What’s a Doctor’s Specialty Worth?

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Physician Annual Salary by Specialty

Med students set their expectations based on specialty

Many students face the decision of what specialty they might want to take their careers – and the added expense for the additional studies are factored for those to assess if the student loan expenses are worth the future earning potential of their specialized Practice.

How much money do you think a doctor makes annually in salary?

StudentDoc.com, the online resource for med students polled their readers and found that salary expectations were reasonable in comparison to actual earnings reported by doctors. Their polling found that in 2011, the median for an expected salary was $125,000.

StudentDoc.com found that most of their polled students (22 percent) expect $150,000 to $200,000 in annual salary. They find that 17% of their polled students expect $200,000 and $350,000 each year.  A slightly smaller percentage (19%) expected $100,000-$150,000 annually. There were students (6 percent) who expected a $1 million annual salary.

Other factors in earning can be as simple as gender and what specialty you decide to build your practice on.

MDNews.com claims that female medical students tend to choose lower-paying specialties. Their polled research finds that newly trained female physicians earn $16,819 less than newly trained male physicians. MDNews.com analyzed survey data from 1999 to 2008, canvassing over 8,000 physicians who entered patient care settings found compensation discrepancies between male and female physicians. They discovered that starting salaries for Female physicians increased from $151,600 in 1999 to $174,000 in 2008, but male physician’s salaries grew from $173,400 in 1999 to $209,300 in 2008. They also discovered that female physicians tend to take more time with each patient in office visits, which might have a direct effect on actual earnings data.

The website notes that in the last 30 years, a tripling of women entering the various medical specialties has happened. Now women represent half the medical students today and are expected to catch up to men as the number of female doctors increases.

MDNews.com writes: “The American Medical Association, 2004 data showed female physicians ages 34 and younger outnumbered male colleagues two to one and led in the 35 to 44 age group 33% to 23%. Obstetrics and gynecology and

Pediatrics leads female physicians’ top choice of specialties, numbering 52% and 41% of physicians, while orthopedics and Urology attracts the least at 4% and 5%, respectively.”

Doctors’ salaries can have a dramatic range, as in any profession. As SignatureMD have noted in past posts, the United States is facing real physician shortages, with many rural areas in full crisis mode for lack of qualified medical care.

So, How Much Does a Physician Make?

StudentDoc.com compiled the low, median and high end of physician salaries from data supplied by Allied Physicians, Salary Survey, years 2002-2006:

Emergency Medicine:

Lowest reported salary was $192,000; average reported $216,000 and highest reported salary was $295,000

From StudentDoc.com: “Of all the medical specialties emergency medicine is most amenable to locum tenens work, and the pay scale is often pegged to the national average emergency medicine physician salary. The pay can be adjusted by local cost-of-living difference from the national average.”

Pediatrics:

Lowest reported salary was $135,000; average reported $175,000 and highest reported salary was $271,000

From StudentDoc.com: “Famous for low salaries, pediatrics is a specialty that has its own rewards. Despite its reputation for poor pay, pediatric specialists can draw high compensation levels and even primary care physicians in high-volume practices can have high salaries. Pediatric locum tenens positions will often set base pay scale on the national average income of pediatricians. The pay can be adjusted by local cost-of-living difference from the national average.”

Internal medicine:

Lowest reported salary was $154,000; average reported $176,000 and highest reported salary was $245,000

From StudentDoc.com:  “Internal medicine salaries can vary widely by subspecialty, area of care, and region. Internists in primary care roles often have the lowest base salary levels, but depending on patient volume and case complexity can generate good bonuses. Locum tenens positions will often set base pay scale on the national average income. The pay can be adjusted by local cost-of-living difference from the national average.”

Family Practice:

Lowest reported salary was $128,000; average reported $204,000 and highest reported salary was $299,000

From StudentDoc.com:  “Family practice salary results, as well as those provided for different medical and surgical specialties, are based on surveys of physicians.  One somewhat disheartening recent statistic is that CRNA salaries in some areas are now higher than that of primary care physicians, including family medicine physicians. First, locum tenens positions will often set base pay scale on the national average income. The pay can be adjusted by local cost-of-living difference from the national average.”

OB-Gyn:

Lowest reported salary was $159,000; average reported $261,000 and highest reported salary was $417,000

From StudentDoc.com: “Obstetrics-gynecology salary results, as well as those provided for different medical and surgical specialties, are based on surveys of physicians in different medical specialties, and are publically available on the web (see the Physicians Search website).”

Neurology:

Lowest reported salary was $180,000; average reported $228,000 and highest reported salary was $345,000

From StudentDoc.com:  “Neurology salaries have remained more stable than in other specialties, like ophthalmology for example. As the population ages and therefore the prevalence of neurological disorders increases, demand for neurologists is expected to grow. With a relatively stable number of neurology residency spots, the number of neurologists is not expected to grow as quickly as the general population is aging, putting upward pressure on neurology salaries.”

Rheumatology:

Lowest reported salary was $179,000; average reported $229,000 and highest reported salary was $378,000

From StudentDoc.com: “Rheumatology salary results, as well as those provided for different medical and surgical specialties, are based on surveys of physicians and are publicly available on the web (see the Physicians Search website).

Pulmonary Medicine:

Lowest reported salary was $215,000; average reported $288,000 and highest reported salary was $417,000

From StudentDoc.com: “Pulmonology salary results, as well as those provided for different medical and surgical specialties, are based on surveys of physicians, and locum tenens positions will often set base pay scale on the national average income. The pay can be adjusted by local cost-of-living difference from the national average.”

Dermatology:

Lowest reported salary was $195,000; average reported $308,000 and highest reported salary was $452,000

From StudentDoc.com:  “These results are provided for dermatology salaries based on surveys of physicians and are publically available on the web. First, dermatologist locum tenens positions will often set base pay scale on the national average income. The pay can be adjusted by local cost-of-living difference from the national average.”

Otorhinolaryngology (ENT):

Lowest reported salary was $194,000; average reported $311,000 and highest reported salary was $516,000

From StudentDoc.com:  “ENT salary results, as well as those provided for different medical and surgical specialties, are based on surveys of physicians in different medical specialties, and locum tenens positions will often set base pay scale on the national average income. The pay can be adjusted by local cost-of-living difference from the national average.”

General Surgery:

Lowest reported salary was $226,000; average reported $291,000 and highest reported salary was $520,000

From StudentDoc.com: General surgeon salary results, as well as those provided for different medical and surgical specialties, are based on surveys of physicians and are publically available on the web (see the Physicians Search website). Surgeons, regardless of surgical subspecialty, averaged higher pay rates than almost all medicine specialties. However, there is strong regional and subspecialty variation in surgeon salaries.”

Vascular Surgery:

Lowest reported salary was $270,000; average reported $329,000 and highest reported salary was $525,000

From StudentDoc.com:  “Vascular Surgery salary results, as well as those provided for different medical and surgical specialties, are based on surveys of physicians in different medical specialties, and are publically available on the web (see the Physicians Search website).”

Gastroenterology:

Lowest reported salary was $265,000; average reported $349,000 and highest reported salary was $590,000

From StudentDoc.com:  “Gastroenterology (GI) salary results, as well as those provided for different medical and surgical specialties, are based on surveys of physicians in different medical specialties, and are publically available on the web (see the Physicians Search website).”

Anesthesiology:

Lowest reported salary was $207,000; average reported $311,000 and highest reported salary was $651,000

From StudentDoc.com: “Because of the significant shortage of anesthesiologists, anesthesiology salaries are well above the mean of most medical specialties. One interesting recent note is that even CRNA salaries now exceed that of primary care physicians.

Ophthalmology:

Lowest reported salary was $138,000; average reported $314,000 and highest reported salary was $716,000

From StudentDoc.com:  “Wide disparities exist in ophthalmology salaries, both based on subspecialty and based on history. Because of reductions in Medicare reimbursement levels over the last decades, general ophthalmology has become substantially less lucrative than it used to be. That said, sub specialization in retinal surgery or vitreous is still well compensated.”

Cardiology:

Lowest reported salary was $268,000; average reported $403,000 and highest reported salary was $811,000

From StudentDoc.com:  “Cardiology salary results, and Cardiology salaries can additionally be sub stratified based on whether the physician is an interventional cardiologist, an electro physiologist, or general cardiologist. Salary levels also vary by geographical regions, with the southern United States, surprisingly, having some of the highest cardiology salary levels.”

Maxofacial Surgery:

Lowest reported salary was $336,000; average reported $515,000 and highest reported salary was $811,000

From StudentDoc.com:  “Oral and Maxofacial Surgery salary results, as well as those provided for different medical and surgical specialties, are based on surveys of physicians and are publically available on the web (see the Physicians Search website). This information can be used in several ways, specifically in evaluating different physician job possibilities.

Plastic Surgery:

Lowest reported salary was $237,000; average reported $412,000 and highest reported salary was $820,000

From StudentDoc.com: “Plastic Surgery locum tenens positions will often set base pay scale on the national average income. The pay can be adjusted by local cost-of-living difference from the national average.”

Radiology:

Lowest reported salary was $201,000; average reported $354,000 and highest reported salary was $911,000

From StudentDoc.com:  “Radiology salary survey results, as well as those for different medical and surgical specialties, are based on surveys of physicians in different medical specialties, and are publically available on the web (see the Physicians Search website).

Orthopedic Surgery:

Lowest reported salary was $228,000; average reported $459,000 and highest reported salary was $1,352,000

From StudentDoc.com:  With the possible exception of neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons are among the highest paid medical professionals. Indeed, spine surgeons, whether orthopedic surgeons or neurosurgeons, usually command the highest salaries among physicians.”

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On May 30th, 2013, posted in: Blog, For Physicians by

2 Responses to “What’s a Doctor’s Specialty Worth?”

  • Lauren says:

    Out of all the salaries, I find myself most shocked by radiologists. Maybe I don’t have a proper understanding of what all they do, but that number seems too high in my opinion.

  • Katie Bozich says:

    Radiologists have traditionally commanded high salaries because of the significant growth of diagnostic imaging technologies over the past few decades. Their average salary has been declining in recent years, but they remain some of the highest paid specialists in the industry.


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