The average annual salary for a physician increased by about 43% from $206,000 in 2011 to $294,000 this year, according to an annual Medscape report on physician compensation.
Primary care physicians (PCPs) earn an average of $217,000 per year, about $100,000 less than the average specialist salary, and specialties with the highest average salaries are orthopedics ($489,000), plastic surgery ($440,000) and cardiology ($410,000).
- Male PCPs earn 16% more than female PCPs on average, which is down from 18.9% in 2012, and a new category on race and ethnicity revealed that white physicians earn more on average than physicians of color.
Physician salaries are on the rise, which must be some consolation for doctors coming out of grueling training programs with significant debt to face to enter a career fraught with administrative burdens.
The Medscape results do suggest pay biases that reflect frustration throughout society over gender, racial, and ethnic pay inequalities. White physicians earn $303,000 on average compared with $283,000 for Asian physicians, $271,000 for Hispanic physicians, and $262,000 for black physicians. Physicians of color are more likely than white physicians to enter primary care, which can help to explain the gap as PCP generally make less than specialists.
While the gender pay gap has fallen in recent years, it is still especially wide for specialists. Male specialists make $345,000 on average, which is 37% higher than the average female specialist salary of $251,000. The gender pay gap among specialists has actually increased from 33% last year.
Responses to questions regarding time spent on administrative tasks reflects other recent surveys. More than one-half of physicians said they spend 10 or more hours per week on paperwork, up from 35% of employed physicians and 26% of self-employed physicians who responded similarly. Results also showed significant opposition to MACRA. Only 43% said they would definitely participate and more than a third said they were unsure.
The Medscape survey provides a lot of data to take in. This can be helpful to lawmakers attempting to achieve certain policy goals, students considering residency programs and physicians deciding where they might want to practice next.