Orthopedic surgeons, aka Orthopods, are physicians trained in surgical treatment of bone disorders. Think broken hips, torn ACL’s from football, and arthritic knee replacements.
These physicians work in the clinic, the hospital, and the operating room. Call is common but provides excellent experience and cases. Orthopedic Surgery is the second highest earning specialty in medicine.
Just how much do orthopedic surgeons make? The median expected salary is $410,919! And a whopping 20% make over $500,000 dollars. The majority of orthopedic doctors make $312,000 to $575,000.
If you are just starting out of residency, you might make $256,000 dollars but this will quickly rise to the average in a couple years. If you sub-specialize, you can earn even more. For example, spine orthopedic surgeons are making $670,000 with a maximum of $1.3 million dollars!
To become board certified as an orthopedic surgeon, you need to do 5 years of post-graduate training after medical school. That’s 1 year of preliminary medicine and 4 years of pure orthopedics. Some programs offer all 5 years of training at their institution while others may not. Therefore, check the programs to see what are the requirements.
Orthopedic Surgery is very tough to get into. With that kind of salary, can you see why? Currently, there are 153 orthopedic surgery residency programs offering over 650 spots.
Fellowships are mostly one year long but a couple can be two years. There are many interesting niches you can subspecialize in. Here are a few:
- Adult Reconstructive Surgery – Lower or Upper Extremities, also a General fellowship available
- Hand Surgery
- Musculoskeletal Oncology
- Orthopedic Sports Medicine
- Spine Surgery
- Orthopedic Trauma
- Pediatric Orthopedics
Orthopedic Surgery is one of the fun fields to go into. You use these large mechanical, jointed contraptions in the operating room with very calculated angle measurements, sometimes even a hammer and chisel.
I will never forget using a thin Gigli wire to amputate a leg above the knee similar to how big burly lumberjacks saw through a tree. If you like using your hands in fixer-upper projects, you might find this field will suit you. The salary sure will!