A surgeon is a medical expert tasked with performing surgeries on human patients for the purpose of curing or alleviating some or other symptom or disease.

Surgeons, amongst other things, are responsible for examining patients and diagnosing them, reviewing their medical history so as to better craft a healing plan for them, advise patients and explain medical procedures to them and their families, prescribe medication before the surgery and for post op care, and follow through with patients, in order to monitor and maintain their recovery. They may also conduct research in order to advance the medical science and various surgical procedures and they may choose to specialise in a certain type of surgeries through further education and work.

A surgeon should have a medical degree, certification, and a license to practice medicine. They also need to have years of residency training and have to pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination. They must be able to keep calm under pressure and have great hand-eye coordination. Interpersonal skills are important, too. A surgeon, on average, makes $314,000 a year.

What Does a Surgeon Do

Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses. Physicians examine patients; take medical histories; prescribe medications; and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. They often counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive healthcare. Surgeons operate on patients to treat injuries, such as broken bones; diseases, such as cancerous tumors; and deformities, such as cleft palates.

Learn more about what a Surgeon does

How To Become a Surgeon

Physicians and surgeons have demanding education and training requirements. Almost all physicians complete at least 4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school, and, depending on their specialty, 3 to 7 years in internship and residency programs.

Learn More About How To Become a Surgeon

Surgeon Career Paths

Average Salary for a Surgeon

Surgeons in America make an average salary of $155,553 per year or $75 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $284,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $85,000 per year.
Average Surgeon Salary
$155,553 Yearly
$74.79 hourly
10 %
90 %

What Am I Worth?


Surgeon Education

Surgeon Majors

28.1 %
10.9 %
7.5 %

Surgeon Degrees


40.5 %


19.8 %


11.7 %

Top Colleges for Surgeons

1. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition

2. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

3. Yale University

New Haven, CT • Private

In-State Tuition

4. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition

5. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition

6. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

7. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition

8. University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA • Private

In-State Tuition

9. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

10. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD • Private

In-State Tuition

Top Skills For a Surgeon

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.9% of surgeons listed surgery on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and compassion are important as well.

  • Surgery, 11.9%
  • Healthcare, 11.1%
  • Emergency, 9.8%
  • Surgeons, 9.3%
  • Patient Care, 8.7%
  • Other Skills, 49.2%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Surgeon Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Surgeon templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Surgeon resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Surgeon Demographics

Surgeon Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among surgeons, 48.8% of them are women, while 51.2% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among surgeons is White, which makes up 81.7% of all surgeons.

  • The most common foreign language among surgeons is Spanish at 37.0%.

Online Courses For Surgeon That You May Like

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Transgender Medicine for General Medical Providers

The course is a comprehensive set of didactic lectures surveying fundamentals of transgender medical and surgical treatment. The material is meant to provide the student with core knowledge that is essential for current primary care providers caring for transgender patients. There are 10 modules led by the expert clinical faculty from the pioneering Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, located within the Mount Sinai Health System and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New Yor...

Trauma Emergencies and Care

Welcome to Trauma Emergencies and Care. In this course, you will learn about some of the mechanics and physics of trauma on the human body, and how this can cause injury. You will continue to expand your new vocabulary with medical terminology, and learn how to describe the different injuries you may see. You will also learn about the trauma system itself- and when it is important to transport patients to a trauma center. Then we will dive into specific injuries based on what part of the body ma...

Health After Cancer: Cancer Survivorship for Primary Care

This course presents basic principles of cancer survivorship to primary-care physicians. Developed by a team of experts in caring for cancer survivors, and narrated by a primary-care physician, this course provides practical tips and tools that can be easily integrated into medical practice. You will learn about the complex physical and psychosocial needs and concerns of the growing number of cancer survivors, along with the key role that primary care physicians have in guiding these patients ba...

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Best States For a Surgeon

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a surgeon. The best states for people in this position are Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island. Surgeons make the most in Maine with an average salary of $158,298. Whereas in New Hampshire and New York, they would average $145,184 and $141,044, respectively. While surgeons would only make an average of $139,566 in Rhode Island, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Maine

Total Surgeon Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. New Hampshire

Total Surgeon Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Wisconsin

Total Surgeon Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Surgeons

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Top Surgeon Employers

Most Common Employers For Surgeon

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1MaineGeneral Health$367,507$176.697
2Aurora Health Care$318,116$152.946
3Penobscot Valley Hospital$308,238$148.195
4Wellmont Health System$305,636$146.946
5Hays Medical Center$278,145$133.7211
6Franciscan Health$266,911$128.328
7Charles River Labs$258,973$124.517
8Summa Health$253,129$121.705
9Merritt Hawkins$238,427$114.6315
10Sanford Health$221,580$106.5313

Becoming a Surgeon FAQs

What degree do you need to be a surgeon?

You need a doctoral-level medical degree to be a surgeon. If you want to be a surgeon, you're looking at a long journey just to get your career started. Assuming you finish your bachelor's degree on time, you're looking at eight years of schooling - four for your undergraduate degree and another four for medical school.

What does a surgeon wear?

Surgeons wear medical scrubs with or without a white lab coat when outside of the surgery room. In the surgery room, surgeons will wear surgical gowns, masks, gloves, and caps. These garments allow for easy movement and can be easily laundered.

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