In the United States, a plastic surgeon earns around $268,000 per year. The mean plastic surgeon salary in Canada is around C$159,000 (US$123,624). Plastic surgeons make between £29,590 (US$39,526) and £153,928 (US$205,618) in the United Kingdom, around AU$150,000 (US$114,973) in Australia, and between NZ$70,000 (US$49,125) and NZ$600,000 (US$421,038) in New Zealand.
How Much Does a Plastic Surgeon Make?
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Plastic Surgeon Salary Determinant Factors
The practice of plastic surgery serves patients seeking cosmetic enhancements and those needing to treat medical complications. Plastic surgeons who work primarily with the former type of clientele normally have private offices. Clinics, offices, and hospitals serve patients for whom plastic surgery helps improve body functions hampered by medical conditions. The work setting can heavily shape the salary of plastic surgeons.
The country of practice also plays a role. In certain locations, government agencies set the general pay of surgeons and other healthcare workers. As a general rule, more experience translates to higher pay.
1. How Much Does a Plastic Surgeon Make by Country?
Plastic Surgeon Salary in the US
According to Payscale, plastic surgeons in the United States averaged around $268,000 per year. Depending on the setting and experience, pay ranged from $96,359 to $550,452 per year.
Plastic Surgeon Salary in Canada
According to the Canadian Medical Association, plastic surgeons in Canada grossed on average C$362,618 per year in 2013-2014. However, PayScale reports the average at C$159,000 (US$123,624) per year and the range for all work settings and experience levels between C$95,695 (US$74,404) and C$411,098 (US$319,657).
Plastic Surgeon Salary in the UK
Plastic surgeons who work in the United Kingdom make between £29,590 and £153,928 per year as specialty doctors, which translates to a range of US$39,513 – US$205,549 per year depending on experience, position, and work setting.
Plastic Surgeon Salary in Australia
PayScale reports that the average plastic surgeon’s salary in Australia is AU$147,568 per year. Earnings range from AU$61,825 to AU$484,790 annually.
Plastic Surgeon Salary in New Zealand
According to the New Zealand Government, surgeons in this country earn between NZ$70,000 and NZ$600,000 per year, which translates to a range of US$49,135 – US$421,164 per year.
2. How Much Does a Plastic Surgeon Make According to Experience?
Experience can considerably impact earnings for plastic surgeons. Depending on the country, the surgeon is classified based on the level of training and seniority.
In the US, entry-level plastic surgeons start off with about $96,359 per year and reach the national average of $268,000 around their mid-career mark. Experienced and late-career plastic surgeons can earn up to $550,452 per year.
For example, plastic surgeons in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service start as trainees. In the first year, the basic salary starts below £30,000 and goes above the same amount in the second. As a specialist in training, plastic surgeons make from £36,100 at the start to £46,750 at the end of the training. Specialists make from £37,547 to £70,018. Those who become consultants, hold senior-level positions, or work in the private sector have pay ranging between £76,001 and over £150,000 annually.
In New Zealand, trainee surgeons make from NZD$75,000 to NZD$175,000. With advancement to the “experienced” status, surgeons earn from NZD$151,000 to NZD$600,000.
PayScale reports that entry-level plastic surgeons in Australia make 29 percent below the average pay. By contrast, salaries are 56 percent above-average for those in the late stages of their careers.
3. How Much Does a Plastic Surgeon Make According to Work Environment?
Practice setting can influence pay for plastic surgeons. For example, in the United States, a 2015 Medscape survey reports that plastic surgeons in healthcare organizations earned the highest pay.
The size of the practice also has an influence. Plastic surgeons in solo practice made $337,000 on average, while those in a multi-surgeon, multi-specialty practice earned $423,000. According to Medscape, U.S. plastic surgeons make on average $357,000 if self-employed and $352,000 if salaried.
New Zealand also illustrates the effect of the type of employer. For experienced surgeons working under a District Health Board in New Zealand, pay spans from NZD$151,000 to NZD$212,000. In the private sector, surgeons can make more than $212,000 and reach levels as high as $600,000.
Plastic surgeons typically work full-time, often in excess of 40 hours per week. For example, the Canadian Medical Association reports that plastic surgeons in Canada logged an average of almost 59 hours a week. In Australia, the average is approximately 49 hours per week.
Work setting typically determines the types of shifts. Plastic surgeons who work in offices or clinics normally hold weekday and daytime office hours. In particular, cosmetic plastic surgeons are likely to practice mainly in private offices or clinics. In hospitals, shifts may run nights, weekends and other irregular periods. The Australian Work Commission entitles doctors who work weekends or other than traditional daytime hours to additional pay. The extra compensation depends on the experience or position of the plastic surgeon.
Bonuses and Benefits
According to PayScale, plastic surgeons in the United States receive bonuses of up to $147,949, while in Canada the average bonus stands at C$2,750. Bonuses may be offered to plastic surgeons who choose to work among underserved populations or for overtime or irregular shifts.
In the United States and Canada, employers normally set the terms of benefits such as retirement and paid vacation. By law, plastic surgeons in Australia and New Zealand are entitled to paid annual leave, holiday pay and superannuation, or contributions by employers. Plastic surgeons working under the National Health Service in the United Kingdom are entitled to draw from their pensions at age 55.
Plastic surgeons meet the needs of patients who seek to remedy deformities and limitations on body functions. Medical conditions such as cancer and cleft palate and traumatic events create the need for these surgeons’ services. The use of airbags and other safety measures to ameliorate the consequences of vehicle crashes may reduce the need for plastic surgery to address injuries from trauma, reports The Wall Street Journal.
However, demand for plastic surgeons could be sustained by patients’ desires to enhance appearance. The Wall Street Journal states that, in 2014, plastic surgeons performed an estimated 15.6 million procedures. Breast augmentations accounted for 286,000 plastic surgeries, followed by 217,000 for nose shaping procedures.
According to the Australian Government, the surgeon job market should generate at or below 5,000 job openings by 2019. In New Zealand, job prospects for surgeons are considered “good” by the New Zealand Government.
Recommended read: If you are interested in surgery but are looking for a different niche, we also recommend reading our guide on the orthopedic surgeon salary, the oral surgeon salary guide, the cardiovascular surgeon salary and career prospects, and our guide to the neurosurgeon salary.
Salaries of plastic surgeons are influenced significantly by the type of practice setting, the country of practice and the particular surgeon’s level of training and experience. Higher pay comes with more experience and working in private practices. Employment prospects should hold promise as patients search for what they perceive to be improvements in appearance, while some need plastic surgery to improve medical conditions.
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