How Much Does a Doctor Make?

How Much Does a Doctor Make

How Much Does a Doctor Make? The average earning of a general physician is at a median $156,051. This is a hefty six figure income but it ranges between $97,866 for the lower 10 percent of the general physicians and upper $203,749 for the top 10 percent of physicians. Of course, this difference is because of multiple factors that play a role in determining the earning of a physician. This varies between $258,000 in the Great Lakes area being the highest paying region of USA and $239,000 in the Northeast which is lower than the average earning of general physicians. Regional variations are visible, but they are not as prominent as other fields or other jobs in the medical field.

Factors Affecting Income

The average earning of a physician depends upon multiple factors. First and foremost, presence of a specialization in a specific field, and the field of specialization determines how much a general physician makes. There is a prominent trend in average pays in different regions of USA, and different states of these regions as well. Work setting is also bound to affect the annual earning of a doctor. An urban practitioner is bound to earn more than one in rural areas and work setting is also plays significant role in determining the earning of a doctor. Whether a doctor is employed, or he is a private practitioner is supposed to affect the earnings.

How Much Does a Doctor Make


If you need to determine how much does a doctor make, you must be aware of the different specializations in the field. Different specializations occupy different fields of medicine and there are differences in pay as well. For example, a surgeon can earn as high as an average of $413,000 for orthopedic surgeons, to as low as $181,000 for doctors specialized in pediatrics. But generally, the highest paying specializations are orthopedics, cardiology, radiology as compared to the lower earning pediatrics and endocrinology, which actually earn just about the same as general physicians. Another trend in the specialization is that surgeons, i.e. those who perform procedures earn considerable more than specialized who deal in chronic illnesses or diseases.



Regionally, the highest paying region of USA according to the statistics from 2015 is Northwest. It pays an average of $281,000 to physicians. The South Central Region also pays a good $271,000 while the lower limit of the statistics point towards North East at $253,000 and its adjacent Mid-Atlantic at $254,000. Going to more precise statistics, North Dakota and Alaska are both the highest paying states of USA at $330,000 per annum for both of them. Wyoming, Wisconsin and Oklahoma are the remaining three of the top five best paying states of USA. But on the lower side, District of Columbia pays a meagre $186,000 to doctors followed by the Rhode Island. The other low paying states include Maryland, New Mexico and Massachusetts.

Mode of Employment

Whether a physician is self-employed i.e. he runs a private clinic or is he employed in a hospital influences the pay he is getting per annum. This is visualized by the 2015 report statistics, that a specialized doctor in private practice earns $329,000 per annum which is significantly greater than a specialist doctor employed by a hospital, where he earns $258,000 yearly salary. In primary care, there is a similar trend, a hospital-employed physician earns $189,000 this is significantly less than the $212,000 earnings of a general physician in primary care who runs a private clinic. However, in the near future, certain factors are likely to influence the earnings of employed as well as self-employed doctors. These include ACO savings, retail clinics competition and contracts among other factors.


If you need to determine how much does a doctor make, it will also depend upon the gender of the practitioner. Men have a significantly higher earning as compared to women. In general, male physicians are earning an annual pay of $284,000 which is greater than $215,000 per annum earning of their female counterparts. Furthermore, the difference is seen as a $324,000 against $259,000 in self-employment and $249,000 against $203,000 in doctors employed in hospitals. Gender affects how much a doctor makes.

Job Description

Although the job description varies from place to place and from one specialty to another, a general practice doctor is required to provide primary medical care to the patients first and foremost. This includes diagnosis and recommending and prescribing treatment for the diagnosed treatment. It is the general practitioners who refer the patients to specialists in case of advanced disease states or in need of surgery. In administration, they are also responsible for employing the staff, managing the contracts and discussing the plan of treatment according to the budget of the patients. They study and respond to the medical histories of patients to help them in diagnosis, and they may also be required to promote health education if the situation calls for it. Of course, with advanced education, a doctor may also perform surgeries advanced procedures, but that requires a greater degree of education. Doctors may be required to work on long and unpredictable schedules, often being called in cases of emergencies.

How Much Does a Doctor Make


Qualification plays a significant in determining how much does a doctor make? The basic education of a doctor is a Medical Degree from a certified institution, followed by a residency program. This is the requirement to acquire a practitioner license which will allow a doctor to not only be employed by a hospital, but also to begin his own private practice. A four-year program in a medical school gives you the M.D. degree (Doctor of Medicine) or less commonly, a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) in the last year of study, students apply for internship in their chosen field, which vary in competitiveness according to the fields of choice. This is followed by a residency. Each field of specialization has its own residency. Thus, the curriculum and the duration of the residency is subject to variation. This may be followed by a fellowship, which focuses at expertise in specific areas of a specialization. A specialized physician is called an attending physician after the completion of the residency or fellowship.

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