Trauma surgeons care for and perform surgical procedures on patients with life-threatening injuries and often perform surgery on individuals who have multiple injuries involving several organs in the body. They may consult with other physicians and surgeons to successfully stabilize patients in critical condition. The salary for this occupation varies based on a number of factors.
Like other physicians and surgeons, this profession requires an undergraduate degree and four years of medical school. Five years of residency in general surgery is required, followed by an exam to be certified in surgery from American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS). This training and certification is followed by a one- to two-year fellowship in a critical care or trauma setting to be qualified for the Surgical Critical Care exam and certification administered by the American Board of Surgery.
Trauma surgeons receive a base salary and some employers offer a bonuses and profit sharing. In October 2010, Payscale reported trauma surgeons earned average base salaries ranging between $147,395 and $288,722 per year. Bonuses ranged between $5,200 and $40,406 per year, and profit sharing ranged between $3,200 and $15,000 per year. The average total compensation package ranged between $136,702 and $302,510 per year. Most of these professionals also report receiving health care benefits such as medical, dental and vision care.
Starting salaries for trauma surgeons are higher than many other occupations, even for those with less than one year of experience. Salaries often increase as professional experience is gained. Payscale reported 38 percent of trauma surgeons had between one and for years of experience and earned average salaries ranging between $99,582 and $247,912 per year. For those with 10 to 19 years of experience, average salaries ranged between $200,595 and $314,466 per year.
Most trauma surgeons work for hospitals, acute care hospitals, general surgery services and medical service providers. Payscale reported the highest wages by acute care hospitals, where average salaries ranged between $140,008 and $281,770 per year. Those working for hospitals earned average salaries ranging between $126,280 and $272,602 per year and those working for general surgery services earned $128,633 and $278,079 per year.
Out of 172 trauma surgeons reporting their wages to Payscale, popular cities included New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Boston for this occupation. The highest wages were reported in Philadelphia, where trauma surgeons earned average salaries ranging between $200,000 and $292,500 per year. In New York, average salaries ranged between $122,829 and $274,689 and in Los Angeles, average salaries ranged between $162,247 and $250,000 per year.