Dollars and cents

What residents are getting paid in 2019

Annual Medscape report reveals which specialties get paid the most and least, and how residents feel about their earnings.

This story originally published in 2018 and has been updated in July 2019 with data from Medscape’s 2019 residents salary and debt report.

The average medical resident is earning $61,200 annually, according to Medscape’s Residents Salary and Debt Report 2019, an increase of 3% from the $59,300 they earned in 2018.

Medical genetics, allergy & immunology and infectious disease trainees are paid the most, with salaries ranging from $66,500 to $67,500 on average, while family medicine, emergency medicine and internal medicine trainees earn the least, bringing in $57,400 to $58,600 on average annually.

As expected, salaries increase with years of experience, and those in highly specialized programs have often been in training for many years. Salaries in the sixth through eighth years of postdoctoral training average $67,800, considerably more than the $55,200 received in the first year of residency.

On average, male residents receive higher salaries than their female counterparts by a very small margin. Male residents make $61,600 and female residents $60,800, a difference of about 1%. The gender earnings gap among physicians is much larger, according to Medscape. Male physicians are earning 25% more in primary care and 33% more in various other specialties than female physicians.

Medscape surveyed more than 2,200 trainees in 30-plus specialties to create the report.

Here are more highlights:

Residents feel fairly compensated at about the same rate throughout their training, with 51% of residents saying they feel fairly compensated in the first year of residency and the same percent feeling fairly compensated in years six-eight. Overall, 47% of trainees were satisfied with their compensation. Of those who are dissatisfied with their compensation, nearly 9 in 10 say their pay doesn’t reflect the number of hours they work.

More than 90% of trainees say that future earnings have an impact on their chosen specialty. More men than women say potential earnings influenced their specialty choice (96% and 88%, respectively).

Almost half (45%) of primary care residents say they plan to subspecialize.

Of trainees surveyed, 24% said they have over $300,000 in medical school debt, while 22% have no debt. In between, 12% of trainees surveyed have $250,001-$300,000 in debt, 12% have $200,001-$250,000 and 10% have $150,001-$200,000.

Interested in learning more about managing your finances as a resident or new physician?

Read the following articles in The DO:

6 smart ways to manage your student loans during residency

Budgeting after your first doctor paycheck

Is a physician mortgage right for you?

Controlling the urge to splurge: Car-buying strategies for new DOs

Why your FICO credit score matters so much

6 comments

  1. This is pretty misleading. Surgical sub-specialty residents and fellows make more than primary care residents on average because they spend more years in training and residents get paid more based on the year of training. With almost no exception everyone in the same post graduate level gets paid the exact same salary within the same hospital. The other factor includes the fact that primary care physicians can be trained at rural hospitals which have a lower cost-of-living and therefore their salaries are adjusted to be slightly lower than those in bigger cities. Metropolitan areas train all types of physicians. I suggest the author be more careful before publishing such statements. Please forgive typos from first post

  2. Having to service large loans probably influences choice of specialty. And, how many of those without significant debt are in that fortunate position because they are FMGs? This means that they have taken advantage of their own country’s educational system and once here effectively earn more than their US educated colleagues because they have little or no debt to service. FMGs should have to pay for their GME. This would remove the burden from Medicare and create a more level playing field.

  3. Our Residency pays graduated salary of $45,000 to $47,000 for Family Medicine Residents. The midlevels make at least twice what we do, for essentially the same work, however we work a lot more hours and have a lot more education…what’s wrong with this picture?

  4. How can there be a gender income gap in medicine? 3rd parties pay the same for a given service, right? Are the figures corrected for hours worked, and the males simply put in more hours? Are the female docs less likely to be aggressive in contract negotiations? Perhaps I am just old and out of touch, but I thought medicine of all professions would be egalitarian.

  5. I trained in a NYC area hospital. As a pgy 4 and with the $3500 extra stipend for chief resident i earned ~$75,000

    It was a blessing as cost of living is sky high. Was married with kids.

    Unions in the NYC area paid off…..

  6. I earn about 150K/yr with moonlighting as a PGY3. I wonder what the average would be if they factored in additional income sources.

Leave a comment Please see our comment policy