Plastic surgery has always been in high demand with the rich and the famous. In fact, almost every celebrity has had some kind of surgery done and they are more than willing to pay for the best doctors to work on them.
Some plastic surgeons are popular that they have the same lifestyles as some of the rich and famous.
This is really attractive to most people and you may be lured into considering plastic/cosmetic surgery as a career option. However, you should consider a simple fact. Voluntary beautification surgery is a field that is based on skill and technique.
Not every cosmetic surgeon is successful and most of them do not work on celebrities. Almost 90% of all surgeons have successful careers but they spent more than 12 years studying to reach the position they are at present. If you are still thinking about becoming a plastic surgeon, here are a few things you should know.
What Do These Surgeons Do?
Although the terms are used in exchange for each other, you should know that reconstructive surgeons and cosmetic surgeons have slightly different job descriptions. Cosmetic surgeons usually do elective or voluntary surgery for esthetic or beautification.
Plastic or reconstructive surgeons may work on almost any surgery that is designed to increase or restore a body part to normal functioning.
For example, a woman might have had a mastectomy to remove her breasts due to breast cancer. In this case, a plastic or reconstructive surgeon will rebuild her breasts. However, a cosmetic surgeon will usually deal with breast augmentation or breast reduction surgeries. You should also know that reconstructive surgeons are usually quite familiar with cosmetic surgery procedures as well.
Plastic Surgeon Salary Range: How Much Do They Earn?
According to CNN Money, the average plastic surgeon salary ranges from $264,000 to $527,000. However, this does not include expertise and technical knowledge. You also know that cosmetic surgeons and plastic surgeons are different. As a result, the average cosmetic plastic surgeon salary may be higher than this average limit of $527,000.
However, these surgeons are not the highest earning surgeons in the medical profession. For example, according to Medscape, orthopedists, cardiologists, gastroenterologists and radiologists earned higher salaries than these surgeons. This is surprising when you consider the popularity of cosmetic surgery but the facts back up this finding quite clearly.
According to studies, only about 14% of these surgeons earn more than $317,000 and only about 11% earned more than $110,000. This salary range was variable depending on where and how the surgeon was employed.
For example, most surgeons worked in hospitals. As a result, they were paid salaries that included a bonus, profit-sharing, medical and dental insurance, paid vacations, etc. Surgeons who worked at hospitals can clinics also show an increase in compensation since 2012 with male surgeons earning more than female surgeons.
Location also seems to have an impact on salaries and compensation. For example, some areas have a higher demand for trained surgeons. According to the same study carried out by Medscape, surgeons in the Northwest earned the most followed by the Southwest. Surgeons in the Southeast earned the least. Position was also responsible for income.
For example, surgeons who worked in a multi-specialty group practice earned the more. This was followed by surgeons who worked in a healthcare organization, in solo practice, single specialty group practice, hospitals and finally in academic practice.
How Do You Become a Surgeon?
A plastic surgeon education route involves preparation from the high school level. We’ve laid out the rough pathway here but educational requirements do tend to change regularly. This is what you have to do.
• High School — You have to start by taking additional human biology, anatomy, and physiology classes. You can add to these courses by taking medical ethics, drawing, math, etc. to help you with your career choice.
To gain familiarity with the career option you have chosen, it would be a good idea to work at a hospital as a volunteer as well. Remember, in order to become a reconstructive surgeon you have to become a doctor first and these foundation courses will prove invaluable.
• College — At college, you should take additional science courses that will help you gain admission in medical college. Most colleges also have pre-med courses that will teach you the pre-requisites of medical science. Once you have completed your courses, you can then sit for the MCAT or the Medical College Admissions Test. This is a highly competitive test and it is followed by a personal interview at the college as well. Please note that you will need a high GPA, high SAT scores, extracurricular advantages, volunteer skills, awards and honors, letters of recommendation, and even other advantages before you can gain admission into a medical college.
• Medical College — Once you have gained admission at a medical college, it takes five years to complete the course. After you complete the course, you can then gain admission in to a post graduate course or a residency course. The competition is intense for a PS residency. There are very few colleges that offer the program and the actual length of the program will vary from college to college.
For example, some schools offer a general and plastic surgery program that is six years long. Other schools may offer a program that is only two years long. Residency programs usually include reconstructive and cosmetic surgery techniques in the training program. In case you want, you can also specialize in niche areas like the head and neck, wrist, etc. In order to become an expert in these areas, surgeons will have to complete a fellowship or a PhD in these areas. Fellows or doctorates have the option of teaching or pursing research opportunities in their niche field.
All cosmetic surgeons have to complete a licensing exam to be allowed to practice in the country. Please note that the more you study, the more exams you have to clear to be allowed to work on patients.
The Job Outlook
There is always a demand for good doctors and the US has already been experiencing a shortage of trained surgeons. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that there will be an 18% increase in demand for trained physicians and surgeons in the coming decade. As a result, this is a great time to get into the profession or to specialize in plastic, cosmetic or reconstructive surgery.
This aspect of surgery is a great sub-specialty that combines functionality with beauty. However, the income made by the surgeon depends on his skills and the results that he produces. As a result, a good surgeon will require not only good skills but good communication and social skills as well. Patients require reassurance and this means that the surgeon should be able to assuage fears but still provide an accurate idea of how the surgery will go through.
Learn what you need to know about the plastic surgery industry and what you need to get started.