower salaries. It is not uncommon for an orthopedic surgeon to earn $500,000 or more per year. Some of the highest paying geographical areas for surgeons include Portland, Maine, the San Francisco bay area of California as well as the Santa Ana region of California, and the Niagara Falls region of New York is also high on the list.
Surgeon Job Description
The job of a surgeon is ideal for people who are very intelligent, highly skilled with their hands, work well with people, and perform well under high stress. Typically, surgeons work a full-time schedule at 40 hours a week. However, their work schedules may include some evening hours, weekends, or holidays. If a patient requires emergency surgery, the surgeon may be expected to show up and perform the surgery within a certain time frame. Surgeons typically work with a team of physicians and nurses as they perform surgeries. For that reason, they must be able to work collaboratively with other medical professionals. The job of a surgeon carries a high level of stress and pressure. Surgeons spend a great deal of time on their feet as they perform surgeries that may take several hours to complete. They must also be in good physical shape as they may need to spend many hours bent over during operations or may need to move heavy patients.
A typical surgeon job description contains the following items:
- Obtain the patients’ medical histories and document pertinent information
- Examine patients prior to their surgery and make plans for the surgery
- Answer patients questions and address their concerns regarding surgery
- Order medical tests that will aid in performing the surgery and analyze the results
- Plan and work in collaboration with other surgeons, physicians, and nurses
- Perform surgeries and follow ups with patients after surgery
The job responsibilities of surgeons may differ slightly based on what type of surgeon they are and whether or not they have a specialty. However, the essential tasks of surgeons tend to be the same. All surgeons must be skilled with their hands as they use various equipment and complex tools to perform surgery.
A surgeon must have these important qualities:
- Outstanding communication skills
- Focused on details
- Strong leadership skills
- Empathetic and compassionate towards others
- Strong organization skills
- High level of physical stamina
- Performs well under high levels of pressure
- High level of patience
- Solid problem resolution skills
- Good dexterity
Most surgeons work in hospitals or outpatient medical facilities. Some surgeons may need to travel from one medical facility to another. The job of a surgeon tends to be highly stressful but also very rewarding.
Surgeon Job Outlook
The BLS projects that the surgeon job outlook is quite good. The employment rate is anticipated to grow by 18% between the years 2012 and 2022, which is faster than the average rate of growth for all other occupations. The demand for surgeons is linked to the aging baby boomer population as well as expanses in health care. As more people obtain health insurance, more individuals will also seek surgical procedures. The baby boomer population will require medical care as they continue to age. In anticipation of increased demands for surgeons and physicians, some medical schools are admitting larger numbers of incoming medical students.
Let’s look at the surgeon education requirements that will be needed in order to compete for these coveted positions.
Surgeon Education Requirements
An surgeon education typically consists of a bachelor’s degree followed by a medical degree. The bachelor’s degree takes an average of 4 years to complete, and the medical degree takes an additional 4 years to complete. After completing medical school, new doctors go on to complete internships and residencies. These learning experiences take an additional 3 to 8 years to complete. Bachelor’s degrees in premedicine or biology are typically desired for individuals who plan to go on to medical school. Students must earn outstanding grades and a high grade point average during their undergraduate studies if they want to go on to medical school. Admission into medical school is highly competitive, so students must be highly intelligent and well rounded. Once in medical school, the first two years typically consist of lab and classroom work. During the final 2 years of medical school, students begin to get experience with patients in medical settings. The final years of medical school require students to go through rotations in specialized areas of medicine. During this time, students are supervised by physicians who have a great deal of experience.
Every state requires surgeons to become licensed. However, licensing rules may vary somewhat from one state to the next. A national standardized test must be passed before surgeons can receive licensure. Additionally, they must have graduated from an accredited medical school before they are allowed to sit for the licensing examinations.
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