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What are the Highest Paying Physician Careers?

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Surgeon suturing patient after surgery Dana Neely/Stone/Getty Images

Question: What are the Highest Paying Physician Careers?

What are the highest paying physician careers, and which doctors earn the most money on average?

Answer: If you are considering a physician career, and if money is a key factor in your decision, these top-paying medical specialties may be of interest to you. Keep in mind, these figures are based on a 2012 report, based on 2011 earnings from physicians reporting data to the Medical Group Management Association. By the time you complete your medical training to become a licensed physician, the compensation situation could be different! In addition to the current compensation information, you should also consider current and projected trends in healthcare to determine what may be the most lucrative (and most in-demand) physician careers when you finish training.

Cardiologists: Depending on the type of cardiology one practices, cardiologists earn anywhere from $418,000 to over $537,000 annually. Cardiologists diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of the heart and circulatory system.

Radiologists: Radiologists use medical imaging technology to diagnose, and sometimes treat, medical conditions, disorders, and illnesses. General, diagnostic radiologists earn over $473,000 annually, and interventional radiologists, who have completed additional training and can perform certain procedures on patients, earn over $559,000 annually. Electrophysiologists earn $572,000 on average annually.

Oncologists: Oncologists specialize in the treatment of cancer. Demand for oncologists is increasingly rapidly; therefore a shortage of oncologists is predicted. Radiation oncologists, who treat solid tumors using radiation, earn over $529,000 on average. Hematology-oncologists, who treat solid cancers and cancers of the blood with chemotherapy, infusions, and bone marrow transplants, and other methods, earn about $465,089.

Gastroenterologists:earn an average of $529,000. Gastroenterology, like oncology and cardiology, is a sub-specialty of internal medicine. Gastroenterologists specialize in the treatment of digestive and gastrointestinal disorders and diagnosis of cancers and disorders of the digestive tract.

Surgeons:Several types of surgeons are among the highest earning physicians: Cardiovascular/Cardiac Surgeons earn about $590,000 on average. Cardiovascular surgeons perform open-heart surgeries such as bypasses and other complex cardiac surgeries of the heart and circulatory system.

Orthopedic Surgeons earn anywhere from $554,000 for pediatric orthopedic surgery, to a high of over $800,000 for spine surgeons. Orthopedic surgeons specialize on surgeries of the bones and joints, including sports-related injuries, trauma, and arthritic deterioration. General orthopedic surgeons earn about $569,000 annually, on average.

Transplant surgeons and pediatric surgeons also rank among the highest paid surgeons.

Again, keep in mind that due to the intricacies of how physicians are compensated, physician compensation is affected by a variety of factors including supply and demand, geographic location, overhead costs, and insurance reimbursement rates.

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