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How Much Do Surgeons Make?

Doctors are often thought to be one of the highest-paid professionals in Australia. This assumption is not wrong at all. Surgeons, in particular, have one of the highest taxable salaries. In this article, we will take a look at how much surgeons make; as well as the factors that affect their earning potential.

What Does a Surgeon Do?

A surgeon is a licensed medical doctor who performs surgery. We often see them in the media portrayed working in the operating room. This is true as most of their job description entails performing surgeries or operations. However, their expertise even goes beyond the surgical table. Surgeons also conduct consultations for a variety of problems. This includes wounds, cysts, tumors, and other surgical concerns.

Surgeons also oversee their patients prior to their surgery. They make sure everything is going well with the patient before they enter the operating room (unless it’s an emergency case). Even after the surgery, surgeons see to it that the patients are stable to go home.

What Are the Types of Surgeons?

Surgery is a field of medicine that focuses on the treatment of diseases and injury by incision and manipulation. After training to be a surgeon, doctors still have the option to subspecialize in the following fields: plastic surgery, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery, trauma surgery, transplant surgery, gastric surgery, cosmetic surgery, etc.

What Affects How Much They Make?

We can safely say that, in general, surgeons make a lot of money. But what dictates how much they make depends on a wide range of factors. This includes years of experience, type of specialization, training, hospital affiliation, and of course, the number of patients.


Specialty is the biggest factor that influences a surgeon’s earning capability. In theory, the more in demand or rare a surgeon is, the more he or she makes. Thus, neurosurgeons, transplant surgeons, and plastic surgeons ̨make more than general surgeons. The length of surgery also comes into play. Although it’s not a general rule, the length of the surgery also influences how much it will cost as this limits how many cases a surgeon can handle per day.

Training & Experience

One of the biggest determining factors of how much a surgeon can make is his or her years of training and experience. A mid-career surgeon will certainly earn less than a veteran surgeon who has been in the field for decades. Oftentimes, people tend to seek the help of surgeons who have more years of experience.

Moreover, a surgeon’s place of training also affects his or her professional fee. A surgeon who trained at a prestigious teaching hospital tends to have a higher salary. If he or she earned certifications and additional training, this will also influence the salary.

Surgeons can also do laparoscopic or robotic surgery. Those who do tend to earn a higher salary compared to others.


There are obviously well-known surgeons that are more in-demand compared to others. For instance, celebrity surgeons are always in-demand. It will take weeks, sometimes months, to even book a consultation with them. Popularity also affects how much surgeons are paid. If more people desire their expertise and care, the tendency is that they can charge more. Thus, even if a surgeon doesn’t have as many years of training as others, if more people choose him or her, the surgeon will end up making more than the others.

How Much Do They Make?

Surgeons’ salary in Australia depends on which state they are in. According to MedRecruit.com, surgeons practicing in Western Australia have the highest average salary at $475,058, followed by those in Northern Territory, averaging at $449,330. Tasmanian surgeons make $431,332, while Queensland surgeons make $427,543. Meanwhile, surgeons from Victoria make about $362,863. Those from South Australia get an average of $363,964 in salary. Australian Capital Territory surgeons take home about $331,793, and those from New South Wales get just about $304,398.

Now that is just an average of what Australian surgeons make depending on where they practice. However, we know that the value varies depending on a lot of factors; most especially the surgeon’s field of specialty. In Australia, transplant surgeons tend to earn higher than the rest, reaching as high as $600,000. Meanwhile, neurosurgeons also make a lot of money with an annual salary reaching as high as $500,000. Plastic surgeons also average around $500,000. Orthopedic surgeons are next in line, earning as high as $450,000. General surgeons earn $150,000 to 200,000.

Why Do They Make a Lot of Money?

So why exactly do surgeons make a bunch of money? It all boils down to the level of expertise they possess. Surgeons have undergone rigorous years of training before they are able to operate on a patient by themselves. After graduating from medical school, they still need to undergo at least five more years of training just to become a general surgeon. If they wish to subspecialize, it will take them no less than 1-2 years to do so.

You will notice that as the level of expertise goes up, a surgeon’s average salary also goes up. For instance, neurosurgeons make the most money per surgery (in general) because of the nature of the surgery. Neurosurgeons handle the brain which is arguably the most complex organ of the body. There is simply no room for error in neurosurgery which is why neurosurgeons are paid so much for their skill and expertise.

Lastly, surgeons, and other doctors, have invested a lot of money (not just time) in training to become a surgeon. Medical school in Australia costs a lot. Moreover, surgeons don’t start earning money way later than the rest of other professions.


Overall, we can expect surgeons in Australia to make a substantial amount of money in their practice. The final amount always varies depending on their specialty and other factors. However, we can’t deny that they are some of the highest-earning professionals in the country.

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