How Much Do Doctors Make? Physician Salaries Compared (Guest Post)

How Much Do Doctors Make? Comparing Salaries and Specialties

When you take your medical entrance exams, salary is probably the last thing on your mind. First and foremost, you need to get in to medical school. But as your MCATs come back golden and your studies proceed, it’s time to start thinking about specific plans. What specialty, if any, will you pursue? And – let’s be honest – how much will you make?

The question isn’t as mercenary as it seems. After all, most medical students graduate with substantial debt, and you need to know that it can be paid down. And setting up in any new business isn’t cheap. So yeah, cash flow is important.

Factors That Influence Doctors’ Salaries

Without a doubt, the type of medicine you choose to practice has a huge impact on your future earnings. Family doctors and pediatricians don’t make anywhere near as much as surgeons and cardiologists. Another factor is your geographic location; a physician who works in rural North Dakota will not bring home as much cash as a similarly-qualified doctor in New York City.

Other less-tangible things may have an impact on what doctors earn. This can include what hospital you are affiliated with (if at all), your experience, and even your demeanor.

Comparing Physician’s Salaries

But let’s get back to the main topic: specialties and salaries. Who averages the most, and who nets the least? The following data was compiled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, information from, and Merritt Hawkins & Associates’ 2012 Review of Physician Recruiting Incentives, as reported on

Top Earners in the Medical Field:

Orthopedic Surgeons $519,000

Cardiologists $512,000

Urologists $461,000

Otolaryngologists $412,000

Anesthesiologists $400,000

Dermatologists $364,000

Oncologists/Hematologists $360,000

Radiologists $358,000

Surgeons (General) $342,000

Gastroenterologists $336,000

Pulmonologists $321,000


Average Salaries for other U.S. Physicians and Specialists:

OB-GYN $281,000

Ophthalmologists $257,000

Neurologists $225,000

Rheumatologists $200,000

Psychiatrists $200,000

Pediatricians $192,000

Family Physicians $189,000

As you can see from this data, salaries among medical professionals vary widely.

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