By Marcia Frellick
WebMD Health News
April 24, 2019 -- Average doctor salaries rose to $313,000 from $299,000 last year, according to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2019.
The report is the most comprehensive doctor salary report in the United States, representing almost 20,000 physicians in more than 30 specialties.
The top three highest-paid specialties are:
- Orthopedists at an average of $482,000 a year
- Plastic surgeons: $471,000
- Otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat): $461,000
The lowest-paid specialties are:
- Public health and preventive medicine: $209,000
- Pediatricians: $225,000
- Family medicine: $231,000
The specialists who were most likely to say they are fairly paid were public health doctors. The least likely to say they were fairly paid were infectious disease doctors and diabetes and endocrinology specialists (both at 42% salary satisfaction).
Oklahoma was the top-earning state for all doctors, with an average income of $337,000, followed by Alabama at $330,000 and Nevada at $329,000.
Gender Gap Widens
A comparison of full-time salaries in primary care shows that male doctors' earnings grew to 25% more than their female counterparts' earnings this year ($258,000 vs. $207,000). The gap was 18% last year, 16% in 2017, and 17% in 2016, the report shows.
Women often choose to practice in many of the lowest-paying specialties, the report notes. Only 9% of orthopedists are women, for example, whereas 60% of pediatricians are female.
"However, the preponderance of women in the lower-paying specialties doesn't explain the pay disparity within each specialty," the report notes.
Male specialists earned 33% more than female specialists in this year's report ($372,000 vs. $280,000). In 2018, they earned 36% more.
In primary care, men work an average of 4 hours more than women, and among specialties, men work 3 hours more, the survey shows. This also does not explain the gender pay gap.
A racial gap persists as well. White doctors continued to make the most, on average, at $319,000. Hispanic/Latino and mixed-race doctors were next at $303,000, followed by Asians at $300,000 and African American/black doctors at $281,000.