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What Is the Average Surgeon Salary in 2024?

In today’s healthcare environment, many factors determine whether a physician job is a good fit. While your salary isn’t everything, how much money you will make as a surgeon is likely a big part of whether you ultimately will take a job. Having access to salary data allows transparency about what the average surgeon makes, and this information will give you leverage during contract negotiations for a new job. 


On our physician communities, we’ve seen many physicians struggling to know what their worth in the marketplace is, and have therefore tried to provide both concrete data points (so you can compares apples to apples) as well as compile aggregate physician salary data on what doctors make, and making it available to our members for free, as opposed to having to pay for expensive databases.


Reported averages on physician salaries depend on several factors. Given the wide range of compensation across specialties, specialty is one of the largest factors in answering the question of how much doctors make. We’ve started this series on compensation data by specialty to assess aggregate data from our physician salary and compensation database provided by physicians across the country.


Other factors such as hours worked, location, and practice environment all play a large role as well, so we look at differences in some of these categories within the specialty as well. 


Unless otherwise noted, the salary data on what surgeons make included in our analysis below was collected from mid-2023 through mid-2024. Please note that the current data here includes surgeons across surgical subspecialties and practicing in different locations, practice models, and hours. To ensure you're comparing apples to apples data points when assessing your compensation package, please look at the individual physician salary data points on our databases.


Disclaimers/Disclosures: This information is derived from our physician salary and compensation databases, but is subject to self-reporting errors and availability of relevant data points from our online communities. This information is provided for educational purposes only, and is aimed at advocating for individual physicians. It is not intended to be used for collective bargaining; please see additional disclosures and disclaimers on the physician salary data pages. Please also do your own research before making any decisions based on the information provided. We do not provide individualized advice and are not formal financial, legal, or otherwise licensed professionals. We highly recommend having your physician employment agreement reviewed by a physician contract review attorney to ensure you have the most up to date and relevant information for your specific situation.


How much do surgeons make a year in 2024?


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How Much Does a Surgeon Make in 2024?



Coming up with one single average salary for surgeons is difficult because of the vast number of subspecialty options available in this medical field. To determine how much a surgeon makes, we’ll start by looking at all datapoints across general surgery and surgical specialties, then strictly at general surgery, and then surgeon subspecialties. We’ll also look into other key factors to help you gauge a more relevant average based on your career and current position. 


The average annual salary for surgeons who contributed to our salary and compensation data for 2024 was $586,000. This excludes residents or fellows, focusing on attending physicians.


Please note that this article includes data from general surgeons, but also includes surgeons practicing bariatric surgery, breast surgery, burn surgery, cardiovascular surgery, colon and rectal surgery, endocrine surgery, neurosurgery, OMFS, oncologic surgery, ophthalmology, orthopedic surgery, otolaryngology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, transplant surgery, urology, and vascular surgery. We have a separate article for salary data for obstetrics and gynecology physicians.


Therefore, realize that all averages in this article may be skewed by higher or lower paying subspecialties. We plan on doing dedicated articles on each specialty, but if you want to make decisions based on this data, you should look at the individual datapoints on our physician salary data databases to compare apples to apples.



Average Full-Time Surgeon Salary for 2024


Some surgeons reported working part-time, which can skew the average salary, so we wanted to look at average pay for full-time versus part-time physicians separately.


For a full-time equivalent, we assumed an average number of hours worked a week of 36 hours or more.


The average salary in 2024 for a full-time surgeon was $599,000.


This includes data for all surgical fields who did an intern year in surgery, so certain surgical fields that have particularly high salaries or low salaries will skew this data. See below for how much a general surgeon makes, as well as data by specialty.


To give you an idea on the range of salaries, a few extra stats:

  • The highest reported salaries were in the $2,000,000 a year range for orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons

  • The lowest reported salaries were in the $250,000-$300,000 a year range for general surgeons and ENTs

  • The median salary was $520,000.



Average Part-Time Surgeon Salary for 2024


To assess a part-time average, we looked at attending physicians who reported working 16-35 hours a week.


The average part-time surgeon salary in 2024 was $517,000.


Please note that this includes surgeons who work in locums positions as well as surgeons who are part time in highly compensated specialties, which will skew the data. It's important to look at the individual data points in our physician salary and negotiation databases to make sure that you are comparing apples to apples.



How Much Does a General Surgeon Make?


Surgery is a highly specialized field of medicine, so we also want to look specifically at general surgery versus surgeons in subspecialties.


The average full-time general surgeon salary for 2024 was $476,000.



Surgeon Pay by Specialization



Next, we look at specialization. There are a ton of different specializations for surgery, and we hope to cover and expand upon them in dedicated articles as the 2024 database grows.


Contribute your physician salary and compensation data today (it’s completely anonymous) if you haven’t already for 2024 if you would like to see your specialty featured. We will continue to revise and update our salary and compensation by specialty series as we get enough relevant data to pull aggregate information.


For now, we’re going to look at popular specializations we have enough aggregate data for:

  • Breast surgeons: $402,000

  • Neurological surgeons: $1,075,000

  • Orthopedic surgeons: $729,000

  • Otolaryngology surgeons (ENTs): $595,000

  • Plastics and reconstructive surgeons: $717,000

  • Trauma surgeons: $521,000

  • Vascular surgeons: $624,000

  • Urologists: $569,000


Surgery pay by specialization

While the average salary for surgeons who specialize was $627,000, salaries range significantly based on specialization.


Doctors in our highest paid specialty featured (neurosurgeons) make over 2x as much as our lowest paid specialty (breast surgeons). Also note that even within a surgical subspecialty, the range varies greatly based on practice environment, illustrating the importance of looking at the individual data points to make sure you are comparing relevant data when looking for salary and compensation data for your physician contract employment negotiations.


We also noted that breast surgeons, on average, made less in 2024 than general surgeons, with the data provided in our database. This may be due to other factors below, such as geographic location and type of employment. For example, all of our breast surgeons who have reported data are W2 employees, while around 12% of our general surgeons reported being 1099 contractors or partners/owners, who typically report higher salaries.



Surgeon Salary by Gender



We looked at reported salaries for full-time surgeons and compared what our female physicians averaged compared to their male counterparts, excluding all other factors (such as specialization, location, etc.).


Female surgeons reported an average salary of $512,000. Male surgeons reported an average salary of $675,000.


When looking strictly at the average salaries overall, our male doctors averaged 31% higher than our female doctors. We noted when reviewing data across all our surgeon data that 57% of our female physicians worked in lower paying specialties like breast surgery, trauma surgery, ENT, and general surgery, while only 44% of our male physicians worked in the same specialties, so subspecialty can play a role with our current dataset size.


As we get more data, we will try to assess with more confidence how much of this is factors such as differences in work hours, specialty choices, chosen work environments, and partnership positions versus non partnership positions, but we are fairly confident that at least a part of this is consistent with a uniform trend towards a gender pay gap in every specialty we’ve assessed to date.


We looked at the differences across a few specialties as well and suggest possible additional reasons for the gap.


Female versus male pay by surgeon specialty

ENTs. Our female otolaryngologists reported an average salary of $538,000 versus an average of $725,000 for males. A higher majority of our male ENTs reported working in group private practices as partners/owners (see these sections below) while a higher majority of our female ENTs reported working for academic hospitals, which can help account for the 35% difference. 


General surgeons. Our female general surgeons reported an average salary of $448,000 while their male counterparts averaged $501,000 in 2024. Male general surgeons averaged 12% more.


Urologists. Female urologists reported $491,000 as their salary, while male urologists at $616,000 reported around 25% higher earnings. While our data for female urologists came from W2 employees only, our male urologists were 43% owners/partners in group private practice.



How Much Surgeons Make by Practice Environment



Looking at full-time attending surgeons, we broke the data down by where our members reported working to assess the average pay differences by practice environment. We did this for general surgery and for surgeon subspecialists.


General surgery:

  • Group private practice - $520,000

  • Hospital employee - $465,000


Though we don’t have enough data to assess general surgery for all the different practice environments, from the data we have, we see that general surgeons in group private practices make more than surgeons working as hospital employees by about 12%. We would love to break this down further by type of group private practice (private equity backed versus non private equity and academic versus non-academic hospital) in the future, so please contribute to our doctor salary and compensation data today if you haven’t already for 2024.


Surgeon pay by practice environment

Surgery subspecialties:

  • Corporate groups - $592,000

  • Group private practices - $855,000

  • Academic hospital employee - $510,000

  • Non-academic hospital employee - $609,000


Following the same trend as with general surgery, we see that our subspecialty surgeons in group private practices make the highest average salaries. About 62% of our group private practice members reported being owners/partners, which is a much higher average than for corporate groups (12%) and hospital employees (0%), which can also influence salaries.


Our non-academic hospital employee surgeons made an average 20% more than their academic counterparts, outside of other factors and compensation components. Academic hospital positions can, however, qualify for Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), which can be a significant benefit in the overall compensation package, which is one of the reasons we say to consider not just the salary but the entire proposed offer.



Surgeon Salary by Type of Employment



When submitting data, our physician members indicated their type of employment. Looking at full-time attendings in general surgery and surgery subspecialties:


  • 1099 (single entity regular job, 1099 arrangement) - not enough data to assess

  • W2 employee - $542,000 a year

  • Locums/per diem - not enough data*

  • Partner/owner - $871,000 a year


All other factors aside, partners and owners averaged 60% higher than W2 employees for 2024. As we noted in the surgeon salary by specialization section above, different specialties had higher averages of reported data for W2 employees versus partners/owners. As salary can range significantly based on subspecialty, we reiterate the importance of looking at the full physician salary and compensation data to ensure you’re comparing relevant data to your specific situation.


While we hope to break down the differences by each subspecialty as our database grows, we can use a few specialties as examples to show the difference within a specialty.


Otolaryngology. W2 employee ENTs reported an average salary of $531,000. Partners/owners reported $813,000, with some making over $1,000,000 a year.


Urology. W2 employee urologists reported an average salary of $524,000, while partners/owners reported a 32% higher average salary of $692,000


Surgeon salary by type of employment for different subspecialties

Regardless of specialization, becoming a partner or owner in a practice can lead to a higher earnings potential, if you don’t mind the additional business and administrative tasks required.


Related PSG resources to explore:


Additionally, being a partner in a surgical practice may result in additional income streams such as if you are offered an opportunity to become a partner in an ambulatory surgery center (ASC).



* We have a separate locums pay and compensation data set, and have looked at the statistics on locum tenens compensation for doctors separately, where there is much more data about this.



Surgeon Salary by Location



We looked at salary differences among states for full-time surgeons. States with less than 10 data points were omitted from our analysis. If you don’t see your state listed and want to see where it stacks up, contribute your physician salary and compensation data today.


Surgeon salaries by state

  • Texas - $658,000 a year

  • California - $575,000 a year

  • New York - $559,000 a year

  • Pennsylvania - $541,000 a year

  • Florida - $534,000 a year


The highest paid state (Texas) pays 23% more than the salary of the lowest paid state (Florida). While we don’t have a large enough data set to break this down by subspecialty to compare more relevant data, we have seen similar (and larger) salary differences by location within other specialties. This highlights the importance of geographic arbitrage for doctors. While city and local metropolitan areas can factor heavily into the cost of living, and how much a physician actually brings home depends on state and local taxes, assessing different salary options across the country and comparing them to the cost of living can give physicians the potential to geoarbitrage if they are willing to move. Just make sure you know what is included in cost of living comparisons (taxes are often excluded and can be significant).



How Much Surgeons Make by Hours Worked



Medicine can often be an “eat what you kill” industry, so we wanted to look at how much surgeons made in 2024 by reported hours worked.


How much surgeons make by average hours worked a week

  • 36-40 hours a week average - $585,000 a year

  • 41-45 hours a week average - $600,000 a year

  • 46-50 hours a week average - $564,000 a year

  • 51-60 hours a week average - $625,000 a year

  • 61-70 hours a week average - $586,000 a year


When looking at surgery overall, how much you make by hours worked does not follow a normal trend we see for other specialties, suggesting that other factors such as subspecialty and type of employment factor more into a surgeon’s pay.


For instance, few orthopedic surgeons reported working on average more than 50 hours a week, and yet they have some of the highest average salaries among surgeon specialties. Similarly, some of our general surgeons reported the highest number of hours worked in excess of 70+ hours a week on average, yet made less than their orthopedic counterparts.


We hope to continue to collect data for our surgery subspecialties to reevaluate these findings and provide updates.


As an aside, we noted that many surgeons, such as ENTs and urologists, reported spending a lot of time at home charting. You may have heard us talking about AI scribes on the physician communities. They are becoming more and more widespread, and can dramatically decrease the amount of time you spend charting. 



Changes in Surgeon Salary Over Time



As noted above, the data analyzed included contributions from mid 2023 to mid 2024, reflecting data from our most recent salary and compensation database.


We also dug into our previous salary database we started in 2018 to get an idea of the trends in how much surgeons make over time. To compare relative data, we continued to look only at surgeons out of residency/fellowship who worked on average 36+ hours a week. For 2023, we combined the data from the old data and the new database, cutting off entries at the transition point to help omit any overlapping or duplicate information.


Changes in surgeon pay over time

  • 2018-2019: $510,000

  • 2020-2021: $488,000

  • 2022-2023: $571,000


While reported salaries dropped in 2020-2021, many types of surgeries that were considered elective were shut down in this time frame during the COVID-19 pandemic, which can account for the dip we see for surgeons. We do see an increase in 2022-2023 numbers versus 2018-2019 numbers, as well as an increase with the average for 2023-2024 so far. We hope with continued salary transparency, this upward trend will continue.



Additional Insights into Surgeon Compensation Packages



In addition to salary information, physicians contributing to our databases include other compensation data as well. We plan to dive further into complete compensation packages later, but for now, we have included some key insights surgeons might find interesting.


Surgeon compensation package stats


Sign-On and Relocation Bonuses Surgeons Receive


45% of our surgeons reported receiving a sign-on bonus, with the average amount of $40,000. Sign-on bonuses varied across all specialties, with the lowest being around $5,000 and the highest at $300,000.


Around 30% reported receiving a relocation bonus. The average amount was around $13,000.



Average Vacation Days Surgeons Receive


68% of surgeons reported some number of vacation days received. The average number of vacation days annually was 26 days, with a median of 25 days. Some doctors commented that their vacation is an overall pool of paid time off, including their sick days and CME, while others had separate buckets.



CME Stipends for Surgeons


62% of our surgeons doctors reported receiving some sort of CME stipend, with the average annual stipend being around $4,500.



Average Student Loan Debt for Surgeons


While student loans are not a part of compensation, student loan debt forgiveness can be a benefit with many positions. Of our physicians who reported their student loan debt at graduation, the average debt was $240,000. The higher your federal loan debt burden, the more beneficial repayment programs and loan forgiveness programs can be.


Learn more about doctor student loans. If you’ve been considering refinancing to help with the debt burden, you can also explore our student loan refinancing options.



Extra Insights from Surgeons



As part of our salary and compensation data contributions, members of our physician online community can provide additional comments. A few that might be of use to other surgeons:


Career and contract insights for surgeons

While we almost always recommend getting your employment contract reviewed by a physician contract attorney, that’s especially true if an institution tells you during the negotiation process that your salary will be based specifically on tables or data you don’t have easy access to.




Increasing Your Surgeon Salary



If the information above has you questioning your current salary, there are a few different ways to increase your income as a surgeon. But a reminder first: look at the overall picture, taking into consideration all the factors included above and others, such as other compensation in the overall employment package such as amount of PTO, call responsibilities, 401(k) match, etc. 


Salary is a key component to physician compensation, but it isn’t the only part of a well negotiated physician employment contract.


If you like where you work but don’t love the pay, consider setting aside a time to talk with management. If you are a valued part of their team, they may be willing to work with you to renegotiate your contract versus risking you leaving. Their answer may be no, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Be practical in what you’re expecting and respectful in your request. Diving deeper into the salary and compensation data for physicians for comparable situations can help you get a target idea of what to try to renegotiate for.


Looking for additional career opportunities can also help. Sometimes, an employer may either not be able to or just not willing to work with you to get you to where you should be. That doesn’t mean every job will come with the same constraints. Interviewing for a few other positions can give you a feel of what the market looks like from the employer’s perspective by what employers are willing to offer. Explore open opportunities on our Physician Side Gigs job board, and explore all our physician career resources and education to help you navigate the job search process.


While we think the data above and in our database can be a great tool during the negotiation process, we almost always also recommend hiring a local contract review attorney for physicians to review your contract. They will have invaluable experience when it comes to negotiating physician contracts, including understanding what red flags to watch out for.


If you’re looking to increase your income in surgery but are already at or above your market’s rate, you have options in this situation as well. Opportunities to consider include:


Explore side gigs for surgeons or check out all our side gigs for physicians for more information on these and other ways to increase your income.



Additional Salary and Career Resources for Surgeons



Explore our related articles and resources on doctor compensation and salaries: 


If you haven’t recently, please take a few minutes to contribute! The data provided is used only for the purpose of our database to help physicians like yourself negotiate better compensation by helping provide salary transparency with relevant data. The data is completely anonymous and is only available to members of our Physician Side Gigs Facebook group. Contribution links can be found on our compensation data for physicians page.


Looking for a new career opportunity? Explore the Physician Side Gigs job board for current opportunities.


If you need guidance on negotiating your next contract for the best possible deal, check out:

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