5 best, worst paying states for physicians and surgeons

Physician and surgeon compensation varies widely by state and provider type, according to the most recent data on provider compensation in the 2023 MGMA report

Nonsurgical specialists experience the largest compensation range, with a difference of $429,138 between the highest- and lowest-paying states (Alabama and Nevada, respectively). 

For the second consecutive year, primary care physicians in Mississippi outearn their counterparts in other states. Surgical specialists in South Dakota earn significantly more than their counterparts in Louisiana, and nonsurgical specialists report much higher earnings than those in Nevada. 

Here are the top five highest- and lowest-paying states, including Washington, D.C., for median total compensation, by provider type:


Primary Care

1. Mississippi

2. Arkansas

3. North Dakota

4. South Dakota

5. Indiana 

Surgical specialist 

1. South Dakota

2. Wyoming

3. North Dakota

4. South Carolina 

5. Mississippi

Nonsurgical specialist

1. Alabama

2. North Dakota

3. Mississippi

4. Arkansas

5. South Dakota


Primary Care

47. Massachusetts

48. Maryland 

49. Maine

50. Nevada

51. Washington, D.C.  

Surgical specialist 

47. Massachusetts

48. Tennessee

49. Georgia

50. New Hampshire

51. Louisiana 

Nonsurgical specialist

47. Maine

48. Louisiana

49. Massachusetts

50. Idaho

51. Nevada 

Range between highest- and lowest-paying states 

Primary care: $141,727

Surgical specialist: $327,404

Nonsurgical specialist: $429,138

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