How Much Do Different Doctors Make?

Are you considering a career in the medical field but unsure which specialization may be the right fit for you? We have compiled a list of average annual salaries for a variety of different physicians so you can compare each field and hopefully narrow down your options.

Pediatric Physician – $244,000

To become a pediatric physician, you will first need to complete four years of undergraduate schooling. Throughout undergraduate, you will most likely take pre-med courses related to biology and chemistry. 

Once you obtain your undergraduate degree, you will move on to four years of medical school. Medical school involves fundamental subjects like anatomy and physiology as well as specialized rotations in various areas of medicine, including pediatrics.

Following medical school, you will complete a three-year pediatrics residency program in which you gain the experience necessary to treat a wide range of childhood health conditions. You can expect to learn general pediatrics and developmental-behavioral pediatrics while also training with various age groups, particularly newborns.

You can further specialize as a pediatrician with extra training in areas such as neonatology, pediatric cardiology, adolescent medicine, child abuse and pediatric surgery.

The average annual salary for a pediatric physician is $244,000.

Family Medicine – $255,000

For some upcoming medical professionals, medical school is a place to explore different areas of medicine and determine which field they would like to enter. However, those who have already chosen their ideal field of study may decide to enter a medical school which frequently houses graduates who enter that field. For family medicine, these schools are typically those focused on primary care such as the School of Medicine at University of Washington or the Medical School at University of Minnesota.

After earning an undergraduate degree and completing medical school, aspiring family medicine physicians must complete a three-year family medicine residency. You may choose to specialize further with extra training in fields like geriatrics, women’s health, sports medicine, obstetrics, and more.

Family medicine doctors tend to patients throughout all stages of their lives, making for a very diversified career experience. Keep in mind that those practicing family medicine will need excellent listening and communication skills to help their patients feel at ease.

The average annual salary for those working in family medicine is $255,000.

Internal Medicine – $264,000

Unlike a physician who works in family medicine, internal medicine doctors focus entirely on adult and elderly patients. They treat complex, severe, and chronic illnesses in adults as well as minor illnesses. The main goal of internal medicine doctors is to help adults achieve and maintain healthiness.

Like other medical professionals, internal medicine physicians must earn a bachelor’s degree and complete medical school before entering a three-year internal medicine residency. Residency programs may offer training in infectious diseases, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, and more.

Internal medicine doctors will need strong communication skills as well as experience diagnosing and treating a variety of both severe and minor health conditions.

The average annual salary for those working in internal medicine is $264,000.

Psychiatrist – $287,000

Psychiatrists diagnose, treat, and prevent behavioral, emotional, and mental disorders in patients at all stages of life. The main difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist is medical school. Psychiatrists must obtain medical degrees while psychologists earn doctoral degrees, meaning that a psychiatrist can prescribe medications while a psychologist cannot.

Aspiring psychiatrists may choose to major or minor in psychology alongside their pre-med courses during their undergraduate education. After undergraduate comes medical school and, of course, a residency. A psychiatry residency lasts four years and may involve a mixture of both inpatient and outpatient care.

As a psychiatrist, you can go on to earn specializations in areas like geriatric psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, pediatric psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, and many more.

The average annual salary for a psychiatrist is $287,000.

Nephrology – $329,000

Nephrology is a subspecialization of internal medicine. Those specializing in nephrology focus on kidney care and the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases. Patients who have experienced loss of kidney function or renal failure or who suffer from a chronic kidney disease may see a nephrologist regularly.

Examples of health conditions commonly treated by nephrologists include:

  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD).
  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD).
  • Acute renal failure.
  • Kidney stones.

After completing an undergraduate education and medical school, aspiring nephrologists will enter an internal medicine residency for three years. Then, they will apply for a nephrology fellowship, during which they will focus their study on kidneys and kidney disease. The fellowship may take between two and three years to complete.

The average annual salary for those working in nephrology is $329,000.

Emergency Medicine – $373,000

Emergency medicine involves the treatment of patients admitted to an emergency room. ER doctors need to be able to function under high stress, handle a variety of medical devices, and treat a wide range of physical injuries and illnesses.

Examples of tasks that an ER doctor might complete on a daily basis include:

  • Patient examinations and evaluations.
  • Interpreting test results and X-rays.
  • Explaining procedures and diagnoses to patients and their loved ones.

Like other physicians, ER doctors must earn undergraduate and medical degrees before entering residency. An emergency medicine residency usually lasts three years and may include lab work and simulations in addition to training.

After completing their residency, emergency medicine physicians may choose to specialize in pain management, disaster medicine, undersea medicine, wilderness medicine, and more.

The average annual salary for those working in emergency medicine is $373,000.

General Surgeon – $402,000

A general surgeon performs operations to treat conditions all over the body. They must be highly skilled with their hands and able to use various surgical tools with precision. Like ER doctors, surgeons must also be prepared to work under a large amount of stress, especially when it comes to managing complications that may arise during surgery.

To become a general surgeon, students should follow the usual path of obtaining undergraduate and medical degrees before entering residency. Residency for a general surgeon is typically about five years but could last up to seven depending on specializations. Surgeons may need to complete an internship as well, operating in the surgery department of an accredited hospital for a number of years.

The average annual salary for a general surgeon is $402,000.

Ophthalmology – $417,000

Ophthalmologists work with patients of all ages to diagnose and treat conditions related to the eyes and vision. An ophthalmologist may treat glaucoma, provide eye exams, conduct eye surgeries (such as cataract surgery or reconstructive surgery), or help patients suffering from different types of ocular cancer.

Those wishing to work in ophthalmology must earn their bachelors and medical degrees. Then, aspiring ophthalmologists will need to complete a direct patient care internship for at least one year before entering their residency. An ophthalmology residency will typically take between three and four years to complete.

In the field of ophthalmology, potential specializations include glaucoma, cornea and external disease, pediatric ophthalmology, neuro-ophthalmology, ophthalmic pathology, ophthalmic plastic surgery, and many more.

The average annual salary for those working in ophthalmology is $417,000.

Radiology – $437,000

Radiologists are licensed physicians with specialized training in interpreting medical images produced by various forms of medical equipment, including X-rays, sound waves, and magnets. Depending on their specialization, some radiologists may also perform image-guided surgery or treat certain diseases via radiation.

Becoming a radiologist first entails earning both a bachelors and a medical degree. From there, aspiring radiologists typically complete a year-long internship before heading into a four-year radiology residency. Certain specializations will require additional training.

Common examples of radiology sub specializations include:

  • Radiation oncology.
  • Neuroradiology.
  • Pediatric radiology.

The average annual salary for those working in radiology is $437,000.

Dermatology – $438,000

Dermatologists specialize in caring for our skin, hair, and nails. They may be responsible for everything from identifying skin cancer to alleviating inflammatory skin issues or even treating hair loss. Dermatologists work with patients of all ages to treat disorders related to the skin, hair, and nails, and help keep these areas healthy

Like other physicians, dermatologists start out their long stints of education by earning bachelors and medical degrees. They then complete a three-year dermatology residency where they learn treatment and diagnosis of a huge number of health conditions while also receiving surgical training for biopsies and excisions.

Possible subspecializations for dermatologists may include dermatopathology, procedural dermatology, cosmetic dermatology, pediatric dermatology, and more.

The average annual salary for those working in dermatology is $438,000.

Orthopedic Surgery – $500,000

By far the highest paying career on our list, orthopedic surgery is a challenging, but rewarding field to enter. Orthopedic surgeons treat various types of musculoskeletal conditions, often helping relieve patients experiencing chronic pain or mobility issues. They may treat traumatic injury or congenital issues like scoliosis.

Like that of a general surgeon, the journey to become an orthopedic surgeon is rather long. Students must earn their bachelors and medical degrees, of course, before transitioning to a five-year residency program. Many surgeons also continue on to earn a fellowship or specialization in one particular area, which takes about one or two years.

Examples of subspecializations for orthopedic surgeons include foot and ankle surgery, hand surgery, spinal surgery, hip and knee replacement, sports medicine, and many more.

The average annual salary for an orthopedic surgeon is $500,000.

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