Orthopedic Surgeon Salary Guide and Career Outlook

Orthopedic surgeons, sometimes refered to as orthopedists, are surgeons specialized in operations involving bones. There is a slight difference between an orthopedist and an orthopedic surgeon, in that an orthopedist handles the diagnoses, while the orthopdic surgeon suggests the best course of action, and performs the necessary operation.  The orthopedic surgeon salary in the United States is $351,834 and in South Africa it is R1,164,925 ($89,305). In Canada and Australia the pay is C$247,169 and in Australia it is AU$202,252. While in the United Kingdom, these surgeons see a salary of E96,974 ($102,942).

Underlying an orthopedic surgeon career are years of education and training. They perform similar procedures regardless of country location. Can they, therefore, expect a similar pay regardless of where they work? This article explores the orthopedic surgeon salary in seven countries, the impact of experience and industry on that salary, and the job outlook, benefits, and work schedule of this job.

How Much Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Make per Year by Country?

Orthopedic Surgeon Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand* India South Africa
Hourly Pay $111.00 C$118.83* ($90.66) E46.62* ($49.49) AU$97.23* ($74.72) NZ$144.23* ($103.60) Rs 593.29* ($8.86) R560.06* ($42.94)
Annual Pay $351,834 C$247,169 ($188,570) E96,974 ($102,942) AU$202,252 ($155,430) NZ$300,000 ($215,489) Rs 1,234,057 ($18,425) R1,164,925 ($89,305)

*These figures are estimated based on the other pay information given. This assumes a 40 hour work week.

make an orthopedic surgeon salary

Orthopedic Surgeon Salary Influencing Factors

Due to the specialized nature of this position, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Government New Zealand do not report data only for orthopedic surgeons. There is enough data reported to Payscale to generate salary ranges for all of the countries except New Zealand.

1. Location

How Much Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Make in the US?

The orthopedic surgeon salary in the United States ranges from $116,812 to $546,650. In addition to this very high base salary, they can receive a bonus of $101,458 and profit sharing of $50,868. If these professionals get paid hourly they earn $15.08 to $203.73 an hour with overtime reaching $520.00. Their complete salary is $116,411 to $568,303.

How Much Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Make in Canada?

Orthopedic surgeons in Canada see a salary of C$59,598 to C$510,643 with a bonus of C$14,500. There is no hourly salary reported. However, the base salary equates to an hourly pay of C$28.65 to C$245.50. The final salary is exactly the same as the base salary at C$59,598 to C$510,643.

How Much Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Make in the UK?

The 10th percentile of orthopedic surgeons in the United Kingdom earn E58,083 a year while the 90th percentile earn E160,000. An additional bonus of E$5,000 is received by some orthopedic surgeons. The estimated hourly rate is E27.92 to E76.92. In total, they earn E58,083 to E160,000.

How Much Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Make in Australia?

Annually, orthopedic surgeons in Australia see an income of AU$100,401 to AU$537,318. This base pay can be increased through a bonus of AU$13,500 and profit sharing of AU$58,500. Broken down on an hourly basis, this is AU$48.26 to AU$258.32. Their final pay is the same as the base pay of AU$100,401 to AU$537,318.

How Much Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Make in New Zealand?

There is no salary listed strictly for orthopedic surgeons. In general, training surgeons see an income of NZ$70,000 to NZ$175,000 and experienced surgeons see an income of NZ$151,000 to NZ$600,000 dollars.

How Much Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Make in India?

In India, the orthopedic surgeon salary is Rs 576,063 to Rs 6,040,241 with a bonus of Rs 100,000 and profit sharing of Rs 250,000. The base annual rate is equivalent to an hourly pay of Rs 276.95 to Rs 2,903. In sum, their pay is Rs 579,400 to Rs 6,040,241.

How Much Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Make in South Africa?

The salary for orthopedic surgeons in South Africa is R262,764 to R3,300,000. When compared to the salary, the bonus of R60,000 is not a lot. If these professionals were to get paid hourly, the rate would be R125.84 to R1,586.53. The total pay is higher than the base rate at R313,686 to R3,724,968.

2. Experience

Experience impacts salary differently in all of the countries explored. The orthopedic surgeon salary in Canada is 20 percent below the median for middle-career workers and 15 percent above for those with more than 20 years of experience. In Australia, pay increases modestly along a linear path for the entirety of their career. Pay increases mildly for the first five years in India and then increases significantly from that point to the end of their careers. In the United Kingdom there is a dip in salary reported for those with 10-20 years of experience. Finally, those in the United States see no salary growth between 5 and 20 years of experience but modest increases for the first five years and after 20 years.

The most common data for Canada, India, and the United States is from those with 1-4 years of experience. In South Africa, the most common respondent had 5-9 years of experience. For Australia and the United Kingdom it is those with 10-19 years of experience.

3. Industry

All orthopedic surgeons, naturally, work in healthcare. The actual place where they work can differ. The most common place they work is in a hospital or outpatient care center. However, this is one of the few surgeon careers that could also work for a sports team or college. Many athletes will need some sort of surgery during their playing career and orthopedic surgeons are responsible for getting them back to being competitive.

Orthopedic surgeons who work for hospitals will see more urgent situations and have to work simultaneously with trauma or other types of surgeons. Those who work in outpatient care centers will likely perform more routine procedures such as arthroscopic surgery, bone setting, or ACL repair.

New Zealand is experiencing a shortage of surgeons and thus the job opportunities are very positive.

Schedule & Working Hours

Orthopedic surgeons can expect to work long hours and have to work on their feet for several hours. It is normal for them to have to work overnight or weekend hours if they work in a hospital. Those in an outpatient care center will have more regular office hours. It is typical for them to set aside days for surgery and days for seeing patients.

It is not unusual to work extra hours and to work irregular schedules as an orthopedic surgeon. This is particularly true when they are on-call. When they are not doing surgeries, they will see patients and recommend surgery or a different treatment.

Bonuses & Benefits

Most orthopedic surgeons receive healthcare benefits in the countries reviewed. The scope of these benefits differ from country to country.

Orthopedic surgeons also enjoy extensive time-off, tuition reimbursement, and the opportunity to attend and present at national or international conferences.

Orthopedic surgeons who work in group settings will be able to coordinate their schedule with other surgeons to make sure that someone is available to operate in the event of an emergency. As orthopedic surgeons gain experience, they will see better and more flexible hours. For example, when they are a new attending they may have to work overnight more frequently and as they gain experience their schedule improves.

The table below shows the healthcare benefits by country. It is broken down into medical, dental, and vision benefits.

Country United States Canada United Kingdom Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Medical 88% 100% 63% 54% 100% 44% 67%
Dental 65% 100% 32% 38% 9%
Vision 58% 100% 32% 23% 7%
None 10% 32% 46% 56% 33%

Career Outlook

In Australia, the job outlook for surgeons is not great. There should be less than 5,000 openings through the year 2019. This low number of job openings is partially due to the fact that there are not very many people who work as surgeons. The jobs that are open are all virtually full-time.

In the United States, the job growth for surgeons is extremely positive. It is projected to grow 20 percent through the year 2024. This increase in employment is primarily due to the number of people who have access to health insurance and an aging population.

Interestingly, there are very different gender proportions in orthopedic surgeons depending on the country they are in. In South Africa and Canada there is an even split between male and female surgeons. While in India, the United Kingdom, and the United States the profession is male dominated at 96, 88, and 86 percent, respectively.


An orthopedic surgeon career is a great choice for people who are interested in medicine and like to help people feel better. Their salary is high regardless of the country they work in. They tend to work long hours and have unpredictable schedules. Their career tends to be clustered around areas that have a large population because there will be more hospitals and medical centers. However, there will be a need for a small number of orthopedic surgeons in rural areas.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.