Physicians are among the highest-paid professionals in America. Over the past three years, the job has often become more difficult and a potentially difficult financial risk. Thousands of doctors have been part of the frontline effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Many others have patients who have become ill from the virus.
Doctors in some specialties did not have any patients at all when the pandemic was at its worst. Most elective procedures were canceled or rescheduled. Thousands of doctors went out of business or retired.
According to 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, eight of the nine highest-paid professions in the United States are ones that require a medical degree. Some practice highly specialized medicine, including psychiatrists and surgeons. Others are family practitioners.
For its recent Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2022: Incomes Gain, Pay Gaps Remain, the medical information provider surveyed over 13,000 doctors across 29 specialties. After the income hit from the pandemic, there was a positive improvement for many doctors last year. James Taylor, chief operating officer of AMN Healthcare’s leadership solutions division, commented: “Compensation for most physicians is trending back up as demand for physicians accelerates.”
Details by specialty were reported based on earnings after taxes and deductible business expenses.
Plastic surgeons were the highest-paid doctors by far, with an average annual income of $567,000. Orthopedic surgeons were second at $557,000, followed by cardiologists at $490,000. The lowest-paid profession was “public health and preventive medicine” at $243,000.
This is the average pay for doctors in 29 medical specialties:
- Plastic Surgery ($576K)
- Orthopedics ($557K)
- Cardiology ($490K)
- Otolaryngology ($469K)
- Urology ($461K)
- Gastroenterology ($453K)
- Dermatology ($438K)
- Radiology ($437K)
- Ophthalmology ($417K)
- Oncology ($411K)
- Anesthesiology ($405K)
- Surgery, General ($402K)
- Emergency Medicine ($373K)
- Critical Care ($369K)
- Pulmonary Medicine ($353K)
- Ob/Gyn ($336K)
- Pathology ($334K)
- Nephrology ($329K)
- Physical Medicine/Rehabilitation ($322K)
- Neurology ($301K)
- Allergy/Immunology ($298K)
- Rheumatology ($289K)
- Psychiatry ($287K)
- Internal Medicine ($264K)
- Infectious Diseases ($260K)
- Diabetes/Endocrinology ($257K)
- Family Medicine ($255K)
- Pediatrics ($244K)
- Public Health/Preventative Medicine ($243K)
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