The Orthopedic Surgeon Salary and Benefits: How Much You Can Make and How to Start a Career in Orthopedic Surgery

William Miller

If you’re looking for a medical specialty with high pay and excellent benefits, orthopedic surgery may be the perfect choice! Let’s discuss the average orthopedic surgeon salary, how to become one, and the job outlook.

The Average Orthopedic Surgeon Salary Nationwide

These medical professionals are among the highest-paid in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean orthopedic surgeon salary was $306,220 in 2021, and the average hourly wage was $147.22.

However, salaries can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, location, and type of practice. For example, orthopedic surgeons working in outpatient care centers earn $351,510 on average. Those working in hospitals can expect a salary of $267,830 – about $83,000 less.

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The Median Orthopedic Surgeon Salary – Estimates

When it comes to the median wage, the BLS didn’t list clear figures for this profession. What’s sure is that it’s at least $100 per hour ($208,000 per year). The lowest-paid 10% of orthopedic surgeons earn $79,870 or less, but these are mostly working in colleges, universities, and professional schools.

There are even more optimistic estimates out there. According to, the median orthopedic surgeon salary is a whopping $508,110, and it’s only the lowest-paid 10% that makes $300,000 or less. We don’t know what formula they used to arrive at this number, but it’s impressive.

The Average Annual Salary for Orthopedic Surgeons by State

Where an orthopedic surgeon lives and works is one of the most important factors that can affect earnings. Here are the states with the highest orthopedic surgeon salaries, according to the BLS data from 2021:

  1. Alaska;
  2. California;
  3. District of Columbia;
  4. Maryland;
  5. Minnesota.

However, they don’t list specific data for these states. When you look at the map showing states for which they do have the data, it turns out that orthopedic surgeons earn above $346,000 on average in Arizona ($351,020), Oregon ($352,360), Delaware ($353,920), Hawaii ($356,960), Louisiana ($362,320), North Dakota ($373,230), and Georgia ($381,830).

Where are orthopedic surgeon salaries the lowest? Those working in Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maine, Connecticut, and Florida earn $277,880 or less on average.

The Total Compensation Opportunity for an Orthopedic Surgeon

An orthopedic surgeon’s base salary is only one part of the equation. When you factor in bonuses and benefits, the total compensation opportunity can be much higher.

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Let’s take the earlier estimate of an orthopedic surgeon making about $508,000 per year. According to, they’d be getting another $40,000 in bonus, and the total value of their benefits (including social security, 401K/403B, disability, healthcare, pension, and time off) is about $125,000. Their total compensation would be around $673,000.

Orthopedic Surgeon Job Outlook

Becoming an orthopedic surgeon takes years of hard work, so employment isn’t going to grow much in the following years. The BLS predicts that between 2020 and 2030, employment will grow by about 3% for all physicians and surgeons. This is slower than the average for all occupations.

However, the job outlook is still positive. There won’t be many job openings, but there aren’t a lot of graduates specializing in this field, either. As current specialists retire, newly trained orthopedic surgeons should have no trouble finding a good-paying job.

The Tasks and Responsibilities of an Orthopedic Surgeon

An orthopedic surgeon is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of problems with the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Apart from using surgical equipment, they often work closely with other medical professionals such as physical therapists to ensure their patients receive comprehensive care.

What Hours do Orthopedic Surgeons Work?

Orthopedic surgeons usually work full-time hours. They may be on call, which means they need to be available to come into the hospital at any time. This can include overnight and weekend shifts.

What Challenges do They Face?

One of the biggest challenges orthopedic surgeons face is the risk of malpractice lawsuits. They also need to be able to handle the physical demands of the job, which can include standing for long periods of time and lifting heavy patients.

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Becoming an Orthopedic Surgeon: Education & Training Requirements

To become an orthopedic surgeon, you’ll need to complete four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school, and five years of residency training. You may also choose to pursue a fellowship in a subspecialty such as sports medicine or pediatrics.

Is a Career in Orthopedic Surgery Right for You?

If you’re interested in becoming an orthopedic surgeon, it’s important to make sure you have the right skills and personality for the job. You should be able to handle high-pressure situations, have excellent communication skills, and be detail-oriented. You should also be comfortable working long hours and being on call.

A career as an orthopedic surgeon can be very rewarding. You’ll be able to help patients improve their quality of life, and the orthopedic surgeon salary is very lucrative. If you’re interested in this field, make sure to do your research and try to talk to orthopedic surgeons to see if it’s the right career for you.

Orthopedic Surgeons Make a Lot after 13 Years of Learning

Orthopedic surgeon salaries are among the highest for a physician. They make a mean annual wage of $306,220, which is more than five times the average for all occupations. However, becoming an orthopedic surgeon takes a lot of time and effort. If you’re up for the challenge, it can be a very rewarding career.

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