Top 10 Compensation Growth by Physician Specialty
Top 10 Compensation Growth by Physician Specialty
January 3, 2021 by Kyle Furman and Priya Korrapati

This article analyzed data on the top 50 metropolitan areas based on physician employment growth and the highest salaries of said physicians amongst the top 10 medical specialties in the year 2019. Compensation growth was evaluated from self-reported compensation surveys of full-time, licensed U.S. physicians, and 7,500 nurses who practice at least 40 hours per week between 2018 and 2019. With a future shortage of physicians predicted in 2021 and beyond, the job market post-COVID-19 era for new incoming physicians should continue to be strong. 

Specialty Pay Growth Percentage
1 Pediatrics 9%
2 Preventive Medicine 8%
3 Pediatric Hematology & Oncology 7%
4 Pediatric Cardiology 7%
5 Geriatrics 6%
6 Neurology 6%
7 General Surgery 6%
8 Pediatric Gastroenterology 5%
9 Dermatology 5%
10 Psychiatry 5%

Fierce Healthcare reported “when looking at the growth in compensation by specialty, the study found that pediatrics experienced the highest pay increase in 2019. Pediatricians saw a 9% increase in salaries, followed by preventive medicine with an 8% increase. Some of the pediatric specialties also made the top 10 list for compensation growth, with salaries for pediatric hematology and oncology and pediatric cardiology increasing 7% and pediatric gastroenterology increasing 5%”.

For all primary care physicians, in 2019, the average compensation was $237,000, while for physician specialists the average was $341,000, according to the survey results. For physicians who are currently employed these numbers include bonuses, salary, and profit-sharing contributions, while the numbers for solo practitioners and partners include earnings after income taxes and deductible business expenses. Only full-time salaries are included in the results.
Overall trends in physician compensation are showing steady increases. Since Medscape’s 2015 physician compensation report in 2015, primary care physicians have an average pay increase of 21.5 %, while physician specialists have seen a 20% increase over that same time.

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