Surgeon scrubbing in

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Health Science

Service Branches

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Work Environment

Surgeons work in hospitals and clinics on land and aboard ships.

  • Military Status


  • Median Military Salary This is the median, or the midpoint, of the salary range for this career.


    Military Salary Range Salary varies based on years of service, degree level, special pays, family status and location.

    $53,011 - $362,582


Surgeons examine, diagnose, and treat disease and injuries by applying non-invasive, minimally-invasive, and invasive surgical methods. They determine and direct procedures for preoperative and postoperative care, including medication, diet restrictions, and wound care. They coordinate care with anesthesiologists before, during, and after surgical procedures. Additionally, surgeons in the Military may perform operations and other emergency procedures in combat situations.

Military Training

Officers typically enter the Military after they have completed a four-year college degree; enlisted service members can transition to officer positions through a variety of pathways and earn a degree while serving. Job training for surgeons primarily consists of on-the-job learning in various training environments. Scholarships for advanced medical training are available in return for an obligated period of military service. Qualifying students benefit through unique training experiences and get to attend certain military short courses designed to develop tactical technical and operational skills unique to the military environment. Like other officers working in healthcare they complete a comprehensive training program covering responsibilities orientation to military structure healthcare and etiquette traditions and leadership development. Job-specific training content may include:

  • Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety/TeamSTEPPS® Essentials and Fundamentals
  • Mishap Investigation and Prevention
  • Operational Aeromedical Problems
  • Senior Leadership
  • Joint Operations Medical Management

Helpful Attributes

  • Ability to express ideas clearly and concisely
  • Desire to help others
  • Professionalism
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Interest in work requiring accuracy and attention to detail
  • Decision-making and integration skills
  • Ability to remain calm under pressure

Related Civilian Careers

  • Medical and Health Services Managers

Navy General Surgeon

With top-notch, tight-knit teams, the same cutting-edge technology as the civilian sector and hundreds of thousands of Sailors and their families to serve, no single day is the same in this global practice. If you trust in your own abilities and want to be of service to those who do the same, becoming a General Surgeon in the Navy will take your healthcare expertise to the next level.

Length 1:27 View Transcript



I wanted to serve my country and I thought that as a surgeon in particular you could do cool things in a forward-deployed kind of setting that you wouldn't see in the civilian world necessarily.

When you're at sea, the team that you have is a very small team and so building that relationship is very important. Training is very important.

The Navy spends a lot of time and effort and research into perfecting how we take care of traumatically injured patients. Surgical training is a five-year residency. After residency, I came on active duty to the fleet surgical team six. Anything that I can do as a general surgeon ashore in the hospital, I can do afloat in this operating room on an aircraft carrier. On a carrier in particular, cable injuries do occur. De-gloving injuries, open fractures, comminuted fractures are not uncommon.

The Navy has forged me the abilities to do that by putting me through medical school, training me here in general surgery training and then to be able to bring those skills back here to take care of the most deserving patients in the world.

This is the most mobile platform that I can think of that does damage control surgery and damage control resuscitation. You are in a forward-deployed tip of the spirit kind of scenario in an austere environment treating trauma and treating occupational support injuries and you just don't get that kind of experience somewhere else.