Physician Salaries Rank Among Best In Nation

June 8, 2010

doctor with cashDoctors have the best-paid jobs in the country, and their salaries are likely to increase even more.

Forbes reports that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, surgeons topped the list of the 10 highest paying occupations in America, earning an annual salary of $219,770. Medical careers made up nine of the list's slots, and included anesthesiologists, and obstetrician/gynecologists. The only non-medical profession which appeared on the list was chief executive, earning an average of $167,280.

Forbes points out that one reason doctor salaries are so high is because of the amount they must invest in education and malpractice insurance. The average doctor graduates with about $150,000 in student loans, and anesthesiologists and ob-gyns can pay medical malpractice premiums totaling well over six figures every year.

General practitioners placed number eight on the list, earning an average of $168,550. Meanwhile, a survey conducted by the Medical Group Management Association found that the gap between primary-care and specialist compensation is shrinking: ModernHealthcare.com reports that "primary-care physician compensation guaranteed by single-specialty practices has increased some 17.4 percent from about $136,300 in 2006; specialists saw their first-year guaranteed pay fall about 2.1 percent during the same time period from about $235,000."

Supply and demand also affects physician salaries. Since the new federal healthcare legislation is expected to aggravate a primary-care doctor shortage, salaries for general practitioners could very likely increase. Already, some experts in the field have called for reform:

"At a time when the primary care system is collapsing and U.S. medical school graduates are avoiding the field, it is urgent that we understand the actual work of primary care and find ways to support," noted Dr. Richard Baron in a study he conducted about the workings of a primary care medical practice. "Our snapshot reveals both the magnitude of the challenge and the need for radical change in practice design and payment structure."

Compiled by CityTownInfo.com Staff


"MGMA Report Shows Increase in Physician Placement, Pay," ModernHealthcare.com, June 3, 2010, Andis Robeznieks

"The Best and Worst-Paying Jobs in America," Forbes, May 25, 2010, Helen Coster

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