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Doctor Salary in the US

If you are planning to become a doctor or are currently on the same path, with so much hard work required to become a successful doctor, you must have thought about how much doctors make. This is to be a quick learner and provide the best service to your patients. But there is nothing wrong with being practical when it comes to monetary benefits, especially considering the high cost of obtaining a medical degree in the first place.

There isn't any doubt that doctors in the US have great earning potential, as they are well-compensated for their work. However, their compensation is affected by various factors such as speciality, location, and experience. To break the ice and get all your questions answered, read this blog where we have listed out the doctor's salary in the US basis on the speciality and state. 

Doctor Salary in the USA - Overview

OverviewThe healthcare sector is among the top-paying fields in the USA. However, the compensation of a doctor is affected by various factors, such as specialisation, gender, and geography resulting in an average difference of USD 81,000 between the highest and lowest-paid salaries of doctors in the US.

Specialities such as Plastic Surgery, Cardiology and Radiology are among the high-paying ones, while Endocrinology and Psychiatry are among the low-paying fields. Physician salaries not only depend on their speciality and experience but also on their place of practice, with private practice physicians typically receiving higher pay than those working at hospitals or non-profit organisations.

Did You Know?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics list, out of the top 20 highest-paying professions, 13 belonged to the healthcare sector, which clearly demonstrates its earning potential.

What is the average salary for doctors in the US?

According to data from Glassdoor, the average salary for doctors in the US in 2022 was USD 183,429, the lowest national average annual wage was USD 126,470, and the highest was USD 208,000.

US Doctor Salaries Based on Job Roles

When it comes to compensation, the speciality plays a crucial role. In general, doctors in high-demanding specialities tend to make more money compared to those in less-demanding fields.

Here are the average salaries of doctors in the US based on specific job roles

Job Role

Average Annual Salary (in USD)

General Practitioner

USD 174,000


USD 237,000


USD 220,000


USD 409,000


USD 398,000

Orthopaedic Surgeon

USD 511,000


USD 446,000


USD 397,000


USD 397,000


USD 421,000


USD 183,000

Family Medicine Physician

USD 209,000


USD 286,000


USD 208,000


USD 296,000


USD 386,000


USD 310,000


USD 234,000

States-wise US Doctors' Salaries

Apart from the area of speciality, another factor that plays a crucial role in determining a doctor's salary is the location where they practice. States such as California and New York tend to pay higher compensation than rural communities.

Listed below is the average salary of doctors state-wise in the USA


Average Annual Salary (in USD)


USD 240,000


USD 292,000


USD 286,000


USD 317,000


USD 297,000


USD 245,000


USD 270,000


USD 268,000


USD 268,000


USD 250,000


USD 281,000


USD 268,000


USD 263,000


USD 319,000


USD 277,000


USD 277,000

New Jersey

USD 300,000


USD 284,000


USD 292,000


USD 310,000

It's important to note that these are only average salaries and can vary widely based on factors such as speciality, years of experience, and practice setting. Additionally, some states may have higher costs of living, which can affect overall earnings.

Average US Doctor Salaries Based on the Gender Gap

As per the Medscape report, male doctors make a significantly higher salary than female doctors, but this gap is shrinking yearly. The gender gap in the salary of doctors also varies by speciality. For example, in family medicine, there was a gap of only 9%, while in orthopaedics, the gap was 28%.

The crucial aspect is that this salary gap is not solely due to discrimination but depends on factors such as speciality choice, experience, and hours worked. However, research has shown that even after accounting for these factors, there is still a wide gender pay gap in the medical field.

Doctor Salaries in the USA: Self-Employed vs Full-Time Doctors

According to the 2020 Medscape Physician Compensation Report, approximately 47% of doctors in the United States are self-employed, while 53% work as employees for a hospital, group practice, or other healthcare organisation.

However, this percentage of self-employed doctors varies by speciality. For example: in dermatology, 70% of physicians are self-employed, while in emergency medicine, only 18% are self-employed. Now, coming to compensation, according to the 2020 Medscape Physician Compensation Report, the average salary for self-employed physicians was USD 352,000, while for employed physicians, the average was USD 281,000, which means that self-employed physicians earned approximately 25% more than full-time physicians on average.

However, the main thing to consider here is that being self-employed comes with expenses, such as rent, equipment, and staff salaries, which can significantly impact their take-home pay. Additionally, self-employed doctors do not have the same benefits as full-time employees, which include health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and more.

Doctor Salary: USA vs Globally

The salary of doctors varies phenomenally around the world. However, according to the Medscape report, doctors in the US tend to receive higher compensation than their counterparts in many other countries.

According to the data from Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in 2018, the average annual salary for a doctor in the United States was approximately USD 313,000. This is significantly higher than the average salary for doctors in many other countries, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. However, one must note that the cost of living in the United States is also higher than in many other countries. 

Average Salary of Surgeons

According to a 2020 Medscape Physician Compensation Report, the average salary for surgeons in the United States is USD 409,665 annually. However, this compensation depends on speciality, experience, and location. According to the research, the highest-paid surgical specialities were orthopaedics, plastic surgery, and otolaryngology (ENT), with average salaries of USD 511,000, USD 479,000, and USD 455,000/year, respectively. Other high-paying surgical specialities include cardiothoracic surgery, neurosurgery, and urology, with the average salaries ranging from USD 427,000 to USD 441,000/year.

Ayurveda Practitioners and Doctors: How Much Do They Earn in the USA?

Ayurveda is an ancient traditional medicine system that emphasises healing with natural remedies, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications. With time the demand for Ayurvedic practitioners is surging in the USA as more Americans are getting interested in meditation, herbal therapy, and lifestyle changes.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary of an Ayurvedic physician in the USA was USD 85,610 as of May 2020. So, Ayurveda is a highly lucrative career for professionals trained in traditional Ayurveda Medicine and licensed to practice in the USA.

Benefits and Bonuses for US Physicians

As highly trained medical professionals, physicians play an impactful role in keeping us healthy and thriving. To appreciate their hard work and dedication, they receive several benefits and bonuses from their employers. From health insurance and retirement plans to sign-on bonuses and performance-based incentives, the perks of being a US physician extend far beyond the satisfaction of treating and helping others.

While it is important to note that benefits and bonuses can vary widely by speciality and practice setting, a few general ones include

  • Health insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • Malpractice insurance
  • Continuing education
  • Sign-on bonuses
  • Performance bonuses
  • Relocation assistance


Overall, the conclusion is that being a doctor is a rewarding career in terms of satisfaction and compensation. So, understand that you can make a good living as a doctor. While pay varies by speciality, what's important is to stay focused and choose the field that interests you. At the end of the day, whatever you choose, you will be healing people. So, just put in consistent efforts, work smartly, and do not hesitate to take help from experienced people. And we are here to help you. The process, which might seem difficult, can be done within no time with the help of our experienced team.

AECC helps aspiring students to study abroad from India. We have trained professionals and experienced counsellors to guide you throughout your university application process. Don't hesitate to contact us for FREE assistance!

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