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Physician Salaries by Specialty for 2024: How Much Do Doctors Make?

Salary transparency is one of the best ways for physicians to know their worth. Coming to the negotiation table with concrete data on how much doctors make and how much you should earn for a particular job and set of responsibilities empowers physicians to negotiate more effectively. Unfortunately, much of this information is behind paywalls and/or not readily accessible to doctors during their contract negotiations. Even if a doctor purchases salary data to learn how much doctors in their specialty make, the databases do not usually show all the aspects of the total compensation package, rendering it difficult to make an apples to apples comparison. Not all physicians in the same specialty or subspecialty make the same amount, and when looking at the data on how much doctors make in a particular specialty, you should account for location, subspecialty, benefits packages, PTO, practice environment or type (private practice, academic, hospital employed, government, direct primary care, etc), call schedules, bonus structures, partnership tracks, hours worked, and more.


As such, on our physician communities, we’ve been compiling salary and negotiation compensation data, which allow you to see both aggregate data as well as the specific data points with more detailed information. The data also allows you to track trends on how much doctors earn so you know if it’s time to renegotiate your physician employment agreement.


Disclaimers/Disclosures: This information is derived from our physician salary and compensation databases, but is subject to self-reporting errors and availability of relevant data points from our online communities. This information is provided for educational purposes only, and is aimed at advocating for individual physicians. It is not intended to be used for collective bargaining; please see additional disclosures and disclaimers on the physician salary data pages. Please also do your own research before making any decisions based on the information provided. We are not formal financial, legal, or tax professionals and do not provide individualized advice. You should consult these as appropriate. We highly recommend having your physician employment agreement reviewed by a physician contract review attorney to ensure you have the most up to date and relevant information for your specific situation.


How much do doctors make? A look by specialty for 2024


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Using our physician salary data points from our databases, we look at the average physician compensation by generalized area of practice. For specialties we have enough relevant data points for, we have also done breakout articles that dive deeper, which you will find linked below. While we look into some additional factors that influence how much a doctor makes below, such as hours worked, gender, and location, these breakout articles look deeper into how these factors and others affect how much doctors in each specialty make. 


The aggregate information below is the result of ~5,000 data points from mid-2023 to mid-2024, but we hope that as we continue to get more data, this physician salary database will become more robust for members of our physician communities to get more specifics.



How much do doctors make in 2024?


As we covered in our article on doctor compensation and salary statistics, the average physician salary across the US when looking at all the data points (full-time and part-time) in our database was around $368,000.


How much do primary care physicians make?


As noted above, salary can differ significantly not only by specialty but within a specialty. Before diving deeper into specialties and subspecialties, we wanted to address what physicians practicing primary care in particular make, omitting those in internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine who are specialized within these fields.


Te average salary for primary care physicians (defined in this case by those who classified themselves as general internal medicine physicians, general family medicine physicians, and general pediatricians) is $281,000 a year. The articles below break the subspecialties within these fields down into more depth into salaries for each subspecialty.


Learn more:




Average Doctor Salary, by Specialty (2024)


Specialization (and sub-specialization) is one of the biggest factors that influence how much a doctor makes, so we look now at the average doctor salary by specialty.


Average hours worked play a large role in compensation. Unless otherwise noted, the salary numbers below are for full-time physicians, as defined by working an average of 36+ hours a week.


While we do not yet have enough data points to average every subspecialty for 2024, these are the average full-time attending physician salary for specialties we have enough data points for to feel confident in reporting so far.


  • Allergy & Immunology - $290,000

  • Anesthesiology - $518,000

  • Cardiology - $584,000

  • Critical Care - $433,000

  • Dermatology - $519,000

  • Emergency Medicine - $426,000

  • Endocrinology - $289,000

  • Family Medicine - $289,000

  • Gastroenterology - $612,000

  • Geriatrics - $293,000

  • Hematology Oncology - $490,000

  • Hospice/Palliative Care - $255,000

  • FM/IM Hospital Medicine - $324,000

  • Infectious Disease - $286,000

  • Internal Medicine - $295,000

  • Nephrology - $365,000

  • Neurology - $358,000

  • Neurosurgery - $1,075,000

  • Obstetrics & Gynecology - $383,000

  • Ophthalmology - $464,000

  • Orthopedic Surgery - $729,000

  • Otolaryngology (ENT) - $595,000

  • Pathology - $373,000

  • Pediatrics - $253,000

  • Physiatry (PM&R) - $342,000

  • Plastic Surgery - $717,000

  • Psychiatry - $329,000

  • Pulmonary - $434,000

  • Radiation Oncology - $593,000

  • Radiology - $558,000

  • Rheumatology - $287,000

  • Surgery (General/Other) - $569,000

  • Urology - $569,000



Again, these are average numbers for what doctors make within a specialty based on all the submitted full time data points. Within each of these physician specialties, there are a wide range of salaries depending on location, practice environment and employer type, number of hours worked, call responsibilities, partner versus employee, and more. Therefore, we are adding dedicated articles on how much doctors make by specialty in 2024.


Explore the following specialties in depth:


Note: You may see a slight difference in the average salary reported above versus in the individual breakout articles, depending on the last update to the article assessing new data.


If you don’t see a dedicated breakout article for your specialty yet, it’s because we don’t have enough data to do one. Please consider taking a few minutes to contribute to the physician salary and compensation database if you have not done so already this year. Contributions to the database are completely anonymous, and salary transparency helps physicians in your specialty know their worth.


Specialties with fewer practicing physicians will have less data points to average, which can skew data more. We hope these averages can give you an idea of what to expect, but visit our full, free compensation data for physicians to look at comparable data for your specific situation.


You can also check back here for future updates on breakdowns by specialty as we add more data, as we will update this page with breakout articles for new specialties as we add them.



Which doctors get paid the most?


We looked a little deeper into the average full-time salaries reported above to rank the top paying specialties or subspecialties among our doctors. As a reminder, some of these data sets, especially the surgical subspecialties, have a smaller number of data points. Averages could change as more physicians contribute, and other subspecialties could join the rankings once we have more data points for them.



Which doctors get paid the most by specialty

  • Neurological surgeons: $1,075,000

  • Orthopedic surgeons: $729,000

  • Plastics and reconstructive surgeons: $717,000

  • Interventional radiologists: $635,000

  • Vascular surgeons: $624,000

  • Gastroenterologists: $612,000

  • Otolaryngologists (ENTs): $595,000

  • Radiation oncologists: $593,000

  • Cardiologists: $584,000

  • Urologists: $569,000

  • Diagnostic radiologists: $538,000

  • Trauma surgeons: $521,000

  • Dermatologists: $519,000

  • Anesthesiologists: $518,000

  • Hematologist oncologists: $490,000


Across all specialties, our surgeons average the highest salaries among several different subspecialties. Given that compensation for procedures tends to be higher in the way the current RVU system is set up in the United States, it’s no surprise that physicians performing procedures average higher salaries, especially since many doctors work on RVU-based compensation structures or get paid entirely on a collections structure.


Learn more about:



Which doctors get paid the least?


Along with the top paying specialties, we looked at the specialties and subspecialties where physicians earn the lowest salaries


Which doctors get paid the least, by specialty

  • Pediatric endocrinologists: $189,000

  • Pediatric hematologist oncologists : $227,000

  • General pediatricians: $248,000

  • Internal medicine physicians, ambulatory only (no inpatient): $272,000

  • Family medicine physicians, ambulatory only (no inpatient): $278,000

  • Infectious disease doctors: $286,000

  • Rheumatologists: $287,000

  • Allergists and immunologists: $290,000

  • Geriatric physicians: $293,000

  • Family medicine physicians without OB - $299,000


In the reverse of our findings above, many of our primary care physicians rank in the lowest paid specialties or subspecialties. The specialties at the bottom of the physician pay scale typically do not perform procedures that insurance companies compensate higher for. We often see frustrations from physicians in these specialties above, looking for ways to increase their reimbursements from insurance and exploring options to add additional revenue streams if in private practice.


Learn more about:


As an aside, another common question we receive from physicians in these specialties is how to cut down on charting time, which can either reduce the number of patients they can see in a clinic day or can tip the work/life balance scale with hours of charting required at home. You may have heard us talking about AI scribes on the physician communities. They are becoming more and more widespread, and can dramatically decrease the amount of time you spend charting. 


You can also explore our physician burnout and support resources.



The impact of procedures on doctor pay


We noted above how procedural specialties tend to make more than specialties that do not have a procedural component due to the way insurance reimbursements are currently structured within the US healthcare industry. We wanted to dig a little deeper into a few specialties where there are physicians that are primarily non-interventional and physicians that are primarily interventional so that we could see the difference adding an interventional or procedural component can make in salaries.


In our database, doctors can select their sub-specialization in radiology as diagnostic radiology or interventional radiology. Above, we saw the salary difference these two fields when looking at the highest paid doctor specialties. Interventional radiologists make an average salary of $635,000 a year, while diagnostic radiologists make an average of $538,000. This is an almost 20% difference in pay.


Our cardiologists can also specify their sub-specialization when contributing to the database. While our noninvasive cardiologists make an average $542,000 a year, our invasive cardiologists make $575,000. Interestingly, this difference was less at 6%, but still favored the interventional physicians.


Therefore, just looking within these two specialties, we reiterate that procedures can increase, oftentimes substantially, how much a doctor makes.


The impact of procedures on the average doctor salary


How much do doctors work?


When asking about average physician salaries, it’s important to know the context and ensure you are comparing data relevant to your situation.


While we said that the average doctor makes $368,000, as seen, there is a lot of variation in the salary data. The median doctor salary for 2024, for example, was $321,000. Both of these stats include physicians working as little as 6-10 hours on average a week and upwards of 70+ hours a week, neither of which may be the balance you’re looking to strike, depending on your career goals and/or desire to reduce physician burnout.


Since salaries will differ by the number of hours physicians work, and there is a lot of variation in what a physician considers full time and part time, let's look at the average number of hours worked per week by physicians, and then the average physician salary based on hours worked overall per week.


The distribution of the average number of hours our physician members reported working weekly among that data looks like:


How much physicians work by average hours a week


How much doctors make by hours worked


Looking just at physicians who worked full-time (classified as 36+ hrs a week), the average salary reported was $385,000. Many physicians reported working part-time as well. To assess a part-time average, we typically look at attending physicians who reported working 16-35 hours a week. The average part-time doctor in this category makes $303,000.


With a larger dataset, we can also break this down even further to assess how much doctors make by the average number of hours they work a week. Through our series so far, we’ve seen that medicine tends to be an “eat what you kill” model, and income generally increases within a specialty as physicians work more.


How much doctors make a year based on how many hours they work

  • 16-20 hours a week average - $185,000 a year

  • 21-25 hours a week average - $245,000 a year (32% more)

  • 26-30 hours a week average - $306,000 a year (25% more)

  • 31-35 hours a week average - $329,000 a year (7.5% more)

  • 36-40 hours a week average - $347,000 a year (5.5% more)

  • 41-45 hours a week average - $369,000 a year (6.3% more)

  • 46-50 hours a week average - $403,000 a year  (9.2% more)

  • 51-60 hours a week average - $445,000 a year  (10% more)

  • 61-70 hours a week average - $466,000 a year (4.7% more)


Note: many of our 7-on, 7-off hospitalists and other doctors reported 71+ hours a week, assessing just their working weeks, which skewed the salary data for this range of hours worked. We have thus omitted those ranges in this section, as some of those physicians may not work that many hours each week.


As we’ve found to be the case within our doctor salaries by specialty articles, we see that generally, the physicians who work more do indeed earn more. We’ve noticed, however, it isn’t always a one-for-one trade off. Salaries don’t always increase proportionally with the additional amount of hours worked. Picking up a few extra shifts while part time can have a substantial impact, while putting in an additional 12% in hours when already full time may only increase your pay 5-7%.


In these latter situations, we suggest deciding what you want your tradeoffs to be. If these considerations lead you to think about making some changes, we have the following resources. Since we started as a group focused on physician side gigs, we'll also add that you may want to take that extra effort and turn it towards a side gig, which in some cases may result in a better ROI on your time in terms of additional income, opportunities for passive income, and/or adding additional revenue sources to diversify your income streams. And it might just be a fun way to do enjoy using a different part of your brain or learn something new!


Learn more about:



What doctors make by practice environment


Multiple factors play into market value and competitive rates for determining how much doctors earn and should negotiate toward. While we go into the specifics by specialty in our breakout articles, we wanted to look across all specialties for a few key factors.


Below, we break down the average pay by specialty, depending on their practice environment.


The average physician salary based on their practice environment

  • Active duty military: average salary of $205,000/yr

  • Corporate group, non private equity: average salary of $379,000/yr

  • Corporate group, private equity: average salary of $367,000/yr

  • FQHC and other non-profits: average salary of $278,000/yr

  • Government facility (VA, city hospital, etc.): average salary of $297,000/yr

  • Group private practice, non-private equity backed: average salary of $492,000/yr

  • Group private practice, private equity backed: average salary of $443,000/yr

  • Hospital employee, academic: average salary of $334,000/yr

  • Hospital employee, non-academic: average salary of $409,000/yr

  • Locums: average salary of $475,000/yr

  • Solo private practice, non-private equity backed: average salary of $390,000/yr


When looking strictly at the practice environment, we see that doctors working in government-related positions such as the military, FQHCs and other non-profits, and government facilities reported the lowest salaries, though it is important to note these jobs often qualify for Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Depending on the amount of federal student loans a doctor has, the lower salary may be worth the PSLF benefit. The military also has programs to help assist doctors in getting their medical degrees without carrying the burden of substantial student loan debt.


The highest average reported salary for doctors came from our non-private equity backed group private practice physicians, although we noted while pulling the aggregate data that primary care physicians in solo private practice across family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics reported the highest versus other practice environments. While these physicians often have to wear multiple hats as both the doctor treating patients and the owner of a small business, it can be a lucrative option. We have a wealth of private practice resources for doctors to help you along the journey if you’re interested in this potential career path.


Private equity (PE) backed practices on average paid less than non-private equity backed (3% difference in corporate groups and 11% difference in private practice groups). We’ve covered a primer on private equity and physician medical practices, highlighting the advantages, disadvantages, and what doctors should know about PE. Note that many of these practices still have a high number of partners given relatively recent buyouts, and the spread may increase as a larger percentage of PE backed group physicians are just employees without a substantial ownership stake.


Academic hospitals pay doctors less than their non-academic counterparts, though they may offer a better work/life balance and a better overall structure and compensation package once you consider other factors such as time off, call requirements, etc.


Salary shouldn’t be the only determining factor when assessing options, though it is interesting to see the differences to give you an idea of what to weigh in your negotiations and decision making process.



Where do doctors choose to work?


While looking at how much doctors make by practice environment, we also looked at the distribution to see what percentage of doctors worked where.


What percentage of doctors work at each practice environment

We see that the majority of doctors are working for hospital systems, with over 50% of our respondents working either in academic or non-academic hospital settings.


Private practice, both groups and solo, account for about 21% of our doctors who contributed to the database.


* This distribution was pulled only from our salary and compensation database. We also have a separate locums doctor compensation database, which may cause this percentage to be skewed, as our locums physicians tend to contribute their data there instead.



Average doctor salary by state



Along with practice environment, location plays a role into how much doctors make on average. Within our doctor salaries by specialty series, we’ve seen significant differences in the average salary depending on which state physicians live in. We reviewed average salaries by state across all specialties and ranked the top and lowest paying states for doctors in 2024.





Note that there were a few states, such as Hawaii and Wyoming, where we did not have a substantial amount of data points to assess and thus they were not included in the rankings. As more data points come in, we will continue to update our articles.


In our highest paying state (Louisiana), physicians averaged 38% more annually than in our lowest paying state (Minnesota).


While what city or local metropolitan area a doctor resides in can factor heavily into the cost of living within a state, and how much a physician actually brings home depends on state and local taxes, assessing different salary options across the country and comparing them to the cost of living can give physicians the potential to geoarbitrage if they are willing to move. Just make sure you know what is included in cost of living comparisons (taxes are often excluded and can be significant).


Also, it’s important to make sure you are looking at relevant data points. As we’ve seen so far within our specialties, different states rank higher and lower among certain specialties. Just because your state may be high or low on the overall list doesn’t mean the same will necessarily be true within your specialty. This is one of the reasons we recommend working with a local physician contract attorney who is familiar with your area and can give you a better sense of the local markets within the state for the specific job you’re assessing.



Do male doctors make more than female doctors?


We’ve also seen large differences in how much doctors make depending on their gender throughout our specialty series, so we wanted to assess it across all specialties as well.


Across the contributions from all our full-time female doctors, the average salary is $347,000 a year. The average salary for our male doctors is 31% higher at $454,000.


To acknowledge the concerns of the critics of gender gaps numbers, we will say that we have seen varying degrees of separation in the gender gap of pay when looking into the data microscopically, such as:

  • Higher percentage of owners/partners among male physicians

  • Higher average of hours worked by male doctors

  • Preference of certain practice environments that offer less pay but more work/life balance for female physicians

  • Different distribution of female versus male physicians among different specialties, with female percentages in primary care specialties.


HOWEVER, even when looking at physicians in very similar job profiles, hours worked, and RVUs generated, males do tend to get paid higher, so we do feel there is a very real gender gap even when accounting for the factors above. This may be because female physicians have a lower RVU rate, because they were offered lower bases, or otherwise.


We plan to dig further into this data shortly to continue to explore these differences on the more macroscopic level, so check back soon. But in the meantime, we hope all of this open access to data will encourage all of our physicians, regardless of gender, to negotiate smarter.



Conclusion


How much doctors can and do earn varies on a lot of different factors, many of which we touch on above, including:


There are also additional factors, such as how much call physicians take, which we have information about separately in our statistics on how much physicians are paid for call.


We hope the overall look into how much doctors earn from our salary and negotiation database for physicians helps provide relevant insights that can help guide your career decisions, but we also highly recommend that you dig deeper into trends and differences with our doctor salary by specialty series, by exploring the data yourself, and by connecting with a local contract attorney while negotiating your next contract to make sure you sign the most competitive offer possible.



Additional salary and career resources for doctors



Explore our related articles and resources on doctor compensation and salaries: 


If you haven’t recently, please take a few minutes to contribute! The data provided is used only for the purpose of our database to help physicians like yourself negotiate better compensation by helping provide salary transparency with relevant data. The data is completely anonymous and is only available to members of our Physician Side Gigs Facebook group. Contribution links can be found on our compensation data for physicians page.


Looking for a new career opportunity? Explore the Physician Side Gigs job board for current opportunities.


If you need guidance on negotiating your next contract for the best possible deal, check out:



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