29 physician specialties ranked by annual compensation

Kelly Gooch - Print  | 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, primary care physicians earned an average annual compensation of $242,000 and specialists earned an average of $344,000 — a decrease of $1,000 and $2,000, respectively, compared to before the public health crisis hit. 

In its Physician Compensation Report 2021, Medscape collected responses from about 18,000 U.S. physicians across more than 29 specialties.

The latest Medscape survey was conducted from Oct. 6, 2020, through Feb. 11, 2021, after the COVID-19 crisis began.

Physicians experienced several hardships during the pandemic, including temporary office closures and restrictions on elective procedures. But in an article about its latest survey, Medscape said physician salaries were overall able to stay steady at the end of 2020, because of factors such as telemedicine reimbursement, government programs, capitation and staff reductions.

The following is annual physician compensation by specialty with the percent changes from the 2020 edition of the Medscape report, which is based on data collected from Oct. 4, 2019, through Feb. 10, 2020. This report reflects only full-time salaries. Note: The list includes a tie at No. 25. Percentages are rounded.

1. Plastic surgery: $526,000 (10 percent increase)

2. Orthopedics: $511,000 (0 percent) 

3. Cardiology: $459,000 (5 percent increase) 

4. Urology: $427,000 (2 percent increase) 

5. Otolaryngology: $417,000 (9 percent decrease)

6. Radiology: $413,000 (3 percent decrease) 

7. Gastroenterology: $406,000 (3 percent decrease) 

8. Oncology: $403,000 (7 percent increase) 

9. Dermatology: $394,000 (4 percent decrease) 

10. Ophthalmology: $379,000 (0 percent) 

11. Anesthesiology: $378,000 (5 percent decrease) 

12. Surgery, general: $373,000 (2 percent increase) 

13. Critical care: $366,000 (3 percent increase) 

14. Emergency medicine: $354,000 (1 percent decrease) 

15. Pulmonary medicine: $333,000 (3 percent decrease) 

16. Pathology: $316,000 (0 percent) 

17. OB/Gyn: $312,000 (1 percent increase) 

18. Nephrology: $311,000 (1 percent increase) 

19. Physical medicine and rehabilitation: $300,000 (3 percent decrease)

20. Neurology: $290,000 (3 percent increase)

21. Rheumatology: $276,000 (5 percent increase)

22. Psychiatry: $275,000 (3 percent increase)

23. Allergy and immunology: $274,000 (9 percent decrease) 

24. Internal medicine: $248,000 (1 percent decrease)

25. Infectious diseases: $245,000 (0 percent)

25. Diabetes and endocrinology: $245,000 (4 percent increase)

27. Public health and preventive medicine: $237,000 (2 percent increase)

28. Family medicine: $236,000 (0 percent)

29. Pediatrics: $221,000 (5 percent decrease)

 

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