Doctors' Salaries by Specialty

How Much Do Physicians Earn, on Average?

Physicians are among the highest earners in the healthcare field. How much physicians are paid depends on their medical specialty and type of practice, as well as their schedule, patient mix, and even their location can affect their income.

However, there are averages and benchmarks for each specialty based on data compiled by professional organizations and other institutions. One of the most referenced collections of data is compiled annually by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). They release their data in the middle to end of each year, for the previous year. Based on the 2015 data, below is a list of average income for some of the most popular physician specialties.


Surgeons performing open heart surgery
Thierry Dosogne/Stone/Getty Images

Average Income: $445,043
Anesthesiologists are among some of the most well-compensated physicians. Anesthesiologists administer pain blocks and anesthesia to patients undergoing surgery or procedures in the hospital, outpatient surgery center, or dental office. Their income increased 3.9 percent from 2013 to 2014.

The nature of their work can be demanding and stressful. Also, anesthesiologists are obviously a key component of a good surgery department, and therefore a lot of hospital revenue depends on their performance as well as on the surgeons on staff.


There are several different types of cardiologists, and income varies accordingly. Below includes the differential from 2013 to 2014, from the MGMA's 2015 salary report.

  • Invasive cardiologist: $548,866 (+3.3 percent)
  • Interventional cardiologist: $553,890
  • Noninvasive cardiologist: $476,376 (+11.7 percent)
  • Electrophysiologist: $571,508


Average Annual Income: $462,500
Dermatology is another one of the more highly compensated specialties. Dermatology is lucrative because it entails a combination of high-paying procedures that are medically necessary (and reimbursable by insurance companies), such as skin cancer biopsies, skin conditions, etc., while also allowing doctors an opportunity to earn additional cash with aesthetic, elective procedures such as botox, fillers, laser hair removal and other lucrative optional procedures.

Family Medicine Physician

Average Annual Income: $221,686
Family practice physicians provide primary care and are not as well reimbursed as many of their specialist physician counterparts. The above figure represents an increase of nearly five percent from the previous year​ and is the average income for a family medicine doctor who also practices obstetrics (delivers babies) as part of his or her practice. Without OB, the pay drops slightly to about $207,916. And the annual income drops further if the doctor only practices on an outpatient basis, to about $193,390.


Average annual income: $504, 492

Gastroenterologists have training in internal medicine, plus 2-3 additional years of fellowship training in gastroenterology and hepatology, studying diseases of the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, intestines, and colon, as well as the liver, pancreas, and spleen. According to the MGMA, income for gastroenterologists declined 1.2 percent from 2013 to 2014.


Average annual income: $188,885
Geriatricians are primary care doctors who specialize in treating elderly patients.


Average annual income: $441,507
Oncologists diagnose and treat malignancies (cancers) of tissue and blood. According to the MGMA's 2015 salary report, the annual income for oncologists increased 4.9 percent in 2014 over the previous year.

Hospice/Palliative Care

Average annual income: $198,091
Palliative care is a relatively new specialty. Palliative care physicians specialize in treating terminally ill patients.


Average annual income: $264,838
Hospitalists are internal medicine physicians or family practitioners who only treat patients in a hospital setting (inpatient). As demand for hospitalists has increased sharply over the years, annual income for hospitalists has also grown steadily during that time. The most recent increase reported by the MGMA was 4.7 percent year over year. 


Average annual income: $269,936
Neurologists treat disorders of the brain, spine, and nervous system. Their income has remained steady of the past several years.

Obstetrics and Gynecology

Average annual income: $317,496
OB/Gyn physicians specialize in women's health and pre-natal care. Their income grew about 2.7 percent year over year, according to the MGMA's 2015 physician salary report. Physicians in this specialty can also sub-specialize in several areas which also affects their income:

  • Maternal fetal medicine (high risk pregnancy): $473,316
  • Gynecological oncology: $312,257
  • Reproductive endocrinology (fertility specialists): $333,824
  • Urogynecology: $351,799

Orthopedic Surgeon

Average annual income: $568,319
Orthopedic surgeons specialize in surgically treating bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Demand for these surgeons has exploded with the aging population, as well as innovations in technology and devices. 

Otorhinolaryngology (ENT)

Average annual income: $411,689
Otorhinolaryngologists, also known as ENTs, treat ear, nose, and throat issues such as sinus problems, cancers, and many other disorders of the head and neck.


Average annual income: $226,162
Pediatricians are primary care physicians who only treat children through age 18. There are also about 18 pediatric sub-specialties with varying salaries ranging from $165,000 to over $350,000 annually.


 Average annual income: $245,673

Psychiatrists specialize in mental health care, in both an outpatient and inpatient setting, depending on the severity of the patient's mental condition.


Average annual income: $414,157 


Average annual income: $488,701

Radiologists read scans and x-rays to diagnose disorders in just about all areas of the body, from internal organs, musculo-skeletal, and more.

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