Money & Medicine

What docs earn: The 2017 Medscape Physician Compensation Report

No surprise: Specialists earn 46 percent more than primary care docs.

The average annual full-time pay for physicians in patient care is $294,000, according to Medscape’s annual physician compensation report. The survey (login required), now in its seventh year, queried 19,200 physicians representing more than 27 specialties.

Steady increases in pay

The self-reported data found specialists earned an average of $316,000 compared to primary care physicians, who reported $217,000 in average compensation. Overall, physician incomes have steadily increased over the past seven years, which Medscape sources attributed to “intense competition for doctors.”

So who’s benefitting from the competition? Plastic surgeons and allergists saw their earnings increase by 24 and 16 percent, respectively, while oncologists, cardiologists and pediatricians reported flat or slightly decreased earnings.

Where you live is a key factor in how much you earn. Physicians in the North Central and Great Lakes regions averaged over $300,000, while doctors in the Mid-Atlantic area brought in the least with $282,000. By state, North Dakota topped the earnings list at $361,000.

Other points of interest:

  • Concierge physicians earned 2 percent more than average, while docs in a cash-only payment model earned 5 percent more.
  • Among physicians who are not satisfied with their compensation, a third believes a 26-50 percent raise is in order, while more than 40 percent of unsatisfied docs think they deserve an 11-25 percent increase.
  • Physicians in emergency medicine, dermatology and psychiatry were most likely to feel fairly compensated, with urologists, endocrinologists and nephrologists the least.
  • The pay gap between male and female physicians is narrowing for young physicians. Women doctors age 34 and younger reported earning 18 percent less than their male counterparts, while those ages 45-54 received 37 percent less.

Read the full report (login required) for further insights.

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