11 Best and Worst Paying Jobs for Doctors

11 Best and Worst Paying Jobs for Doctors

Salary figures recently released by Forbes may discourage medical students who are in debt up to their eyeballs from becoming pediatricians or family practitioners, who typically earn around $180,000 a year. While that figure may seem high, it pales in comparison to salaries of orthopedic surgeons or invasive cardiologists, who can easily clear half a million dollars per year.

Primary drivers for salary disparities may be capacity and reimbursement – specific monetary values are placed on every service a physician provides. Needless to say, a hip replacement racks up a higher tab than a consultation to discuss high blood pressure management. This has led to an increasing shortage of primary care doctors. Health reform law focuses on increasing Medicare reimbursements for primary care doctors by 10% as an incentive to persuade medical students to choose that field.

The average 2010-2011 salaries for the best and worst paying jobs for physicians listed by Forbes are:

11 BEST Paying Medical Fields

11. Dermatology – $331,000
10. General Surgery – $336,000
9.  Anesthesiology – $355,000
8. Otolaryngology – $359, 000
7. Hematology/Oncology – $369,000
6. Radiology – $402,000
5. Cardiology (non-invasive) – $420,000
4. Gastroenterology – $424,000
3. Urology – $453,000
2. Orthopedic Surgery – $521,000
1. Cardiology (invasive) – $532,000

11 WORST Paying Medical Fields

11. Pulmonology – $311,000
10. OB/GYN – $282,000
9. Neurology – $256,000
8. Emergency Medicine – $255,000
7. Psychiatry – $220,000
6. Endocrinology – $218,000
5. Hospitalist – $217,000
4. Internal Medicine – $205,000
3. Family Practice With Obstetrics – $197,000
2. Pediatrics – $183,000
1. Family Practice – $178,000

Physician’s Weekly wants to know…

  • Is the physician income disparity fair?
  • Is preventing a heart attack by prescribing medication less valuable than surgically repairing a heart that has failed?


  1. Of course it is less valuable to perscribe medications than to perform a difficult and complex surgery. That’s like asking is it more valuable to be the guy that works the register and pumps your gas or the guy that designs a new car… Invasive Cardiac Surgeons have work hard for 4 years at med school to score well on their board exams, compete for highly competitive top residency spots, then endure 5 years of 100+ work weeks on a pittance of a salary and then when they finish get to apply for a highly competitive fellowship and work a few more years of 100+ hour weeks on a not much higher salary before they get to earn the big bucks. The Family Medicine Doc gets to skate his or her way through med school, barely pass their board exams, be virtually guaranteed a slot in a half decent residency, be done in 3 years working half the hours the surgeon will be for 8 years and then start making their $188k… The surgeon is more valuable because he or she is doing a much more difficult job and had to suffer through a lot more to get there (making the higher reward an extremely important motivator). The entire questions smacks of someone who doesn’t even remotely understand how medical training or even the basics of medicine work…

  2. I am in PMR, noninvasive. We make even less.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

eighteen + 19 =