What Is the Potential Salary for a Plastic Surgeon?

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A plastic surgeon is a medical doctor who specializes in surgery that changes the appearance of a patient. She consults with patients to understand their appearance goals and motivations before providing recommendations for surgical procedures. He then performs any surgeries and follows-up with check-ups to ensure proper healing and recovery. Some of the elective procedures plastic surgeons perform include rhinoplasty or nose jobs, facelifts, breast augmentation and liposuction. Plastic surgeons also treat patients who have suffer from extensive burns or scarring or who have undergone appearance-altering medical procedures such as mastectomies. According to Payscale.com, the potential salary of a plastic surgeon depends upon a number of factors, including how many years of experience he has in the field and the type of employer for which he works.

Work Experience

  • A plastic surgeon's salary depends largely upon how much work experience she has in the field. In August 2009, associates with less than a year of experience earned between $78,611 and $228,907, while those with one to four years of work experience earned an average salary of between $105,555 and $250,421. The average salary range for five to nine years of experience was between $122,084 and $338,819. Once he worked in the field for 10 years or more, a plastic surgeon had the potential to earn between $155,048 and $355,308 or more.

Employer Type

  • The type of employer a plastic surgeon works for also affected her average salary range. In August 2009, self-employed surgeons earned the highest salaries at between $194,421 and $355,422. Non-profit organizations paid one of the highest starting salaries at $203,473. One of the lowest paying employers of plastic surgeons were publicly-traded companies, where workers earned an average of between $101,736 and $244,799.

Geographic Area

  • The area where a plastic surgeon worked also affects his salary range. The highest paying state for surgeons was Pennsylvania with salaries of between $193,550 and $457,814 in August 2009. Other high-paying states for surgeons were California at between $119,331 and $306,168, New York at between $122,171 and $348,391, and Illinois at between $147,395 and $335,285.

Education

  • In August 2009, a plastic surgeon's salary also varied based upon the type of degree he held and the school that conferred it. The highest-paid surgeons with medical doctor earned between $122,200 and $457,814, while those who also held doctoral or Phd degrees earned between $147,395 and $457,690. The universities whose graduates averaged the highest maximum salaries were Harvard University at $359,763 and the University of California at Los Angeles at $349,185.

Benefits

  • Many plastic surgeons received additional benefits that increased their overall compensation packages, including between 2.4 and 3.3 weeks of paid vacation time as of August 2009. Surgeons sometimes received annual bonuses of between $4,913 and $22,500, along with annual commissions that averaged between $4,913 and $20,000 and annual profit sharing revenue between $10,174 and $21,000. Other benefits some plastic surgeons enjoy include paid malpractice and liability insurance, 401k retirement plans, life and disability insurance, paid sick leave, tuition and continuing education reimbursements and company-issued cell phones.

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