Average Doctors' Salaries by Specialty

Physician pay varies widely

Physicians are among the highest earners in the healthcare field. How much physicians are paid depends on their medical specialty and type of practice, as well as their schedule, patient mix, and even their location can affect their income.

However, there are averages and benchmarks for each specialty based on data compiled by professional organizations and other institutions. One of the most referenced collections of data is compiled annually by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), which is available for purchase. They release their data in the middle to end of each year, for the previous year. Free sources include the Medscape Physician Compensation Report and the Merritt Hawkins physician search firm. These figures represent surveys from 2015 through 2017.

Anesthesiologist

Surgeons performing open heart surgery
Thierry Dosogne/Stone/Getty Images

Average annual income: $376,000
Anesthesiologists are among some of the most well-compensated physicians. Anesthesiologists administer pain blocks and anesthesia to patients undergoing surgery or procedures in the hospital, outpatient surgery center, or dental office.

The nature of their work can be demanding and stressful. Also, anesthesiologists are obviously a key component of a good surgery department, and therefore a lot of hospital revenue depends on their performance as well as on the surgeons on staff.

Cardiologist

There are several different types of cardiologists, and income varies accordingly.

  • Invasive cardiologist: $563,000
  • Interventional cardiologist: $553,890
  • Noninvasive cardiologist: $428,000
  • Electrophysiologist: $571,508

Dermatologist

Average annual income: $421,000
Dermatology is another one of the more highly compensated specialties. Dermatology is lucrative because it entails a combination of high-paying procedures that are medically necessary (and reimbursable by insurance companies), such as skin cancer biopsies, skin conditions, etc., while also allowing doctors an opportunity to earn additional cash with aesthetic, elective procedures such as botox, fillers, laser hair removal and other lucrative optional procedures.

Family Medicine Physician

Average annual income: $231,000
Family practice physicians provide primary care and are not as well reimbursed as many of their specialist physician counterparts. Their compensation has been rising about 4 percent per year. This is the average income for a family medicine doctor who also practices obstetrics (delivers babies) as part of his or her practice. Without OB, the pay drops slightly. The annual income drops further if the doctor only practices on an outpatient basis.

Gastroenterologist

Average annual income: $492,000
Gastroenterologists have training in internal medicine, plus two to three additional years of fellowship training in gastroenterology and hepatology, studying diseases of the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, intestines, and colon, as well as the liver, pancreas, and spleen.

Geriatrician

Average annual income: $188,885
Geriatricians are primary care doctors who specialize in treating elderly patients.

Hematologist/Oncologist

Average annual income: $417,000
Oncologists diagnose and treat malignancies (cancers) of tissue and blood.

Hospice/Palliative Care

Average annual income: $198,091
Palliative care is a relatively new specialty. Palliative care physicians specialize in treating terminally ill patients.

Hospitalist

Average annual income: $264,000
Hospitalists are internal medicine physicians or family practitioners who only treat patients in a hospital setting (inpatient). As demand for hospitalists has increased sharply over the years, annual income for hospitalists has also grown steadily during that time.

Neurologist

Average annual income: $305,000
Neurologists treat disorders of the brain, spine, and nervous system. Their income has risen in the past few years.

Obstetrics and Gynecology

Average annual income: $335,000
OB/GYN physicians specialize in women's health and prenatal care. Physicians in this specialty can also sub-specialize in several areas which also affects their income:

  • Maternal-fetal medicine (high risk pregnancy): $473,316
  • Gynecological oncology: $312,257
  • Reproductive endocrinology (fertility specialists): $333,824
  • Urogynecology: $351,799

Orthopedic Surgeon

Average annual income: $580,000
Orthopedic surgeons specialize in surgically treating bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Demand for these surgeons has exploded with the aging population, as well as innovations in technology and devices.

Otorhinolaryngology (ENT)

Average annual income: $420,000
Otorhinolaryngologists, also known as ENTs, treat ear, nose, and throat issues such as sinus problems, cancers, and many other disorders of the head and neck.

Pediatrician

Average annual income: $232,000
Pediatricians are primary care physicians who only treat children through age 18. There are also about 18 pediatric sub-specialties with varying salaries ranging from $165,000 to over $350,000 annually.

Psychiatrist

Average annual income: $245,000
Psychiatrists specialize in mental health care, in both an outpatient and inpatient setting, depending on the severity of the patient's mental condition.

Urologist

Average annual income: $415,000
Urologists treat conditions of the urinary tract, including the kidneys and bladder. In men, they treat disorders of the prostate, testes, and penis and also provide reproductive medicine treatments.

Radiologist

Average annual income: $436,000
Radiologists read scans and X-rays to diagnose disorders in just about all areas of the body, from internal organs, musculoskeletal, and more. Radiologists who specialize in teleradiology make over $50,000 per year more, on average.