Everything About A Plastic Surgeon Career
You consider becoming a plastic surgeon but want to get additional information before making your final career choice?
Great! Stick with me since I will show you everything you need to know about being a plastic surgeon in the following chapters.
Not only will you learn how much you can make as a plastic surgeon, but we will also talk about work-life balance, job prospects, future outlook, educational requirements, duties, responsibilities, job satisfaction and much more.
You will also find an FAQ section at the end of this article where I answer the most common questions about working as a plastic surgeon.
After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of whether you still want to aspire to a plastic surgeon career or rather want to go for a different job instead.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
What does a Plastic Surgeon do?
Plastic surgeons try to reconstruct or improve the visual appearance of the bodies of their clients.
Apart from doing breast augmentation and other aesthetic surgeries, they also perform reconstructive plastic surgery to reconstruct bodies that had been adversely affected by accidents or illness.
Responsibilities & Duties of a Plastic Surgeon
- Reconstruct bodies of clients
- Improve the visual appearance of the bodies of clients
- Make clients look younger
- Consult people about plastic surgery
- Make sure that plastic surgeries are done in a safe manner
- Assure to meet hygienic requirements
- Follow legal rules and regulations related to cosmetic surgery
- Tell people about the risks related to plastic surgery
- Assess whether clients are eligible for plastic surgery or not
- Correct poor plastic surgery treatments in the past
- Providing emotional support for patients
What a Typical Day of a Plastic Surgeon looks like?
Most plastic surgeons start their workday between 8 and 10 a.m.
The first thing they do when they get to work is to talk to their secretary and other team members to explain the plan for the day so that everyone knows what to expect.
After doing some organizational work and making sure that everything is clean and hygienic, plastic surgeons welcome many different clients per day.
Not only will they perform surgeries, but a big part of the day of cosmetic surgeons is to consult clients and assess whether plastic surgery makes sense for them or not.
Apart from doing your actual work, you will often also have to support people on an emotional level so that they are able to overcome difficult periods of their lives.
After working in this style for many hours, plastic surgeons usually finish their workday between 5 and 7 p.m.
Plastic Surgeon Salary 2021
Plastic Surgeon salary brackets 2021
|Salary Brackets||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Top 10 %||> $398,000||> $198.93|
|Top 25 %||$315,000 – $354,000||$157.41 – $176.89|
|Bottom 25 %||$119,000 – $132,000||$59.43 – $65.92|
|Bottom 10 %||$98,000 – $105,000||$48.94 – $52.47|
|Range||$98,000 – $472,000||$48.94 – $235.88|
Plastic Surgeon salary 2021 by expert level
|Level of Experience||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Entry level||$98,000 – $119,000||$48.94 – $59.42|
|Junior||$115,000 – $168,000||$57.46 – $83.88|
|Professional||$163,000 – $224,000||$81.39 – $111.93|
|Senior Professional||$216,000 – $289,000||$107.97 – $144.48|
|Expert||$274,000 – $368,000||$136.89 – $183.91|
|Top Expert||$352,000 – $472,000||$175.92 – $235.87|
Plastic Surgeon salary by state 2021 (average)
|State||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|District of Columbia||$234,900||$117.44|
Job Security of Plastic Surgeons
Plastic surgeons have pretty decent job security since educational barriers to entry to be able to work in this field are pretty high and not many people are able to do this job while the demand for plastic surgery has been increasing over the past decades.
Hence, you will not have to worry about losing your job since you will find a new job pretty soon if you are really good at what you are doing.
Future Outlook of Plastic Surgeons
Cosmetic surgeons also have excellent job prospects in the near future since the demand for plastic surgeries will continue to stay high while there will be a lack of qualified cosmetic surgeons in many regions.
Consequently, you don’t have to worry about becoming unemployed as a plastic surgeon anytime soon and can also expect a great future outlook with lots of money to be made in this field.
Working Hours of Plastic Surgeons
Plastic surgeons usually start their workday between 8 and 10 a.m. and quit their workday between 5 and 7 p.m.
Thus, you will often come home from work relatively early and will have enough time to meet up with your favorite people after work while many other people like financial analysts who work in demanding jobs in the corporate world will not have this luxury and will often have to work far longer.
Job Satisfaction of Plastic Surgeons
Most plastic surgeons are pretty happy with their jobs since they can make really good money from what they are doing while they still don’t have to work much overtime and also have a rather standard workweek.
In turn, they are able to live a fancy lifestyle while they still have enough time to spend with their family.
Promotion Opportunities of Plastic Surgeons
Promotion opportunities for plastic surgeons are pretty limited.
However, you can still start your own doctor’s office instead of working for someone else if you want to make really good money and also want to have full control over your workday and your career in general.
Career Levels of Plastic Surgeons
- Junior plastic surgeon
- Senior plastic surgeon
- Plastic surgeon managing a team of people
- Plastic surgeon managing a doctor’s office
- Owner of a plastic surgery business
Fields and Types of Plastic Surgeons
- Plastic surgeon focused on breast augmentation and enhancement
- Cosmetic surgeon specialized in skin transplantation
- Plastic surgeon focused on facial contouring
- Plastic surgeon specialized in body contouring
- Cosmetic surgeon focused on nasal surgery
- Plastic surgeon specialized in hair replacement
- Plastic surgeon with expertise in facelifts and rejuvenation
- Plastic surgeon specialized in treating patients injured by accidents
- Plastic surgeons focused on people who suffer from skin diseases
Educational Requirements for Plastic Surgeons
Plastic surgeons need to get a doctor’s degree in medicine (M.D.) before they are able to work in this field.
Consequently, you will have to spend many years on education and before making this strong commitment, you should really ask yourself whether it is worth it to spend so much time and money on your career.
How to become a Plastic Surgeon
- Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a plastic surgeon
- Enroll for a bachelor’s degree in medicine or surgery
- Finish your bachelor’s degree with decent grades
- Apply for a doctor’s degree in medicine
- Get some practical experience in the medical field
- Get your doctor’s degree
- Become a licensed doctor
- Apply for jobs as a plastic surgeon
- Start your own plastic surgeon office
Character Traits you need as a Plastic Surgeon
- You should have a strong emotional mindset
- Attention to detail helps you get great results for your patients
- You should be a good listener
- Patience helps you during complex surgeries
- Persistence helps you overcome difficult periods of your career
- Ability to deal with pressure in an emotionally healthy manner
- You should be empathic so that clients trust you
- Willingness to deal with high levels of responsibility on a daily basis
- Ability to deal with difficult people in a healthy manner
Hard Skills for Plastic Surgeons
- Excellent knowledge of plastic surgery
- Good vision helps you get your work done in the best possible manner
- Knowledge of latest beauty trends
- Knowledge of how to calm down your patients
- Ability to gain the trust of your clients
- Knowledge of hygienic requirements related to plastic surgery
- Knowledge of laws, rules and regulations related to working in this field
- Digital skills help you promote your business
- You should offer great customer service so that patients will come back to you in the long run
- Good coordination skills
- Good problem-solving skills help as well
- Math skills help you run your office profitably
Soft Skills for Plastic Surgeons
- Confidence helps you overcome difficult periods of your career
- Ability to deal with snarky comments in a healthy manner
- Empathy for patients who have a bad day
- You should be supportive to gain the trust of clients
- Good organizational skills help you get things done
- Good time management skills help you offer great customer service
- Ability to deal with stress and pressure in a healthy manner
- You should understand what drives your clients
- Ability to deal with critical feedback
Exit Options for Plastic Surgeons
While plastic surgeons are often able to work in other medical fields, they are often also pretty specialized and have a hard time switching to a completely different industry.
Plastic Surgeon – Similar Careers
- Nurse practitioner
- Nurse assistant
Plastic Surgeon Career FAQs
Is working as a plastic surgeon physically demanding?
Working as a plastic surgeon can be physically demanding since you will work with your hands for many hours per day.
However, compared to construction workers and other people who have to lift heavy stuff all day long, you will still have a rather relaxed life in this regard.
Is working as a plastic surgeon mentally demanding?
Working as a plastic surgeon is heavily mentally and emotionally demanding since you will have to do complex surgeries on a regular basis and mistakes on your side could lead to serious adverse outcomes for your patients.
Consequently, you always need to stay focused at work to minimize the risk of serious mistakes.
Is it dangerous to work as a plastic surgeon?
Being a plastic surgeon is not dangerous.
While you might be at higher risk of getting infected by diseases at work compared to the average person, you will still not be at equally high risk as police officers or firefighters who have to risk their lives on a daily basis and never know whether they will come back home from work or not.
How long do plastic surgeons stay in their jobs?
Plastic surgeons usually stay in this field for many decades since most of them are pretty happy with their jobs since they can make really good money while they benefit from great job security and also come home from work relatively early.
Is it easy for plastic surgeons to find a new job?
Since plastic surgeons are in high demand right now and educational barriers to entry to be able to work in this field are pretty high, there is a shortage of good plastic surgeons in many regions and it will therefore be pretty easy for plastic surgeons to find a new job.
Is it hard to switch from being a plastic surgeon to another field of work?
While plastic surgeons have great job prospects in their field, they are also pretty specialized and often have a hard time finding a job in a completely different field since they often lack the skills needed in the job market right now.
Do plastic surgeons have a high social status?
Plastic surgeons have a pretty high social status.
Even though they don’t have the same high social standing as doctors who save lives on a regular basis, cosmetic surgeons are still admired by many people out there and you will have a much higher social standing than the average person.
Can you help out your family and friends as a plastic surgeon?
You as a plastic surgeon can help out your family and friends since you can show them opportunities how they can improve their visual appearance.
Moreover, since you will hold a doctor’s degree in medicine, you will also be able to consult your loved ones in various other parts of medicine in case they need medical treatment.
Can plastic surgeons work remotely?
Since plastic surgeons have to perform surgeries in person, they are not able to work remotely but have to commute to work and back every day.
Consequently, while many other people like financial controllers who work in classical office jobs are able to work from home quite often, you will be far less flexible as a cosmetic surgeon in this regard.
Is it easy to find a partner as a plastic surgeon?
It is pretty easy to find a partner for a long-term relationship as a plastic surgeon since you will be able to make really good money while you will also have a high social standing and great job security.
In turn, you will be considered an excellent provider and will have an easy time in the dating market.
Do plastic surgeons have to work on weekends?
Plastic surgeons don’t have to work on weekends.
However, if you have your own doctor’s office, you might still want to work during those times to maximize your income since the more jobs you get done, the more money you can make in the long run.
Do plastic surgeons have to work on holidays?
Plastic surgeons also don’t have to work on holidays.
Instead, you can use those days to make nice trips with your favorite people or your family or just spend them on your hobbies.
Do plastic surgeons have to work at nighttime?
Plastic surgeons don’t have to work in the late evening or at nighttime.
Instead, you will often quit your workday in the late afternoon or early evening and will therefore have enough time to meet up with your favorite people after work while many other people like waiters or train drivers often have to work at nighttime and don’t have this luxury.
Do you have to travel as a plastic surgeon?
You don’t have to travel as a plastic surgeon.
Apart from commuting to work and back, you will be able to spend lots of time with your family at home while consultants and many other people who work in the corporate world will be away for business trips quite often.
Are plastic surgeon pensions good?
Thanks to the good money they can make during their active careers, plastic surgeons also receive really good pensions.
Consequently, most cosmetic surgeons don’t have to worry about financial problems once they get older and quit their active careers as many other people have to do since they are often no longer to pay their bills once they retire.
Are plastic surgeon salaries going up?
Plastic surgeon salaries have been going up significantly over the past years and this trend will likely continue in the future since the demand for plastic surgery tends to increase while there is a lack of good cosmetic surgeons in many regions.
Can you have a positive impact on society as a plastic surgeon?
While you can make many people happy and improve their overall quality of life, you will still not have the same big social impact as teachers or professors who can alter the thought process of many young people on a regular basis.
How long does it take to become a plastic surgeon?
Since you will need to get a doctor’s degree in medicine (M.D.) before you are able to work in this field, you will have to spend between 6 and 10 years to become a plastic surgeon.
Consequently, you will also have to spend lots of money on education and you should make sure that working as a cosmetic surgeon is what you want to do for quite a long time to make it worth the initial investment.
Is it difficult to become a plastic surgeon?
Since you will have to get lots of fancy education, becoming a plastic surgeon can be pretty demanding, especially if you don’t know how you should finance your degree and also don’t want to take on student loan debt.
In such a case, you would have to work like crazy for many years and many people crack under the pressure that comes along with it.
Do you need to be smart to work as a plastic surgeon?
While you don’t need to be a genius for becoming a plastic surgeon, you should still have a decent IQ so that you can pass all the exams necessary to get your doctor’s degree so that you are officially able to work in this field.
Do plastic surgeons have a good work-life balance?
Most plastic surgeons have pretty decent work-life balance since they don’t have to work on weekends or holidays while they also come home from work relatively early.
Thus, most cosmetic surgeons are pretty happy with the mix of money they can make from their jobs and the amount of leisure they have.
Do plastic surgeons have to work many extra hours?
You don’t have to work many extra hours during your cosmetic surgeon career.
However, your working hours will still greatly determine how much money you will make and if you really want to maximize your income, you should still be open to working long hours on a regular basis.
How to maximize your chances of becoming a plastic surgeon?
The more time you spend on your education, the more likely it will be to pass your exams and to finally get the opportunity to work in this field.
Thus, to maximize your chances of becoming a plastic surgeon, you should study as hard as possible and you may also want to get some practical experience in the medical industry to make some important contacts.
Can plastic surgeons work part-time?
While plastic surgeons might be able to work part-time, most of them still work full-time since they really like what they are doing and want to make as many patients as possible happy.
Moreover, the more you work as a plastic surgeon, the more you can make in the long run.
Do plastic surgeons work indoors or outdoors?
Plastic surgeons work indoors and don’t have to worry about adverse weather conditions outdoors as many other people like garbage collectors or fallers have to do on a regular basis.
What does the workplace of a plastic surgeon look like?
Plastic surgeons are often surrounded by lots of medical equipment and you will also have to treat many new patients on a regular basis.
Hence, it is crucial that you are friendly and trustworthy so that patients feel comfortable in your presence and will put faith in your abilities.
Do you have to look good for working as a plastic surgeon?
You don’t need to look good as a plastic surgeon.
However, you should still look groomed so that your patients trust you and will not be disgusted by your appearance so that they will come back to you in the long run.
Is a plastic surgeon career beneficial for your private life?
Working as a plastic surgeon can be greatly beneficial for your private life since you can make really good money from your job while you will still have enough time to spend with your family and can also afford many nice things.
Do you need a college degree for becoming a plastic surgeon?
You need a doctor’s degree in medicine (M.D.) to be able to work as a plastic surgeon.
Thus, you will have to spend many years on college education and you might also have to get significant student loans to finance your degree which you have to pay back later in your life.
Do you need to be certified to work as a plastic surgeon?
Apart from your doctor’s degree, you also need a license before you are able to work as a cosmetic surgeon and requirements to get this license greatly vary across states.
However, once you meet all other formal requirements, getting a license to be able to work in this field will not be that hard anymore in most cases.
How much does it cost to become a plastic surgeon?
Since you have to spend many years in college to get your degree, you will often have to take on six-figure student loans to finance your education and you should make sure that you really want to work in this field for quite a long time to make it worth the initial investment.
Is being a plastic surgeon a good career?
Since you can make really good money while you benefit from decent job security and good work-life balance, being a plastic surgeon can be considered a really good career and many people out there will envy you for your overall working conditions and the lifestyle you will be able to afford.
Is it easy to start your own business as a plastic surgeon?
It is relatively easy to open your own doctor’s office as a cosmetic surgeon as long as you fulfill all educational requirements and also get some practical experience in this field.
While you will have to work longer and will also have more responsibilities, you will also be able to make far more money compared to working as an employed cosmetic surgeon.
Can plastic surgeons teach themselves?
Plastic surgeons are not able to teach themselves most things they need to be able to work in this field.
Instead, they have to get lots of formal education and also pass many exams before they are officially able to work as plastic surgeons.
Do plastic surgeons make good money?
Plastic surgeons make really good money and you will easily be able to have a six-figure income, even at the time you just start out with your career.
Thus, plastic surgeons make much more money compared to most other people out there and you will also be able to afford many nice material things.
Is it ever too late to become a plastic surgeon?
While it is never too late to become a plastic surgeon, you will still have to spend many years on education before you are able to work in this field and it therefore makes sense to start your plastic surgeon career at a relatively young age.
Do plastic surgeons have to quit their careers early?
Plastic surgeons don’t have to quit their careers early most of the time since they don’t have to work in a hard physical manner and can work in this job until they reach official retirement age while many other people like welders or carpenters often have to quit their careers relatively early.
What is the hardest thing about working as a plastic surgeon?
The hardest part about being a plastic surgeon is that you have to deal with lots of emotional pressure since mistakes on your side could lead to serious adverse outcomes for your patients and even only few mistakes may ruin your reputation in this industry and you may even get sued.
Can you provide for your family by working as a plastic surgeon?
Providing for your family is pretty easy as a plastic surgeon since you will be able to make a six-figure income from a rather young age and you will also be able to afford many nice things for yourself and your loved ones.
Will plastic surgeons suffer from old-age poverty?
Most plastic surgeons don’t have to deal with old-age poverty since they receive decent pensions while they are also able to save and invest lots of money during their active careers and usually have an easy time paying their bills once they quit their active careers and retire.
Can plastic surgeons retire early?
Plastic surgeons are also able to retire early.
However, if retiring early in your 50s or even 40s is your goal, you should not spend any money on useless things but rather save and invest as much money as possible to get financially free at a rather young age while most other people still have to work.
Do plastic surgeons get a fixed or variable salary?
While employed plastic surgeons often get a fixed salary with a small variable component, your income will greatly vary over time if you have your own business in this field since it will depend on the number of patients you treat.
Thus, while you can make more money if you work as a self-employed plastic surgeon on average, you will still have to deal with higher income swings and will also have a greater risk from an overall perspective.
Can you get rich as a plastic surgeon?
Thanks to your really good salary, you might be able to become wealthy or even rich as a plastic surgeon if you save and invest enough money in a wise manner and don’t spend too much on unnecessary consumption.
Do plastic surgeons need a second job?
Plastic surgeons don’t need to get a second job since they make more than enough money from what they are doing and are also able to afford many nice things without having to worry about money that much.
Do you get continuous training as a plastic surgeon?
You don’t get continuous training as a plastic surgeon.
While you will get many years of education at the beginning of your career, it will be on you to hone your craft once you work in this field to become a real expert in what you are doing in the long run.
Do you get sick pay as a plastic surgeon?
If you have your own plastic surgeon office, you will not get sick pay since you will only make money if you perform surgeries.
Consequently, you should have an emergency fund for times you get sick so that you are still able to pay your bills.
Do plastic surgeons have a high level of responsibility?
Plastic surgeons have a high level of responsibility since mistakes on their side could lead to unpleasant surprises for their patients and you will therefore also have to deal with lots of emotional pressure at work.
Can plastic surgeons work abroad?
Plastic surgeons are able to work all over the world.
Yet, you should still not expect the same salary or working conditions from what you are used to in your home country since overall working conditions will often be quite different in foreign countries.
Is it stressful to work as a plastic surgeon?
Working as a plastic surgeon can be stressful on an emotional level since only few mistakes could ruin your career and may also lead to serious adverse outcomes for your patients.
Consequently, you will always have to worry about those things at work and this may greatly adversely affect your overall mood in the long run.
Is it boring to work as a plastic surgeon?
Working as a plastic surgeon is not boring at all since you will have to treat many different patients and will often see things you have never seen before.
Is being a plastic surgeon hard?
While you will not have to work in a heavy physical manner, you will still have to take on lots of stress at work as a plastic surgeon and you may therefore not be able to really enjoy your time at work.
Are plastic surgeons at risk of burnout?
Due to the high level of emotional stress that comes along with working as a plastic surgeon, you may also be at great risk of burnout or other mental issues, especially if you are not able to deal with stress and pressure in a mentally and emotionally healthy manner.
Is there a dress code for plastic surgeons?
You will often wear a doctor’s overall as a plastic surgeon and will usually wear white for most of your workday.
What kind of plastic surgeons are paid the most?
The more experience you get and the better your reputation in this industry, the more you can charge for your services and the more money you can make as a plastic surgeon in the long run.
Hence, make sure to build a strong personal brand as early as possible.
What percentage of plastic surgeons are women?
Around 18% of all plastic surgeons are women while only 82% are men.
Consequently, this industry is still dominated by men and it is unlikely that this will change in the near future.
Do I need a mentor to succeed as a plastic surgeon?
While you don’t necessarily need a mentor to succeed as a plastic surgeon, it can still help to have an experienced person on your side who can guide you through difficult periods of your career both on a technical but also on an emotional level.
Do plastic surgeons have a high life expectancy?
Plastic surgeons have pretty decent life expectancy since they are not at great risk of suffering from accidents at work while they make enough money to afford the best medical treatment in case they get sick.
Do plastic surgeons suffer from sleeping problems?
Most plastic surgeons don’t suffer from sleeping problems related to their work since they don’t have to work at nighttime and can maintain a healthy sleeping pattern.
What states are best for working as a plastic surgeon?
The best states for cosmetic surgeons are California and New York since people in those states often care a lot about their appearance and also have lots of disposable income to spend on your services.
Who do plastic surgeons work with?
Plastic surgeons work with many different people per day.
Thus, it is crucial that you are open and friendly so that your patients feel welcome, gain trust in you and recommend your services to their loved ones.
Is working as a plastic surgeon cool?
Working as a plastic surgeon is considered reasonably cool by the general public.
However, you should still not choose your career according to what’s cool but rather ask yourself whether overall conditions fit your personal preferences and expectations.
Can you start a side hustle as a plastic surgeon?
Since you will be pretty specialized, it will be hard for you to start a side hustle as a plastic surgeon unless you get lots of additional education to provide value in a different field.
Do you have to be creative as a plastic surgeon?
You don’t need to be overly creative to succeed as a plastic surgeon.
What’s much more important is that you know all the techniques by heart so that you can provide your patients with the best medical treatment possible.
Do plastic surgeons suffer from being overweight?
Since plastic surgeons don’t work in a heavy physical manner, they also don’t burn lots of calories at work and may therefore suffer from being overweight in the long run.
How employable are plastic surgeons?
Plastic surgeons are in high demand right now and due to the high barriers to entry to work in this field, there is a lack of qualified cosmetic surgeons in many regions.
Consequently, plastic surgeons are pretty employable and don’t have to worry about getting unemployed anytime soon.
Are plastic surgeons happy with their jobs?
Most plastic surgeons are pretty happy with their jobs since they can make really good money while they also have a high social standing and also come home from work relatively early so that they have enough time to spend with their loved ones.
Is working as a plastic surgeon exciting?
While working as a plastic surgeon may be exciting at the beginning of your career, your initial excitement may soon get replaced by a certain routine after just a few years.
Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a plastic surgeon?
Since plastic surgeons mainly focus on improving the visual appearance of patients, they don’t have the power to make a real positive impact on our environment.
What are the pros and cons of working as a plastic surgeon?
If you still want to become a plastic surgeon, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a plastic surgeon career.
Interviews and own research.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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