General surgeons perform operations, often in emergency situations. Worldwide salaries for general surgeons are quite high, ranking among the highest paid in the healthcare industry. In the US, general surgeons earn a median annual salary of $255,473 compared to C$196,725 (US$150,372) in Canada. The general surgeon salary in Australia and New Zealand is AU$176,351 (US$135,349) and NZ$175,000 (US$126,035), respectively, while a general surgeon in the UK brings home about £70,555 (US$75,081) per year.
Salaries are lowest in South Africa at R636,000 (US$47,828) and India at Rs1,182,604 (US$17,662). Geographic region, professional experience, and work setting impact salary ranges as further explained in this guide.
How Much Does a General Surgeon Make per Year?
Salaries for general surgeons vary worldwide as outlined below along with the USD conversion.
|General Surgeon Salary||US||Canada||UK||Australia||New Zealand||India||South Africa|
|Hourly Wage||$58||C$38 (US$29)||£32 (US$40)||AU$80 (US$62)||NZ$79 (US$57)||Rs536 (US$8)||R288 (US$22)|
Factors that Influence the General Surgeon Salary
Salary ranges for general surgeons vary worldwide by geographic region, professional experience, and work setting per Payscale.com, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and country-specific employment resources. Further details on these salary fluctuations as well as information on a career in surgery are provided in this guide.
1. Geographic Area
General Surgeon Salary in the US
The entry level salary of a general surgeon in the US tops six figures and the median annual salary in the first five years of career employment is about $248,000. With 10 to 20 years’ experience, the average general surgeon salary reaches $271,000 per year and continues to rise to as much as nearly $394,000 per year.
Bonus potential can reach nearly $125,000 in additional earnings and some employers pay profit sharing that may reach nearly $50,000. Earnings in New York and Los Angeles lag behind the national average by 8% and 12%, respectively, likely due to a large supply of surgeons in these cities.
General Surgeon Salary in Canada
General surgeons in Canada earn a starting salary of more than C$65,500 per year during their training. With experience, annual income can surpass C$412,000 per year. An additional C$7,500 can be earned in bonus pay. A large percentage of general surgeons work in academic teaching hospitals, and some surgeons transition to a larger teaching role later in their careers so it is not uncommon to see those with more than 20 years’ experience earn less than those with 10 to 20 years’ experience.
General Surgeon Salary in the UK
In the UK, general surgeons who are beginning their careers can expect to earn a starting salary of more than £31,000 per year. With experience, the median annual salary is about £70,555, and consultants with the most experience and responsibility earn nearly £150,000 per year. There is an opportunity for bonus pay that may reach more than £40,400 per year.
General Surgeon Salary in Australia
The average general surgeon salary in Australia is more than AU$176,000 per year. Entry level general surgeons earn nearly six figures with an annual salary of more than AU$98,000 per year. Earnings increase significantly with experience, reaching more than AU$329,000 per year. Bonus potential can reach AU$40,000 in additional income.
General Surgeon Salary in New Zealand
The average annual salary of a general surgeon in New Zealand is NZ$175,000 per year. As a registrar in training, general surgeons working for the District Health Board earn a starting annual salary of about NZ$70,000 per year. With experience, the annual salary of a general surgeon is between NZ$151,000 and NZ$212,000.
General Surgeon Salary in India
In India, general surgeons earn between about Rs479,000 and more than Rs3,500,000 per year, with a median annual income of Rs1,182,604. An additional Rs50,000 is possible in bonus earnings. Income increases slightly in the first five years during early training, then climbs rapidly and steadily throughout the remainder of one’s career.
General Surgeon Salary in South Africa
Starting salaries for general surgeons in South Africa begin at just over R50,000 per year. With experience and additional responsibility, income can reach nearly R1,200,000 annually. There is potential for an additional R120,000 in bonus earnings each year.
Salary ranges for general surgeons increase significantly with experience. The greatest gap between income levels for entry level and senior level general surgeons is seen in Canada at C$346,500 per year, or an increase of 529%, followed by the US at $271,000 per year, or an increase of 221%.
Sizeable increases in annual pay with career experience are also seen in UK (£115,800 or 373%), Australia (AU$231,700 or 235%), and New Zealand (NZ$142,000 or 203%). In India and South Africa where annual earnings are lowest, salaries increase with experience by more than Rs3,024,000 or 631% and R1,147,000 or 2,279%, respectively.
Due to the nature of their work, general surgeons work primarily in hospitals and clinics, which can be for-profit or non-profit organizations. While salary ranges are largely similar, there is potential for profit sharing for those who work in for-profit settings, and bonus potential may be larger in for-profit organizations.
General surgeons often work long hours and irregular schedules, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. Typical work weeks can regularly exceed 55 to 60 hours. With most employed in hospital settings that offer 24-hour care, and the nature of their work often involving emergency situations, general surgeons may encounter greater work stress and emotional fatigue; however, most express a high level of job satisfaction that likely comes from helping others in need.
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
It is common for general surgeons to receive health care coverage that includes medical, dental, and vision insurance. Paid holidays, vacation, and sick time are also often provided. Some hospitals offer allowances for meals and overnight accommodations during long work hours. Because continuing medical education is required for license maintenance, some hospitals cover the costs for training, conferences, and required travel. Bonus pay is common in this field, and some employers offer profit sharing potential.
Demand for general surgeons is increasing worldwide due to an aging global population The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 14% growth in general surgeon occupations between 2014 and 2024, representing a growth rate that exceeds the average of all professions. Future demand for general surgeons is expected to support strong income levels and meet the supply of newly training surgeons.
To practice as a general surgeon, extensive education and training are required. A four-year bachelor’s degree is needed followed by a medical degree and training that can take an additional eight years or longer. General surgeons are required to be licensed and registered with the appropriate governing body in the region, and continuing medical education is required to maintain licensure.
General surgeons earn a sizeable income that is among the highest of all healthcare professions. While general surgeons often encounter stressful work situations, long work hours, and irregular schedules, most express a high level of job satisfaction. Future demand for general surgeons is expected to remain strong, further supporting strong income levels. Bonus pay is commonly offered and there are opportunities for profit sharing for those employed by for-profit organizations.