If you’re in medical school or if you’re thinking about attending medical school, there will come a time where you’ll have to choose a specialty. Many students already have an idea of what path they want to take in the medical field, while others may be torn.
Here’s a list of the top eight highest-paid physician specialties in the medical field. Keep in mind that choosing a career in medicine should first and foremost be driven by your passion to help others— then you can look into the highest paying specialties.
Surgeons, in general, are typically the highest paid physicians in the medical field. There are many different types of surgeons, but here are three of the highest paid surgeons.
Cosmetic surgeons are also known as plastic surgeons. They work on any part of the body to improve its appearance. This broad field of study may also include cosmetic dentistry, as many dental procedures improve the appearance of teeth. The average salary of a cosmetic surgeon is just under $400,000 per year.
Neurosurgeons are the highest paid surgeons, and therefore, the highest paid physicians. The work on the brain, spine, back, and also treat conditions such as epilepsy, stroke, and degenerative diseases. The top-paid neurosurgeons make over $600,000 per year.
Orthopedic surgeons treat the musculoskeletal system and diseases such as cancer, degenerative diseases, and infections. The average orthopedic surgeon makes around $421,000 per year, but top earners can make up to $500,000.
Cardiologists treat the cardiovascular system, which includes the heart and veins. They check and treat the heart by ordering tests and prescribing heart medications. Cardiologists make an average of $376,000 per year. Heart surgeons, who actually perform more invasive procedures on the heart, make more— an average of $525,000 per year.
Gastroenterologists treat the digestive system, which includes the esophagus, stomach, the intestines, and also the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. They treat both minor and major digestive issues affecting any of these organs. Their average salary ranges from $370,000 and $455,000.
Radiologists use diagnostic tests and imaging techniques, such as ultrasounds, x rays, MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), CT (computed tomography) scans, and PET (positron emission tomography) scans to diagnose and treat diseases. They also administer radiation treatments to cancer patients. On average, they make around $415,000 per year. Keep in mind that if you’re searching for open radiology jobs (or any job in the medical field) that your salary will depend on where you work and how much experience you have.
Urologists, also called nephrologists, diagnose and treat injuries related to the urinary tract, bladder, and kidneys. They treat everything from urinary tract infections to kidney stones— and even an enlarged prostate in men. Urologists’ average salaries range from $344,000 to $412,000 per year.
Dermatologists are also cosmetic doctors (like plastic surgeons), except they only diagnose and treat conditions of the skin, ranging from contact dermatitis to skin cancer. They also deal with issues related to hair and nails. They may also perform some cosmetic procedures, such as dermabrasion, chemical peels, and even botox injections. On average, dermatologists make anywhere from $340,000 to $412,000 per year.
#7: Emergency Medicine Physicians
Emergency medicine physicians work on the front lines providing emergency medical care to patients in dire need. They work in pre-hospital settings and emergency departments providing life-saving care to those in need. Their average salary ranges from $300,000 per year to $345,000 per year.
Anesthesiologists work closely with surgeons, since they’re the ones who sedate patients before they have surgery performed. However, their job isn’t done after they’ve administered the anesthesia. They’re also responsible for monitoring the patient’s blood pressure, breathing, heart rate, and other vital signs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for an anesthesiologist is $331,190 per year.
Keep in mind that the more a physician makes, the more schooling, training, and knowledge it takes to perform their job. The most invasive physicians have a more serious job, so it’s only natural that they have to complete more training— but the fact that they get paid more is a nice trade-off.
Again, the salary shouldn’t be the only reason to choose a certain specialty in medicine. You should have a true passion for medicine and helping others before choosing, or even deciding to change your medical specialty.