Orthopedic surgeons earn highest base salary of 10 specialties

Of 10 physician specialties, general orthopedic surgeons have the highest base salary, earning $553,537 on average, according to a survey from SullivanCotter.

The survey includes data on nearly 167,000 individual physicians and advanced practice providers, with nearly 750 participating hospitals, health systems and medical groups.

When comparing average cash compensation changes from last year's survey for some large specialties, reported average base salaries were relatively flat, SullivanCotter said.

Reported total cash compensation generally increased for specialties between 2017 and 2018, averaging 1 percent to 4 percent. Not all organizations have base salary programs, but all respondents are required to report total cash compensation, meaning there is a difference in sample sizes represented in the survey.

Here is the average base salary and percent change in base salary from 2017 to 2018 for the 10 specialties in the survey:

1. Orthopedic surgery (general)
Base salary: $553,537 (0.2 percent increase)

2. Cardiology (general)
Base salary: $440,687 (0.3 percent increase)

3. Surgery (general)
Base salary: $374,757 (2.2 percent decrease)

4. Emergency medicine
Base salary: $317,875 (0.9 percent increase)

Base salary: $317,794 (2.2 percent decrease)

6. Hospitalist
Base salary: $264,457 (0.4 percent increase)

7. Internal medicine
Base salary: $239,012 (2.1 percent decrease)

8. Family medicine
Base salary: $233,649 (1.1 percent decrease)

9. Psychiatry (general)
Base salary: $232,708 (0.4 percent increase)

10. Pediatrics (general)
Base salary: $228,171 (1.1 percent increase)

More articles on compensation: 
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9 physician specialties see jump in compensation
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