What Is the Salary of an Orthopedic Doctor?

Orthopedic doctors, like many physicians, earn a high salary compared to most American professions. These professionals earn a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) like other physicians, but they specialize in problems related to the bones and skeletal system.

Orthopedic Doctor Salary

According to a January 2016 report from PayScale.com, orthopedic surgeons earned a median salary of $333,097 annually. The total compensation package for a physician or surgeon in orthopedics may increase with yearly bonuses and commissions. Additionally, salary ranges may vary based on work location, employer and experience.

Orthopedic Doctor Overview

Orthopedic doctors are medical physicians who specialize in the musculoskeletal system - specifically, injuries such as broken bones, spinal injuries, deformities and arthritis. Orthopedic surgery, physical therapy, orthopedic pediatrics and rheumatology are divisions of orthopedics. As orthopedic surgeons, these physicians repair joints, tendons, nerves, muscles and ligaments.

Though orthopedic doctors are most commonly surgeons, surgery is not always required to fix an injury. These medical professionals are trained to perform non-surgical treatments as well. Physical and occupational therapists often assist orthopedic surgeons during rehabilitation following surgical or non-surgical treatments.


To become an orthopedic doctor, approximately 13 years of schooling are needed, including four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school and five years of a residency. A fellowship is optional, but it gives students a chance to focus on their chosen area of specialty, such as joint replacement, sports medicine or musculoskeletal oncology.

In medical school, students are required to take core courses in biochemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology. During their final two years, they will take part in clinical rotations, where they are exposed to all medical specialties like surgery, pediatrics and psychiatry.


To practice as an orthopedic physician, medical school graduates must pass the United States Medical Licensure and the American Board of Medical Specialties examinations. Board certification is not required, but many physicians pursue it as an additional credential. Licensing differs by state, though once licensed, the orthopedic doctor may practice in any of the 50 states.

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