Residency for Surgeons | Requirements | Salary

Residency for Surgeons – Overview

A surgical residency is a required hospital-based training program for aspiring surgeons to meet the eligibility criteria for board certification in their chosen surgical specialty.

If you’ve ever been in an operation room, you must have noticed an entire team of medical professionals is present to assist the head surgeon.

This team includes medical students and residents – trainees – from various sub-specialties.

During the residency period, the aspiring medical trainees get an opportunity for hands-on experience handling patients under the direct supervision of a certified, professional surgeon.

About Residency for Surgeons

General surgeons are trained to manage a broad spectrum of diseases and injuries primarily in the abdomen, breast, vascular system, skin, and neck, requiring surgical treatment.

These medical professionals are involved in diagnosing and treating patients. Besides this, they are also responsible for pre, post and intra-operative care.

These professionals work to provide extensive management of trauma and offer critical care to patients.

With a wide scope, the general surgery sub-specialty normally requires operating on the breast, abdomen, skin, peripheral vasculature and neck.

Today, Orthopedic, neurologic, urologic, and thoracic surgeries are typically performed by specialists in those fields in the US. These specialists are trained and certified to perform various complex surgeries to treat various types of orthopedic, neurologic, urologic and thoracic disorders.

Additional Details of Residency for Surgeons

The training period for a general surgery residency typically lasts 5 years. As a resident surgeon, you can choose from various advanced and categorical positions available in your choice of healthcare settings.

These are the minimum requirements for effective residency for surgeons. Some programs may require you to undergo a longer duration of residency training in surgery.

Residency for Surgeons

Residency for Surgeons

Once you complete the residency for surgeons, you are then eligible to choose between several surgical subspecialties, such as:

  • Breast surgery (1 year)
  • Colorectal surgery (1 year)
  • Cardiothoracic surgery (2-3 years)
  • Hand surgery (1 year)
  • Critical Care Medicine (1-2 years)
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery (1 year)
  • Pediatric surgery (1-2 years)
  • Surgical Oncology (1-2 years)
  • Surgical Critical Care (1 year)
  • Transplant surgery (1-2 years)
  • Vascular surgery (1-2 years)

What is the average or median salary for Residency for Surgeons?

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the median academic salary for residency for surgeons in the US is around $61,000 to $65,000 per year.

In addition, the median clinical salary for certified and trained surgeons in the United States is around $358,000 (Median, Academic Salary) to $383,000 (Median, Clinical Salary) per year.

What are the Training Requirements for Residency for Surgeons?

Surgical residency duration is accurately stated as 5 years for general surgery, aligning with ACGME requirements, with additional years for those pursuing subspecialty fellowships.

This training needs to be undertaken in an ACGME-accredited general surgery residency training program. In some cases, this training period is reduced to 4 years for those pursuing certain fellowships.

Approximately, there are around 258 ACGME-accredited general surgery residency training programs available for aspirants to pursue in the United States.

What is a Residency for Surgeons?

As mentioned earlier, residency for surgeons is an extremely crucial training period.

During this, budding medical professionals get trained directly under the supervision of certified professional surgeons. An entire team of medical professionals is responsible for patient care in surgical settings.

Let’s take a closer look at some members of this surgical team:

Attending Surgeon

The attending surgeon is someone who has completed their training and is completely qualified to perform surgical treatments.

The attending surgeon is responsible for surgical care and supervising the surgical team.

This team includes medical students, residents and other healthcare professionals. The attending surgeon is in charge of training surgery residents and ensuring that they are fully competent to perform surgery by themselves.

The attending surgeon is the leader of the surgical team and is mainly responsible for patient care.


A resident is a doctor-in-training who has just completed their education at a medical school. They are under training for a surgical sub-specialty.

Residency for surgeons may last around 5 years normally but can even take longer for some cases. During the first year of residency training, the medical aspirants are called interns.

Surgical residents are in charge of providing care to patients but under the direct supervision of the attending surgeon/physician.

As they gain more hands-on experience, the attending surgeon usually allows resident surgeons to take larger roles and responsibilities during the training period.

Medical Student

These are an aspiring medical professional who has just completed their four-year college degree and are not attending the four years of medical school.

Here, students learn about surgery, medicine and patient care. They interact with patients regularly, which helps them to examine and evaluate health problems with the patients.

They work under the direct supervision of a certified physician/surgeon. Medical students are allowed into the surgery to learn from the surgical team.

As a medical student, you are not allowed to make decisions, perform surgery or sign any orders.

Chief Resident

Chief residents are not medical students but are doctors in the final year of their residency training. They are mere months away from getting their certification and state license to practice.

Chief residents get to participate in numerous surgeries by the time they complete their residency training. The extensive training and experience enable chief residents to lead the team of residents and make regular decisions.


Residency for surgeons is an incredibly important part of medical training. This period is highly important for budding surgeons to get firsthand experience working with trained, certified, professional surgeons and the entire surgical team.

Make sure to choose an ACGME-accredited medical setting for your residency for surgeons training in the US.

See Also

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