Average Doctors' Salaries by Specialty

Physician pay varies widely

Physicians are the most highly educated and trained professionals in the healthcare field. How much physicians are paid depends on their medical specialty, type of practice, and patient mix.

Location also has a substantial impact on physician reimbursement, as doctors who work in a geographic location with low access to health care are generally paid more than physicians who practice in areas where the supply of providers meets or exceeds demand.

Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), Medscape, and Merrit Hawkins physician search firm regularly publish physician salary reports, which are based on physician surveys.

Family Medicine Physician

Doctor talking with mother and daughter in room


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Average annual income: $231,000
Family practice physicians provide primary care for patients of all ages, normally on an outpatient basis. Family medicine doctors take care of health maintenance and most medical issues. Sometimes, family doctors refer patients to specialists for a consultation.


Pediatrician checking glands of boy in examination room


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Average annual income: $225,000
Pediatricians are primary care physicians who treat children through age 18. There are also about 18 pediatric sub-specialties, including pediatric cardiology, pediatric surgery, and pediatric oncology, with varying salaries ranging from $165,000 to over $350,000 annually.

Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Average annual income: $303,000
OB/GYN physicians specialize in women's health, prenatal care, and labor, and delivery.

OB/GYN has changed substantially over the past years due to litigation costs, reducing OB/GYN physician income.


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Average annual income: $188,885
Geriatricians are primary care doctors who focus on treating elderly patients. Geriatricians can see patients in the office or may go to nursing homes to care for elderly patients who cannot easily get to a clinic.


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Average annual income: $260,000

Psychiatrists specialize in mental health care, in both an outpatient and inpatient setting. Psychiatrists treat patients with therapy and medication.


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Cardiologists manage complex heart disease. Some cardiologists specialize in interventional procedures such as cardiac catheterization and some specialize in managing issues related to heart rhythm.

  • Cardiologist $425,000
  • Interventional cardiologist: $573,890
  • Electrophysiologist: $571,508


Gastroenterologist holding human liver


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Average annual income: $417,000
Gastroenterologists have training in internal medicine, plus two to three additional years of fellowship training in gastroenterology and hepatology (liver disease).

Gastroenterologists often inspect the digestive system using procedures such as colonoscopy and endoscopy and they also perform therapeutic procedures, such as removing polyps.


Doctor holding a cat scan


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Average annual income: $267,000
Neurologists treat disorders of the brain, spine, and nervous system. Neurologists generally spend a great deal of time diagnosing complex patients and managing challenging neurological conditions.


Dermatologist examining patient

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Average annual income: $419,000
Dermatology entails treatment of skin conditions such as acne and rashes, as well as medical procedures such as skin cancer biopsies and removal of skin lesions. Some dermatologists also perform aesthetic procedures, such as botox, fillers, laser hair removal, which are not covered by health insurance.


Surgeons performing open heart surgery
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Average annual income: $392,000
Anesthesiologists are among the most well-compensated physicians. Anesthesiologists administer pain control and breathing support for patients undergoing surgery, and they monitor vital signs throughout surgery. They also administer pain blocks and anesthesia for procedures in the hospital, outpatient surgery center, or dental office.

Anesthesiologists can also specialize in critical care, managing critically ill patients in the intensive care unit (ICU), overseeing intubations, providing access to blood vessels, and running emergency codes.

The nature of their work can be demanding and stressful, and often requires irregular hours and working during the night and on weekends.


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Average annual income: $268,000
Hospitalists are internal medicine physicians or family practitioners who only treat patients in a hospital setting, usually on a shift schedule. More hospitals are turning to a hospitalist model because hospitalists are available in the hospital, whereas a patient's primary physician is usually scheduled to see patients in the clinic all day.

Orthopedic Surgeon

Mature doctor presenting x-ray and knee arthroplasty to female patient


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Average annual income: $536,000
Orthopedic surgeons specialize in surgically treating injuries of the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Orthopedic surgeons also perform joint replacements.

Otorhinolaryngology (ENT)

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Average annual income: $461,000
Otorhinolaryngologists, also known as ENTs, treat ear, nose, and throat issues such as sinus problems and cancer.


Urology consultation man


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Average annual income: $408,000
Urologists treat conditions of the urinary tract, including the kidneys and bladder. They also treat disorders of the prostate, testes, and penis and provide reproductive medicine treatments.


Doctor holding digital tablet, talking to patient undergoing medical treatment in hospital


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Average annual income: $393,000
Oncologists diagnose and treat cancer. Oncologists generally prescribe chemotherapy and manage complications of cancer and medication side effects.

Hospice/Palliative Care

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Average annual income: $198,091
Palliative care is a relatively new specialty. Palliative care physicians specialize in treating terminally ill patients, sometimes in a hospice setting. Palliative care is focused on quality of life and comfort.


Girl having her leg scanned by an x-ray medical device


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Average annual income: $419,000
Radiologists read diagnostic scans to help diagnose disorders in just about all areas of the body, including the internal organs and the musculoskeletal system.

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  1. Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2019

  2. Merritt Hawkins. Physician Starting Salaries by Specialty: 2019 vs. 2018

Additional Reading