However, there are averages and benchmarks for each specialty based on data compiled by professional organizations and other institutions. One of the most referenced collections of data is compiled annually by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). They release their data in the middle to end of each year, for the previous year. Based on the 2011 data, below is a list of average income for some of the most popular physician specialties.
Anesthesiologists are among some of the most well-compensated physicians. Anesthesiologists administer pain blocks and anesthesia to patients undergoing surgery or procedures in the hospital, outpatient surgery center, or dental office.
The nature of their work can be demanding and stressful. Also, anesthesiologists are obviously a key component of a good surgery department, and therefore a lot of hospital revenue depends on their performance as well as on the surgeons on staff.
- Invasive cardiologist: $499,486
- Interventional cardiologist: $553,890
- Noninvasive cardiologist: $444,220
- Electrophysiologist: $571,508
Dermatology is another one of the more highly compensated specialties. Dermatology is lucrative because it entails a combination of high-paying procedures that are medically necessary, such as skin cancer biopsies, skin conditions, etc. while also allowing doctors an opportunity to earn additional cash with aesthetic procedures such as botox, fillers, laser hair removal and other lucrative elective procedures.
Family practice physicians provide primary care and are not as well reimbursed as many of their specialist physician counterparts. The above figure is the average income for an FP who also practices obstetrics (delivers babies) as part of his or her practice. Without OB, the pay drops slightly to about $207,916. And the annual income drops further if the doctor only practices on an outpatient basis, to about $193,390.
GeriatricianAverage annual income: $188,885
Geriatricians are primary care doctors who specialize in treating elderly patients.
Hematologist/OncologistAverage annual income: $444,510
Oncologists diagnose and treat malignancies (cancers) of tissue and blood.
Palliative care is a relatively new specialty. Palliative care physicians specialize in treating terminally ill patients.
Hospitalists are internal medicine physicians or family practitioners who only treat patients in a hospital setting (inpatient).
NeurologistAverage annual income: $276,421
Neurologists treat disorders of the brain, spine, and nervous system.