A chief of surgery supervises the surgical operations of a hospital, including staffing, training, patient care, and research. Given the many responsibilities a chief of surgery has to handle, their salaries will be greater than a general surgeon salary. In US dollar currency, annual earnings are highest in Australia and the US at roughly AU$808,000 ($612,642 USD) and $604,000, respectively, followed by New Zealand at NZ$679,000 ($467,920 USD) and Canada at C$585,000 ($461,909 USD). Annual salaries for a chief of surgery in the UK is about £310,000 ($365,689 USD) compared to R3,548,000 ($261,863 USD) in South Africa and Rs3,562,000 ($55,231 USD) in India. Annual earnings for a chief of surgery vary by geographic region, professional experience, and work setting with further details provided in this guide.
Educational Level to Qualify as Chief of Surgery
Surgeons require a significant amount of formal education. These are medical doctors who conduct operations as their primary method of treatment. In this field, one can specialize even further in areas such as orthopedic, neurological, cardiovascular, or plastic surgery. As surgeons practice a specific and specialized form of medicine, the education and training criteria are critical, often taking up to sixteen years to complete. Those with strong leadership skills may even aim at becoming chief of surgery. Apart from operating, some physicians and surgeons also choose to focus on teaching or medical writing.
An aspiring surgeon must first earn a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, attend a graduate school to receive a Doctorate level degree in medicine, then complete an authorized residency, and obtain a license to practice medicine. Usually, a hospital will seek for a candidate with at least five years of experience as professional standards related to the practice of medicine in an acute care hospital environment. In summing-up, surgeons usually need to earn a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree plus complete a residency.
How Much Does a Chief of Surgery Make per Year?
The chart below provides average annual and hourly wages for a chief of surgery in select countries worldwide.
|Chief of Surgery Salary||US||Canada||UK||Australia||New Zealand||India||South Africa|
Factors that Influence the Chief of Surgery Salary
While geographic region and professional experience are heavy influencers of earning potential, work setting does not greatly affect overall salaries. This guide provides additional information on salaries and career insight on working as a chief of surgery.
1. Geographic Area
Chief of Surgery Salary in US
In the US, chiefs of surgery earn an average annual base salary of about $604,000 and an additional $154,000 can be earned through bonus income. New chiefs of surgery earn more than $360,000 per year compared to those with the most experience in senior-level positions who see annual earnings well over $960,000.
Chief of Surgery Salary in Canada
Chiefs of surgery in Canada receive well over C$585,000 per year and bonus income can boost overall earnings another C$149,000, on average. Early career chiefs of surgery earn about C$349,000 per year, increasing with experience to about C$931,000 annually for those at the senior level.
Chief of Surgery Salary in UK
The average annual salary for a chief of surgery in the UK can reach £310,000 and bonus income adds more than £79,000 to overall earnings. Entry level chiefs of surgery earn an average annual salary that can reach £185,000 compared to senior level professionals with annual earnings of about £493,000.
Chief of Surgery Salary in Australia
Chiefs of surgery in Australia earn well over AU$808,000 per year plus nearly AU$206,000 in additional bonus income potential. New chiefs of surgery see annual salaries of about AU$483,000 per year while senior level pay can reach AU$1,288,000 annually.
Chief of Surgery Salary in New Zealand
In New Zealand, the average annual salary for a chief of surgery is about NZ$679,000 with another NZ$173,000 available in bonus pay. On average, the annual salary for entry-level positions is about NZ$405,000 while senior-level positions offer an average annual salary of about NZ$1,080,000.
Chief of Surgery Salary in India
A chief of surgery in India, the average annual pay is about Rs2,562,000 and another Rs907,000 can be earned in bonus income. The average entry-level salary for new chiefs of surgery exceeds Rs2,156,000 per year, increasing with experience to more than Rs5,752,000 annually for those in senior-level positions.
Chief of Surgery Salary in South Africa
In South Africa, chiefs of surgery see annual earnings reaching R3,548,000 and nearly R903,000 is available in additional bonus income. Early career chiefs of surgery earn more than R2,133,000 per year compared to senior level professionals who receive well over R5,689,000 per year.
Chiefs of surgery are highly paid healthcare professionals, easily placing them among the highest income earners worldwide. While these professionals already have surgical and career experience that qualifies them for this upper-level position, the additional experience can further increase overall earnings. The difference between entry level and senior level pay for chiefs of surgery is about 167% worldwide, equating to roughly $600,000 more per year in annual salary in the US, AU$805,000 more per year in Australia, and Rs3,596,000 more per year in India.
Due to the nature of their work, chiefs of surgery work in hospital settings, meaning there is little variance in income due to the work setting. However, those employed in for-profit and private sector organizations may see higher earnings and bonus potential. Additionally, smaller hospitals may also have smaller budgets and lower salaries compared to larger multi-facility hospital systems.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Chief of Surgery
The Department of Surgery is firmly committed to giving the exceptional care of patients attended in clinics, in consultation, or those admitted to the service. The residents perform their responsibilities under the supervision of attending surgeons. A chief surgeon manages the whole surgical staff and all programs designed to enhance the quality and efficiency of care. It includes educational programs for residents, research programs, and advanced surgical services. But the chief surgeon still answers to the hospital’s administrative staff, so he must also guarantee that his staff comprehends hospital policies.
- The chief resident is accountable for all medical patients on his/her service and will take a leadership role in educating and be giving patient care. He/she is responsible for efficiently managing the clinics, the operating room, the wards and conferences following the supervision of attendings on the service.
- Perform daily rounds in the morning and also in the evening. The morning rounds are to help coordinate the junior and senior resident’s assigned tasks. The night ward rounds are informative and are used to teach the residents about the principles and practice of surgery. In addition, a chief resident is responsible for the transfer or turnover of patients from the post-call team to the incoming team. This procedure has to be done in an orderly fashion.
- Have a higher authority and independence. They can evaluate complicated patients thoughtfully and comprehensively. They are active associates and leaders in departmental conventions.
- Analyze the statistics for the weekly Director’s Grand Rounds and presenting the cases that include all mortalities and morbidities.
- Ensure that all patients scheduled for operation have pre-operative and brief operative records and that consents contain risks, benefits, alternative and risk and benefit of the alternative.
- Monitor all patients and are responsible for the care of all patients on his/her service. The chief resident supervises the proper use of consultation services and gives guidance in discharge planning and complicated social circumstances.
- Keep an accurate and detailed log of all the performed procedures in the computerized program provided by the Residency Review Committee.
- Follow all acutely ill patients in the surgical department including patients in the intensive care unit or ICU. He/she is to observe the patients and give guidance as needed to the junior residents on the management of such patients.
- The chief will present all cases during sign out with the attending physicians and surgeons in the morning.
- Ensure he/she is notified of all admissions, consults and any seriously ailing patient in the house.
- Recognizes all admissions, preferably in the Emergency Room, all consults, and any seriously ill patients in the house. He/she will notify and explain the management of the patient with the attending responsible for the patient. The post call chief resident must inform the management plan to the chief resident taking over the responsibility at the event of sign off rounds.
- Chief resident can reassign residents to deal with other services when required or needed.
A chief of surgery typically works full-time with hours at or exceeding 40 hours per week. Most work Monday through Friday during normal business hours; however, there may be times when on-call hours are necessary to accommodate emergency situations and additional patient care needs.
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
Chiefs of surgery typically receive a comprehensive benefits package that includes medical, dental, and vision coverage as well as paid time off for vacation, holidays, and sick time. Other popular benefits include professional liability insurance, health savings accounts, and retirement plans. Bonus income is common worldwide and can boost overall earnings by significant amounts.
It is estimated by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics that growth among surgeons, including chiefs of surgery, will be 15% between 2016 through 2026, a faster than average increase. This is due to medical advancements in surgical treatment and improved access to healthcare. Experience in a surgeon role is necessary prior to a chief of surgery position. This means a person in this career field has successfully earned a medical degree, completed several years of residency and training, and has several years of experience as a surgeon prior to this new upper-level position.
Final Thoughts on the Salary of the Chief of Surgery
Chiefs of surgery are among the top income earners worldwide. In addition to strong base salaries and full benefits packages, additional bonus income can further boost overall earnings by large amounts. A full-time schedule is common, and many chiefs of surgery work an excess of 40 hours per week in a hospital setting. Future growth is expected to be faster than average, which will likely sustain high earnings and offer good employment opportunities.