Highest and Lowest Paid Specialties

For the most part, physician income is on the rise, although slightly less than half of physicians reported they didn't feel fairly compensated. Plus, pediatrics is no longer the lowest paid specialty.

Pediatrics is no longer the lowest paid specialty, according to a Medscape’s new physician compensation survey. Plus, while orthopedics and cardiology tied for the highest pay in 2012’s survey, one of them pulled away to stand alone at the top.

For the most part, physician income is on the rise, according to Medscape’s Physician Compensation Report 2013, with eight of the specialties surveyed by Medscape reporting that they earned a mean of more than $300,000 annually.

"As the economy has gotten somewhat stronger, many people who have been putting off elective procedures are now getting them," Tommy Bohannon, a vice president at physician recruiting company Merritt Hawkins, told Medscape. "As the population ages, more knees and hips are giving out and need to be fixed."

However, there’s still a sizeable gap between the incomes of men and women physicians. Overall, men earn 30% more than women ($259,000 to $199,000); however, the difference is just 17% in primary care ($189,000 to $161,000).

Physicians in the North Central region (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota) reported the highest median compensation ($259,000), while the Northeast reported the lowest median compensation ($228,000).

Source: Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2013

Other factors affecting compensation are whether or not physicians are board certified. The 89% of respondents with certification earned $251,000 compared to just $150,000 of those without certification.

And while more than half (52%) of all physicians reported that they don’t feel fairly compensation, 51% of primary care physicians do feel fairly compensated.

To see more from the Medscape survey, including taking Medicare and Medicaid patients, participation in various payment models and ancillary services, read the full report.

Highest paid specialties

5. Urology

Mean income 2013 report: $340,000

Mean income 2012 report: $309,000

2012 rank: 5

Satisfaction with compensation: 48%

4. Gastroenterology

Mean income 2013 report: $342,000

Mean income 2012 report: $303,000

2012 rank: 6

Satisfaction with compensation: 48%

3. Radiology

Mean income 2013 report: $349,000

Mean income 2012 report: $315,000

2012 rank: 1 (tied)

Satisfaction with compensation: 58%

2. Cardiology

Mean income 2013 report: $357,000

Mean income 2012 report: $314,000

2012 rank: 3

Satisfaction with compensation: 42%

1. Orthopedics

Mean income 2013 report: $405,000

Mean income 2012 report: $315,000

2012 rank: 1 (tied)

Satisfaction with compensation: 39%

See the five lowest paid specialties on the next page.

Lowest paid specialties

21. Internal medicine

Mean income 2013 report: $185,000

Mean income 2012 report: $165,000

2012 rank: 23

Satisfaction with compensation: 48%

22. Diabetes/endocrinology

Mean income 2013 report: $178,000

Mean income 2012 report: $168,000

2012 rank: 22

Satisfaction with compensation: 42%

23. Family medicine

Mean income 2013 report: $175,000

Mean income 2012 report: $158,000

2012 rank: 24

Satisfaction with compensation: 49%

24. Pediatrics

Mean income 2013 report: $173,000

Mean income 2012 report: $156,000

2012 rank: 25

Satisfaction with compensation: 52%

25. HIV/ID

Mean income 2013 report: $170,000

Mean income 2012 report: $170,000

2012 rank: 20 (tied)

Satisfaction with compensation: 46%