Surgeons use a variety of medical equipment and techniques to investigate, treat, or repair ailments like diseases, injuries, or physical abnormalities. There are many types of surgical specialties including general surgery, neurosurgery, dental surgery, gynecology, and orthopedic surgery to name a few.
In general, surgery involves the cutting or closing of a patient’s tissue. Surgeons often work in a hospital setting, but they may also perform minor surgical procedures in outpatient medical offices.
Surgeon Career Snapshot
Surgeons work in a sterilized environment with a team of other medical professionals including nurses, surgeon’s assistants, surgical technologists, and anesthetists. Surgeons often work long, irregular hours that involve extended periods of standing while performing surgical procedures, and they frequently work overnight hours.
Further details on a career as a surgeon are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):
is the annual average salary according to salary.com
increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.
have a Doctoral degree while 43% have Post-Doctoral training.
Surgeons must go through a lengthy education and training process that includes four years of undergraduate work, four years of medical school, and three to seven years of residency. As an undergraduate, you can major in any degree field, and you should consider volunteering at a hospital or medical clinic. During the first two years of medical school, you will spend most of the time in the classroom and laboratories, then during the last two years, you will work with patients in a hospital or medical clinic under the supervision of a surgeon.
Surgeon Job Duties
Surgeons use medical devices to perform operations to fix deformities, repair injuries, and conduct preventative elective surgeries. Before operating on a patient, a surgeon will consult, examine, and conduct tests to make sure the patient is suitable for the operation. Surgeons also consult and work with other healthcare professionals in a collaborative environment.
According to Salary.com, the 2016 median salary for a surgeon in the U.S. is $363,858. Surgeons in the lowest 10% of income earners make around $256,097, and the surgeons in the highest 10% make around $492,801. Incomes vary based on experience, surgical specialty, and region of the country where the surgeon has their practice.
Surgeon Job Outlook
The job outlook for surgeons is above average compared to other occupations, and job growth is expected to be around 14% through 2024. An aging baby boomer population and the need for surgeons in rural and low-income areas is fueling the demand for surgeons. Healthcare reform is giving more people access to medical services, which is also driving the need for more surgeons.
Surgeon Skills & Traits
|Surgeon Skill Set:||Required Abilities:||Tools Used by Surgeons:||Typical Work Activities:|
|• Active Listening|
• Complex Problem Solving
• Critical Thinking
• Making Decisions
• Reading Comprehension
|• Problem Sensitivity|
• Deductive Reasoning
• Inductive Reasoning
• Manual Dexterity
• Finger Dexterity
|• Electrosurgical or electrocautery equipment |
• Surgical clamps
• Surgical microscopes
• Surgical power drills
• Surgical scissors
|• Caring for Others|
• Decision Making
• Using Relevant Knowledge
• Analyzing Data
• Documenting Information