Orthopedic surgeons diagnose and treat injuries and issues with the musculoskeletal system, including infections, bone and joint issues, degeneration, sports injuries and broken bones. While some orthopedic doctors treat minor injuries and issues, others perform surgeries like hip and knee replacements and salaries vary for these services. Orthopedic surgeons are among the most well-paid medical specialists, with salaries in the US on the upper end and averaging $364,000 per year compared to those in the UK at ₤97,000 ($127,795 USD). The annual orthopedic surgeon salary in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada are similar when converted to the US dollar at AU$208,000 ($164,602 USD), NZ$212,000 ($147,469 USD) and C$208,000 ($221,585 USD), respectively.
How Much Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Make?
The chart below outlines the average annual salaries in select countries and their US dollar equivalent.
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Incomes for orthopedic surgeons vary worldwide based on geographic region, professional experience, work setting, and specialization. Additional information is provided on salary, benefits and entering a career in this field.
Orthopedic Surgeons Salary Determinant Factors
1. How Much Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Make by Country?
Orthopedic Surgeon Salary in the US
Salaries for orthopedic surgeons in the US are quite hefty with entry-level professionals earning $120,619 or more per year. An orthopedic surgeon salary can reach more than $572,000 annually. Bonus earnings can significantly increase incomes, ranging from $1,500 to $102,000. Some employers also offer profit sharing between $2,500 and $126,000. While earnings are strong for those early in their careers, salaries further increase and peak for those with 20 years’ experience or more. Incomes are highest at $467,000 annually in the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Southwest regions.
Orthopedic Surgeon Salary in Canada
In Canada, orthopedic surgeons earn between C$77,000 and C$487,000 per year, according to Payscale.com. Nearly $20,000 in additional bonus income can further boost earnings. More than half of orthopedic surgeons in Canada work in hospitals and around 40% work in solo or group practices where earnings are highest.
Orthopedic Surgeon Salary in the UK
Salaries for orthopedic surgeons in the UK range from £52,000 for entry-level trainees to nearly £159,000 per year, according to PayScale. The National Health Service (NHS) of UK funds many orthopedic surgeon positions, while the private sector often uses the NHS pay scale as a guideline. A full-time schedule within the NHS is 37.5 hours. Orthopedic surgeons receive overtime pay for every hour they work beyond that. A high-cost area supplement of 5% to 20% is also commonly offered for positions in and nearby London and bonuses can sum up to £10,000 per year.
Orthopedic Surgeon Salary in Australia
In Australia, salaries for orthopedic surgeon range from AU$122,000 to more than AU$517,000 per year. There is potential for bonus pay of up to AU$10,000 and profit sharing opportunities can account for an additional AU$58,500 per year. Orthopedic doctors specializing in surgery earn the highest incomes and earnings peak for those with 20 years’ or more experience.
Orthopedic Surgeon Salary in New Zealand
The District Health Board (DHB) funds many physician positions in New Zealand where orthopedic surgeons in training earn between NZ$70,000 and NZ$175,000 per year. As surgeons, earnings range from NZ$151,000 and NZ$212,000 per year for most; however, it is not uncommon for those employed in the private sector to earn more than NZ$600,000 per year. There is a shortage of orthopedic surgeons in New Zealand due to an aging population with nearly one-third expected to retire in the next 10 years.
2. How Much Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Make According to Experience?
Despite high starting salaries and required education and training, experience also influences income for orthopedic surgeons. For example, in the US where earnings are highest, the difference in orthopedic surgeon salary for an entry level professional compared to one with experience is nearly $452,000, representing a 388% increase. Likewise, in Canada, the gap separating incomes for those beginning their careers and those with experience is about C$437,000, or 435%. While salaries in the UK are at the low end among the countries reviewed in this guide, there is still a difference of £68,127, or 229%, between entry level and senior level salaries.
A career as an orthopedic surgeon requires an undergraduate degree, often in a science-related field such as chemistry, anatomy or biology, followed by completion of a medical degree. Additional time in residency or internship, as well as specialized training is required, lasting about 13 years. Globally, physicians must successfully complete an exam and register with the appropriate state, province or federal governing agency for the country of practice.
3. How Much Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Make According to Work Environment?
Orthopedic surgeons work in hospitals, clinics, and solo or group practices. In the US, those employed by healthcare organizations earn the highest incomes at $510,000, followed by group practice at $470,000 to $489,000 per year. In New Zealand, earnings are much higher for those working in private practice and can reach $600,000 per year compared to the average annual salary of $335,000.
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Orthopedic surgeons typically work full-time, typically Monday through Friday during professional business hours. Those who work in a hospital setting may have to see patients during evening, weekend and holiday hours. In the UK, a full-time schedule under the NHS is met with 37.5 hours compared to 40 hours for those who work for the DHB in New Zealand. In Canada and the US, orthopedic surgeons often work from 40 to 55 hours per week. There are part-time opportunities as well as some flexibility in scheduling for some orthopedic surgeons. Many professionals express a high level of job satisfaction and work-life balance.
Bonuses and Benefits
As healthcare professionals, orthopedic surgeons worldwide typically receive medical, dental and vision insurance coverage. They also receive paid time off for holidays, sick time and vacation time. Some employers offer additional pay for overtime hours, bonuses and profit sharing. They may also offer reimbursement for travel and fees to complete required continuing medical education training. Some orthopedic doctors who work in hospital settings may receive allowances for meals and overnight stays.
Future demand for orthopedic surgeons is expected to remain strong due to an aging population worldwide. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 14% increase in jobs between 2014 and 2024. In New Zealand, there is a shortage of surgeons, as many current specialists will likely retire in the next 10 years. This growing demand will probably maintain strong salary ranges for those entering this career field.
Orthopedic surgeons are among the highest-paid medical specialties worldwide. In addition to enjoying strong salaries, orthopedic doctors also express a high level of job satisfaction and work-life balance. An aging global population is expected to support demand for trained professionals and maintain an orthopedic surgeon salary high.
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