Orthopaedists Led the Pack in 2013 Specialist Compensation

Among 25 medical specialties, orthopaedic surgery ranked highest on payscale, according to Medscape’s 2014 Compensation Study (registration/login required). With an average annual salary of $413,000 in 2013, orthopaedists were followed by cardiologists with an average salary of $351,000 and urologists and gastroenterologists (tied at $348,000). The lowest-earning specialists were HIV/ID physicians, family- and internal-medicine doctors, and pediatricians, all making less than $200,000. Relative to 2012, orthopaedists experienced an increase of nearly 2%, while rheumatologists reaped the biggest year-to-year increase in pay, with a jump of 15%. A gender gap remained, with the average salary for male orthopaedic surgeons at $418,000, compared to female surgeons at $354,000. Geography also impacts salaries. The highest-paid orthopedists live in the Northwest and the Great Lakes regions. When asked whether they would choose the same specialty if given the chance to start over, 64% of orthopaedists said they would. However, despite the high salaries, Medscape’s study placed orthopaedists in the middle of the pack for overall career satisfaction.

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