After graduating from medical school, one has to go through an internship training program where they become a full resident during the second year of the training.
While being a surgeon is one of the highest paying medical jobs in the U.S., surgical interns earn entry-level salaries that gradually increase as they progress through the residency training program.
This article will focus on how much surgical interns make, what they do, the perks & benefits they enjoy, and the highest paying cities for surgical interns in the United States.
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Who’s a surgical intern?
A surgical intern is a medical professional in their first year of the post-medical school training program. All medical graduates are required to complete a year of internship before moving into their residency, which will last for an additional three to seven years. Surgical interns perform their duties under the supervision of practicing, licensed surgeons and must complete their residency and obtain appropriate licenses before becoming independent.
What does a surgical intern do?
Surgical interns perform basic, non-procedural functions that allow practicing surgeons and nurses to provide comprehensive patient care. Essential tasks the interns perform include:
- Writing patients’ medical history and physical examination reports
- Speaking with patients and their families about surgical procedures and answering their questions
- Drawing test samples and reading lab stats
- Obtaining patient, family, or guardian signatures on consent-to-surgery documents
- Helping nurses and putting in their orders
- Initiating discharge planning with guidance from senior or chief resident
- Overseeing the patients’ daily care, including daily examinations, education, requesting consultations, and writing daily notes
- Keeping tabs on the patient’s progress and reporting any changes in the patient’s status to the senior resident
- Performing minor procedures for which they have obtained certification of competency
- Assisting senior residents in the operating room and being first on call to help patients in the emergency room.
How much do surgical interns make in 2023?
The average for surgical interns is currently $34,614, with the location and institution being the top determining factors. For instance, Stanford School of Medicine pays general surgical interns $69,763 a year while those at the University of California San Diego earn $57,233 in their first year and as high as $75,000 in their eighth year. Surgical interns earn a mean annual salary of $58,642 at the University of Minnesota Medical School. In a nutshell, the amount surgical interns make varies from institution to institution.
Perks and benefits for surgical interns
Although their salaries remain constant through their first year, surgical interns still get to enjoy a variety of perks and benefits. Notable ones include:
- Health insurance & medical benefits
- Student loan repayment programs
- On-the-job expenses stipends
- Living stipends
- Educational stipends
- Certification & Licensure allowance
1). Health insurance & medical benefits
Surgical interns enjoy the usual employment benefits such as health coverage, paid leave, and sick leave. Apart from life insurance, they also receive medical, dental, and vision coverage. Most of these healthcare plans can cover their spouses and children as well.
2). Student loan repayment programs
Surgical interns can also enjoy student loan repayment programs aimed at helping them repay outstanding student loans they incurred during their time in medical school. Although the amount the programs cover varies depending on a number of factors, it gives the interns some breathing space as they begin their medical careers.
3). Stipends for on-the-job expenses
There are surgical internship programs that help interns by providing stipends to cover expenses such as transportation & parking fees, cellphone services, laundering services, meals while on-call, uniforms, and pagers.
4). Living stipends
Surgical interns can also enjoy living stipends to help pay for occasional expenses such as groceries, utilities, and moving costs. The amount they receive varies depending on their location, programs, and participating facilities.
5). Educational stipends
Surgical internships may provide stipends to cover continuing education for the interns. The stipends help pay for educational expenses such as learning materials, examinations, and graduation fees.
6). Certification and licensure allowance
Surgical interns also get allowances to cover the costs they incur while obtaining their licenses. There are programs that also cover the costs interns incur when acquiring additional certifications after medical school.
Highest paying cities for surgical interns
As of 2022, the highest paying cities for surgical interns in the U.S. are Sunnyvale (CA), Santa Rosa (CA), Cambridge (MA), Vacaville (CA), New York City (NY), Fairfield (CA), San Mateo (CA), Lynn (MA), Anchorage (AK), and Baltimore (MD).
In conclusion, medical school graduates spend one year as surgical interns where they earn an average salary of $34,614. The salary remains constant for a year but they enjoy multiple perks and benefits. After completing a year as an intern, the second year is their first as a surgical resident, which can take three to seven years to complete.