Career Guide


Uni Compare  · Nov 5th 2020

Do you want to change people’s lives and be at the forefront of the medical field?


A surgeon is a highly respected and rewarding career which deals with a range of patients, from emergency operations to planned surgeries, your work will have a life-changing impact.

Is it the right path for you to take and is it really as hard as people say? Read our surgeon career guide below to find out!

Surgeon career

What is a surgeon?

Under the surgeon job description, a surgeon in the UK is a medically qualified doctor who operates on patients to treat injury or disease. The surgeon career involves repairing, replacing or removing a damage or disease part of the body. A doctor or surgeon will also carry out ward rounds and visit outpatient clinics, as well as teach junior doctors and conduct administrative duties. Becoming a surgeon takes several years of commitment, training and hard work. Competition for places on surgeon degree and job vacancies is fierce.

There are several different branches of surgery jobs, from a consultant surgeon to cardiothoracic, general, and neurosurgery, as well as otorhinolaryngology, oral and maxillofacial surgeons and even vascular. Surgeons can specialise in paediatric, trauma and orthopaedic, plastic and urology. For details on individual branches, like the orthopaedic surgeon job description, you can visit the NHS website.

The reports revealed that men were paid the highest bonuses six times more than women.

How to become a surgeon in the UK?

What qualifications do you need to be a surgeon? You will need to embark on studying a degree in medicine which is recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC). Surgeon qualifications take five to six years to complete, although, if a candidate has a degree in a subject not in medicine (at 2:1 or higher and is science related), they can apply for a four-year accelerated graduate entry medicine programme, which can also be referred to as a graduate entry programme.

What qualifications do I need to be a surgeon, apart from a degree?

Surgeons will then carry out foundation training within hospitals in the UK, which usually lasts around two years. After the first year, individuals become a fully-registered medical practitioner. During the two years you will undergo surgeon training in a hospital as a junior doctor and work on a rotational basis by completing work in different departments, including surgery.

According to a report, more than half of the consultants in England received a bonus, ranging between £17,000 and £77,000.

Then you can start your surgery training, where ten specialisms are possible. Training for the various specialisms are split into two years of core training - CT1 and CT2 - followed by up to six years of ST3 to ST8, also known as specialty training. During CT1 and CT2, candidates can work in a variety of surgical settings to gain as much experience as they can, and each post lasts around four to six months. During this period, trainee surgeons need to pass the Membership of The Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) exam.

The final stage is passing specialty training to gain the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT), which permits you to join the GMC Specialist Register and apply for vacancies under surgery consultant roles.

Surgeon career guide

How much do surgeons make in the UK?

How much does a surgeon make? The average surgeon salary for junior doctors in their foundation year (FY1) is around £27,146. For the Foundation Year 2 (FY2), the salary of a surgeon is around £31,422. A doctor in specialty training can expect a surgeon salary in the UK beginning at £37,191 with the surgeon pay being as high as £47,132.

How much do surgeons earn as newly qualified consultants?

The consultant surgeon salary at a basic level is reported to be £77,913, but the surgeon pay in the UK can be as much as £105,042 depending on the length of service. Furthermore, the consultant doctor salary can rise for those working in the private sector, and a doctor consultant salary can increase after consultants apply for local and national Clinical Excellence Awards. These figures are based on the NHS surgeon salary as a guide.

However, the surgeon UK salary can actually be much, much higher, as The Telegraph reported in 2018 a surgeon's salary being as high as £740,000 within the NHS. The surgeon wage in the UK was recorded as receiving thousands in bonuses on top of the average surgeon pay, with some seeing as much as £77,000 on top of their earnings.

Under the surgeon job description, a surgeon in the UK is a medically qualified doctor who operates on patients to treat injury or disease.

How much do surgeons get paid and is there a gender pay gap?

The reports revealed that men were paid the highest bonuses six times more than women. How much does an NHS consultant earn? On average, the general surgeon salary for full-time male consultants for the year 2016 to 2017 was around £127,683 including bonuses, but the UK surgeon salary for women at the same level was £113,874.

Within the NHS, how much money do surgeons make with additional benefits? The basic pay for consultants can be increased by bonuses, and during that year almost two thirds of the value of the annual salary was dished out. Therefore a pediatric surgeon salary, at consultancy level, could be £103,000 at the maximum, but the individual could receive £77,000 in annual bonuses based on the reports. This figure can be topped up from surgeon salary in the UK within private practices as well.


How much do surgeons make with bonuses?

According to the report, more than half of the consultants in England received a bonus, ranging between £17,000 and £77,000. And how much does a surgeon earn in the top-earning ranks? Through the NHS, the highest earning male consultant bagged £739,460 and the best-paid woman received £281,616.

Therefore, answering how much does a plastic surgeon earn is not a simple question in relation to bonuses and private work. In addition there may be salary differences between the ten specialisms, with the paediatric surgeon salary in the UK having the potential to differ from an orthopaedic surgeon.

Regarding possible doctor prospects after successful training to become a surgeon, individuals can take on more responsibilities and clinical duties over time, as well as move into managerial roles. From being promoted to a lead consultant and clinical director to even a medical director for a hospital trust, the possibilities are endless. Surgeon jobs can also take you to the field of scientific research or an academic career, where you can teach future doctors.

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