How Much Does a Surgical Intern Make? Average Surgical Intern Salary

How much does a surgical intern make?

If you’re considering a career in surgery, it’s essential to understand the surgical intern salary and what to expect during your residency training.

This guide will provide insight into the average surgical intern salary, factors that influence their earnings, and the promising future that awaits them in this demanding yet rewarding field.

The Average Surgical Intern Salary 

So, how much do surgical interns make? The average annual surgical intern salary in the United States ranges between $55,000 and $65,000. However, several factors can impact this range, including location, hospital type, and unionization.

Location Matters: Do Surgical Interns Get Paid More in Certain Areas?

The region and setting play a significant role in determining how much surgical interns make. Urban centers generally offer higher salaries than rural areas. For instance, a surgical intern in San Francisco might earn closer to $70,000, while one in a smaller Midwestern town could expect around $58,000.

Hospital Type: Are Surgical Interns Paid More at Academic Medical Centers?

Academic medical centers often provide higher salaries for surgical interns compared to community hospitals. This is because academic centers typically receive more federal research funding, allowing them to pay residents more.

Unionization: How Does It Affect Surgical Intern Salaries?

Some hospitals are unionized, and the union negotiates a standard salary for residents. This can lead to more consistent salaries across different hospitals in the same region.

Other Factors Influencing Surgical Intern Salaries

In addition to location and setting, several other factors can influence how much a surgical intern makes:

  • Experience: As surgical interns progress through their residency program, their salaries typically increase. A first-year intern might earn slightly less than a fifth-year intern.
  • Specialization: Certain surgical specialties, such as neurosurgery or orthopedic surgery, are in higher demand and may offer higher salaries for residents.
  • Debt: Many medical students graduate with significant student loan debt. Some hospitals offer loan repayment programs or other financial incentives to attract residents, which can indirectly affect their overall compensation.

Also Read: Understanding Nurse Intern Salary

The Future: Earning Potential for Surgeons

While the surgical intern salary may seem modest initially, the long-term earning potential for surgeons is quite high. With dedication and experience, surgeons can reach annual salaries exceeding $500,000. Several factors can contribute to increased earnings:

  • Subspecialization: Some surgeons choose to subspecialize in a specific area of surgery, which can lead to even higher salaries.
  • Private Practice: Surgeons who work in private practice typically earn more than those who work in hospitals.
  • Academic Medicine: Surgeons who teach at medical schools or conduct research may earn additional income beyond their clinical salaries.

Are You Paid as a Surgical Intern?

So, do you get paid as a surgical intern? Absolutely! While the surgical intern salary may not be as high as a fully licensed surgeon, the invaluable formal training and mentoring received from renowned teaching hospitals and surgical programs make it a worthwhile investment in your future career.

Also Read: Top 10 Intern Interview Questions and Answers


Q. How much do surgeon interns make?

Surgeon interns, also known as surgical residents or surgical interns, typically make between $55,000 and $65,000 per year in the United States.

Q. How much do intern surgeons make an hour?

Intern surgeons make around $24 to $31 per hour based on working around 80 hours per week during residency.

Q. How much do surgical interns make a year?

The average annual surgical intern salary in the U.S. ranges between $55,000 and $65,000 per year.

Q. How much does a first-year surgical intern make?

First-year surgical interns may earn slightly less than more senior residents. Their salary likely falls on the lower end of the $55,000-$65,000 range.

Q. Is it worth it to become a surgical intern despite the low salary?

This is a personal decision that depends on your financial situation, career goals, and passion for medicine. Consider the long-term benefits of a surgical career, such as high earning potential and job satisfaction.

Q. How does the salary of a surgical intern compare to other medical interns or residents?

Surgical interns generally receive comparable salaries to other medical interns or residents, with some variation based on the specific medical field.

Q. Are there differences in pay between surgical interns in academic hospitals and those in private healthcare institutions?

Salaries may differ between academic and private institutions, with academic hospitals sometimes offering additional benefits related to education and research.

Q. How does the salary of a surgical intern progress over the course of their training?

Salaries tend to increase as surgical interns progress through their training, transitioning to higher levels of responsibility.

Q. What is the impact of specialization or subspecialization on the salary of a surgical intern?

Specialization or subspecialization can influence salary, with certain specialized fields potentially commanding higher compensation.

Q. Are there differences in salary between different surgical specialties for interns?

Yes, salaries can vary between different surgical specialties based on factors such as demand, complexity, and specialization.