How Much Do Orthopedic Surgeons Make? Find Out If They Really Do Make a Lot of Money

Do orthopedic surgeons make a lot of money? The short answer is yes. In fact, they’re among the highest-paid medical professionals out there. But why is that? Is it just simply the result of years of hard work and dedication to their craft, or is there more to it than that? As it turns out, the answer is a bit more complex than you might think.

The demand for orthopedic surgeons is high, thanks in large part to the baby boomer generation which is now reaching retirement age. These individuals are more likely to require joint replacements and other orthopedic procedures, which in turn means more work for specialists in the field. Additionally, advancements in medical technology have made these procedures safer and less invasive, which has further increased demand. All of this has given orthopedic surgeons more negotiating power when it comes to salary and benefits.

But even though orthopedic surgeons are compensated well for their work, it’s not just about the money. These professionals must undergo extensive training and education to master their craft, which can take years of dedicated study and practice. They must also stay up-to-date on the latest advancements in their field, attend conferences and workshops, and continually improve their skills. So while the financial rewards are certainly significant, orthopedic surgeons are also driven by a deep passion for helping people and making a positive impact on their patients’ lives.

Orthopedic Surgeon Salaries

Orthopedic surgeons are one of the highest-paid medical professionals in the world, and for good reason. To become an orthopedic surgeon, a doctor must complete a rigorous medical program, followed by additional specialized training in the field of orthopedics. This level of expertise and specialization comes at a premium, making orthopedic surgeon salaries some of the highest in the medical industry.

  • According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2020, the median annual salary for orthopedic surgeons in the United States was $526,385. This is significantly higher than the median salary for all physicians and surgeons, which was $206,500.
  • In addition to their base salaries, many orthopedic surgeons also earn significant bonuses based on their performance, patient outcomes, and other factors.
  • Geographic location can also play a significant role in orthopedic surgeon salaries. Surgeons in metropolitan areas or regions with higher costs of living may command higher salaries than their counterparts in rural or less expensive areas.

It’s important to note that orthopedic surgeon salaries can also vary based on a variety of other factors, including the surgeon’s level of experience, specialty or subspecialty within orthopedics, and the size and type of the medical facility where they work. Additionally, independent contractors may be paid differently than surgeons who are employed by hospitals or clinics.

State Annual mean wage Salary Range
Alabama $319,950 $70,000 – $600,000+
California $437,770 $120,000 – $800,000+
Texas $398,480 $100,000 – $850,000+
New York $404,660 $150,000 – $750,000+
Florida $415,360 $100,000 – $650,000+

Despite the high salaries, becoming an orthopedic surgeon is no small feat. The path to becoming an orthopedic surgeon is long and requires years of rigorous training and education. However, for those who are passionate about the field and willing to put in the work, orthopedic surgery can be a lucrative and rewarding career choice.

Employment opportunities for orthopedic surgeons

Orthopedic surgery is one of the most sought-after specialties in the medical field. It is the branch of medicine that deals with the prevention and correction of musculoskeletal injuries and disorders. Orthopedic surgeons use surgical and non-surgical techniques to treat patients with various musculoskeletal conditions, such as fractures, joint injuries, and spine disorders.

Due to the high demand for orthopedic services, there are plenty of employment opportunities for orthopedic surgeons. Below are some of the most common work settings for orthopedic surgeons:

  • Hospitals – many orthopedic surgeons work in hospitals, which provide a range of services to patients, including emergency medical care, surgery, and rehabilitation. Orthopedic surgeons may work in different types of hospitals, such as academic medical centers, community hospitals, and trauma centers.
  • Private practices – some orthopedic surgeons choose to open their own private practices, where they can offer personalized care to their patients and have more control over their work hours and practice. Running a private practice can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding for those who want to be their own boss.
  • Clinics – orthopedic clinics are specialized medical facilities that focus on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. They can be privately owned or affiliated with a hospital, and they typically have a team of orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals.

Income potential for orthopedic surgeons

Orthopedic surgery is one of the highest-paying medical specialties, and for good reason – it is a demanding and complex field that requires a high level of expertise and skill. According to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2021, the average salary for orthopedic surgeons in the United States is $511,000 per year. However, income can vary depending on several factors, such as:

  • Experience – the more experience an orthopedic surgeon has, the more they can command in terms of salary and other benefits. Experienced surgeons may also have more opportunities for leadership roles, such as department chairs or medical director positions.
  • Location – orthopedic surgeons who work in urban or suburban areas tend to earn more than those in rural areas. This is because there is a higher demand for orthopedic services in densely populated areas, and patients in these areas may have higher incomes and better insurance coverage.
  • Practice setting – as mentioned earlier, orthopedic surgeons who run their own private practices may earn more than those who work in hospitals or clinics. However, owning a practice also comes with more expenses and administrative duties.


Orthopedic surgery is a lucrative and rewarding career path for those who are passionate about helping patients and have a strong interest in musculoskeletal health. There are many employment opportunities for orthopedic surgeons in various work settings, and the income potential for this specialty is among the highest in the medical field. However, it is important to keep in mind that becoming an orthopedic surgeon requires a significant investment of time, education, and training.

Employment Setting Average Salary
Hospital-employed $497,000
Single-specialty group practice $627,000
Multi-specialty group practice $521,000
Healthcare organization $450,000
Academic or research $524,000
Other $488,000

Note: Salary data from Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2021

Factors affecting orthopedic surgeon salaries

Orthopedic surgery is one of the highly specialized fields in medicine. With their expertise in treating musculoskeletal conditions, orthopedic surgeons are among the top-paid doctors in the United States. However, salaries can vary depending on various factors.

The following are some of the factors that affect orthopedic surgeon salaries:

  • Specialization – Orthopedic surgeons can specialize in different areas such as sports medicine, joint replacement, trauma, and pediatrics. Those who have a sub-specialty that is in high demand are likely to have higher salaries.
  • Location – Orthopedic surgeons working in urban areas or in states with a higher cost of living typically have higher salaries compared to those practicing in rural areas or in states with a lower cost of living.
  • Experience – Similar to other professions, experience is a significant factor in determining an orthopedic surgeon’s salary. Those who have been practicing for many years tend to earn more than those who are just starting.
  • Practice setting – Orthopedic surgeons who work for hospitals or large medical groups typically earn higher salaries compared to those who are in private practice.
  • Credentials – Orthopedic surgeons who are board-certified or have other advanced credentials can command higher salaries.

Orthopedic surgeon salary by specialization

As mentioned, orthopedic surgeons can specialize in different areas, and salaries can vary depending on their specialty. According to the Medscape Orthopedist Compensation Report 2021, the following are the average annual salaries earned by orthopedic surgeons based on their sub-specialty:

Sub-specialty Average annual salary
Sports medicine $582,000
Hand surgery $564,000
Joint replacement $550,000
Spine surgery $544,000
Trauma $528,000
Pediatrics $523,000

It’s important to note that these figures are just averages, and salaries can vary by location, experience, and other factors mentioned above.

Orthopedic surgeon income by location

Orthopedic surgeons are among the highest paid medical professionals in the US. The average orthopedic surgeon salary in the United States is approximately $482,000 per year, according to Medscape’s 2018 Orthopedist Compensation Report. However, the actual income of an orthopedic surgeon varies depending on a number of factors such as experience, specialty, and location.

The location of an orthopedic surgeon’s practice can heavily affect their salary. The cost of living and demand for medical services differ from state to state, causing salaries to vary. Here is a breakdown of the average salaries of orthopedic surgeons by location:

  • Orthopedic surgeon salaries in California range from $339,000 to $731,000, according to
  • In New York, the average salary for an orthopedic surgeon is $495,000 per year according to
  • Orthopedic surgeons in Florida can earn an average of $467,000 per year, according to PayScale.

Factors influencing orthopedic surgeon salaries by location

The cost of living and competitiveness for positions heavily influence salaries. Urban locations usually offer higher salaries for specialties such as neurosurgery or orthopedic surgery due to the higher cost of living and competition for positions. Smaller towns or rural areas may offer lower salaries, however, the quality of life may increase.

Top-paying states for orthopedic surgeons

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top-paying states for orthopedic surgeons are Alaska, Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota, and Iowa. The average annual salary for orthopedic surgeons in these states ranges from $444,000 to $532,000.

State Average Annual Salary
Alaska $532,950
Nebraska $485,270
Montana $478,170
South Dakota $474,620
Iowa $444,430

In conclusion, the location of an orthopedic surgeon’s practice plays a major role in determining their salary. Factors such as cost of living, competition for positions, and demand for medical services vary widely by state, region, and city and can impact earnings. Orthopedic surgeons should be familiar with the variations of earning potential in different regions before making career decisions.

The gender pay gap in orthopedic surgery

Orthopedic surgery is a highly specialized field that deals with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of various bone and muscle disorders. It’s a demanding and challenging field that requires extensive training and expertise, hence orthopedic surgeons are among the highest paid professionals in the medical field. However, there is a significant gender pay gap that exists in this particular field.

  • According to Medscape’s 2021 Physician Compensation Report, male orthopedic surgeons earn an average of $536,000 annually, while their female counterparts earn an average of $432,000, a difference of about $104,000 per year. This pay gap has increased from the previous year’s report, and it’s a concerning trend.
  • The reasons for the gender pay gap in orthopedic surgery are complex. One factor could be the underrepresentation of women in the specialty. It’s a male-dominated field as many women don’t get involved in orthopedics, which can lead to the assumption that the job requires too much physical effort for women to handle it. Additionally, women are usually perceived as being more inclined to work fewer hours, take time off for family, and not be as aggressive when it comes to negotiating their salaries.
  • Another potential contributing factor to the gender pay gap is implicit bias among employers and colleagues. There has been a historical belief that women are less committed and less capable than their male counterparts, which is clearly not the case. This bias can play a role in the hiring and promotion of women in orthopedics, affecting their salaries in various institutions.

The gender pay gap in orthopedic surgery remains a significant issue in the medical field, and more efforts are needed to address it. Institutions need to examine their compensation policies and ensure that they provide equal pay for equal work. Additionally, there needs to be more focus on advocacy for women orthopedic surgeons, including opportunities for training and mentorship to increase the number of women in this specialized field. It will take concerted efforts from different players within the industry, including medical societies, employers, and individual surgeons, to reduce the gender pay gap in orthopedic surgery.

Job satisfaction among orthopedic surgeons

Job satisfaction is a crucial factor in any profession, including orthopedic surgery. Orthopedic surgeons are known to make a lot of money, but does that necessarily equate to job satisfaction? Let’s take a closer look at what makes orthopedic surgeons feel fulfilled in their work.

  • Helping patients: One of the most satisfying aspects of being an orthopedic surgeon is helping patients alleviate pain and regain mobility. Many orthopedic surgeons find this work incredibly fulfilling, as they are providing a tangible benefit to their patients.
  • Challenging cases: Orthopedic surgeons often encounter complex cases that require out-of-the-box thinking and innovative solutions. Successfully tackling these challenging cases can be incredibly rewarding for surgeons, both from a professional and personal standpoint.
  • Teamwork: Orthopedic surgery is often a team effort, with many different healthcare professionals working together to provide the best outcomes for patients. Orthopedic surgeons who enjoy working collaboratively with their colleagues often find this aspect of the job satisfying.

While high salaries are undoubtedly a perk of being an orthopedic surgeon, they are not necessarily the primary driver of job satisfaction. In fact, some studies have shown that job satisfaction among orthopedic surgeons is not directly related to income. Instead, factors such as patient outcomes and professional fulfillment play a more significant role in surgeon satisfaction.

Overall, orthopedic surgery can be an incredibly rewarding profession, both personally and financially. While the high salary is undoubtedly a draw for many, most orthopedic surgeons find that helping patients and taking on challenging cases are what truly make the job fulfilling.

Factors that contribute to job satisfaction among orthopedic surgeons Factors that do not contribute to job satisfaction among orthopedic surgeons
Helping patients High salary
Challenging cases Number of hours worked per week
Teamwork Location of practice

As you can see from the table above, orthopedic surgeons find fulfillment in various aspects of their jobs. On the other hand, factors such as the number of hours worked per week or location of practice do not necessarily impact job satisfaction. Ultimately, each surgeon must determine what is most important to them in their career.

Orthopedic surgery as a lucrative career choice

Orthopedic surgery is one of the most financially rewarding medical specialties. In fact, according to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2020, orthopedic surgeons have the second-highest median annual income among physicians, with an average yearly income of USD 511,000.

  • High demand: The demand for orthopedic surgeons has been and will continue to be high. With the growing aging population, the number of people who require orthopedic surgery has increased. Moreover, orthopedic surgeons can treat people of all ages for various conditions such as fractures, joint replacements, and arthritis.
  • Long training period: Becoming an orthopedic surgeon requires a lot of time and dedication. After completing a four-year undergraduate degree, one must attend medical school for four years, followed by five years of residency training.
  • Specialized skillset: Orthopedic surgeons possess a specialized skillset that is specific to their field. They must know how to diagnose and treat various conditions related to the musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles.

As orthopedic surgeons gain experience and build their reputation, they can earn even higher incomes. Additionally, they can also choose to specialize further in subfields such as spine surgery, sports medicine, or trauma care, which can boost their earning potential.

Orthopedic Surgery Salary by Location

While orthopedic surgeons earn high salaries across the United States, the amount they earn can vary depending on their location. Generally speaking, geographic regions with higher costs of living tend to offer higher salaries to medical professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the following states offer some of the highest salaries to orthopedic surgeons:

State Annual Mean Wage
Montana USD 605,520
Wyoming USD 486,620
Minnesota USD 471,410

It is important to note that these figures reflect the average salaries for orthopedic surgeons across the state and can vary depending on factors such as experience, specialty, and practice setting.

FAQs: Do Orthopedic Surgeons Make a Lot of Money?

1. How much do orthopedic surgeons make?

Orthopedic surgeons in the United States typically earn between $400,000 to $600,000 annually, but this varies depending on factors such as years of experience, location, and type of employment.

2. Is being an orthopedic surgeon worth the time and money spent in education and training?

Many orthopedic surgeons find their job fulfilling and financially rewarding. However, the time and money spent on education and training are significant. It is important to evaluate one’s personal values and goals before committing to this career path.

3. Can orthopedic surgeons earn more by specializing in a specific area?

Yes, orthopedic surgeons who specialize in certain areas such as spine surgery or sports medicine typically earn higher salaries due to higher demand and a more specialized skill set.

4. Is the job market competitive for orthopedic surgeons?

The job market for orthopedic surgeons can be competitive, especially in more desirable locations or for certain specializations. However, the demand for orthopedic surgery is growing, which bodes well for those considering this field.

5. Do orthopedic surgeons receive any bonuses or benefits?

Many orthopedic surgeons are offered bonuses and benefits such as relocation assistance, signing bonuses, and retirement plans. Additionally, those who are self-employed may have higher earning potential.

6. How does the salary of an orthopedic surgeon compare to other medical professions?

Orthopedic surgeons typically earn higher salaries than other medical professions, but this varies depending on specialization and location.


In conclusion, becoming an orthopedic surgeon can be a lucrative and rewarding career path for those who are willing to commit to the education and training required. While the job market may be competitive, the growing demand for orthopedic surgery provides promising opportunities. Thanks for reading and we hope to see you again soon for more helpful information!