Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist Salary Information

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There are various kinds of doctors who treat and evaluate people who are suffering from liver disorders. Gastroenterologists and hepatologists are one of them. But, what are their differences? Do they get paid the same salaries?


Gastroenterologists are basically internists who’ve completed specialty training in treating digestive disorders, including disorders of the stomach, esophagus, gallbladder, pancreas, small and large intestines, and the liver. To be a certified gastroenterologist in the US, one must be internal medicine board-certified. To be eligible in gastroenterology, one should also complete an additional 2 to 3 years gastrointestinal fellowship.

During the 2-3 years of extra gastroenterology training, several gastroenterologists have a bit of exposure to people with liver disease. On the contrary, other gastroenterologists have larger exposure to patients who have liver disease during the special training course in gastroenterology. Therefore, the level of expertise and experience among gastroenterologists in treating and diagnosing liver disease differ greatly. It’s essential for patients to know the level of expertise of a gastroenterologist in liver disease prior to having a long-term medical relationship with this kind of doctor.


Hepatologists are the most qualified and experienced kind of doctor in treating individuals with liver disease. There are also specialized training programs for those who are focusing solely on liver disease, which is known as hepatology fellowships and usually last from 1 to 2 years. Over the hepatology fellowship’s course, the doctor will receive comprehensive training in the treatment and diagnosis of liver disease. Typically, specialty training includes extensive exposure to all kinds of liver diseases like those that are infrequently seen or rare. This training in liver disease isn’t the same and is rarely matched in the gastroenterology fellowship.

Physicians who successfully complete a hepatology fellowship are called hepatologists. The majority of hepatologists are also gastroenterologists. These medical practitioners have completed a gastroenterology and hepatology fellowship. Sometimes, professionals who haven’t completed a hepatology fellowship focus their practice primarily on the treatment and diagnosis of individuals who’re suffering from liver disorders.

For scientific reasons, it’s to the advantage of a patient to pick a hepatologist or gastroenterologist to treat his or her liver disease. Patients can be assured that these professionals will have enough experience in treating and diagnosing various liver diseases. Moreover, hepatologists are said to be the first to know about the latest therapies that are approved by the FDA. But, depending on your choice, it’s vital to seek a doctor who’s dedicated and works with you as an equal partner in the process of healing.

Average Salaries

Gastroenterologists and hepatologists are medical practitioners who specialize in the treatment, diagnosis, and study of disorders and diseases that affect digestive tract like liver. These medical practitioners tend to be high earners even if their annual salary varies by the kind of practice, community, and geographical area.

National Compensation

Based on the conducted survey, hepatologists and gastroenterologists reported a median salary of about $300,000. The lowest salaries reported for some gastroenterologists are $100,000 or less, but the highest reported salary is $500,000 or more. According to some surveys, male medical practitioners earned more than $100,000 compared to female counterparts.

Gastroenterologists and Hepatologists Salary by Region

Gastroenterologists and hepatologists in the US North Central reported a median salary of just over $540,500 every year, which is said to be among the highest in the medical profession. Those employed in the Northwestern reported a salary of about $500,000. In the Southwest region, the median salary of these professionals is $370,000 every year. In the eastern region, the salary of a hepatologist and gastroenterologist​ tend to be slightly less, but in recent reports, those who’re working in the Northeast region of the US receive the lowest salary, which is only $248,000.

Salary by Community Size

Hepatologists and gastroenterologists in small cities reported median earnings between $350,000 and $400,000 in a year. Those who are in midsized cities earn more than $350,000. Those who are working in rural areas and small towns earned slightly less. But, there are also surveys revealing that those who practice in the metropolitan areas reported having the lowest salaries, earning only about $275,000 every year.

Compensation by Employment Sector

Hepatologists and gastroenterologists currently partners in private practice reported the highest earnings ($400,000 and above). Those operating a solo practice earn $300,000 and above. Those who are employed by several hospitals acquire $300,000-$400,000 every year. Hepatologists and gastroenterologists stationed in academia have $200,000 every year while those employed at a private practice get $100,000. Those are working independently get the lowest salary, which is about $100,000 each year.

Other than their salary, gastroenterologists and hepatologists also have attractive benefits. These include future pensions, social security money, 401K plans, health benefits, paid time off, and bonuses. Overall, the salary of a hepatologist and gastroenterologist is considered to be among the highest in the world of healthcare.

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Article Sources

  • Bass NM, Feagan B. Emerging issues in gastroenterology and hepatology. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). Aug 2009; 5(8 Suppl 17): 3–20.
  • Dev AT, Kauf TL, Zekry A, et. al. Factors influencing the participation of gastroenterologists and hepatologists in clinical research. BMC Health Serv Res. 2008 Oct 8;8:208.