We encourage all healthcare job seekers to diligently consider many factors related to the healthcare profession when they are making decisions about their occupation. 

Compensation is a major focus because it affects so much about the quality of life and overall wellness and satisfaction one has over the course of a physician’s career. If you’re looking for more information about overall satisfaction based on a specific specialty, take a look at a previous blog post that lists the top 5 specialties nationwide.

For practicing physicians looking for industry-specific information related to compensation, according to a 2021 report from Doximity, with data collected from over 160,000 doctors nation-wide, there are some valuable insights related to physician compensation and satisfaction that may affect your future quality-of-life decisions as a medical doctor when it comes to making a living.

We pulled some overarching statistics to help you make informed decisions about your future.

 Highest and Lowest-Earning Specialties

 According to the December report, The top specialties in 2021 nationwide when it comes to compensation include

  •  Neurosurgery
  • Thoracic Surgery
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Plastic Surgery
  •  Vascular Surgery
  • Oral & Maxillofacial
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Cardiology
  • Urology
  • Gastroenterology.

The lowest paying non-pediatric specialties include 

  • Medical Genetics
  • Preventive Medicine
  • Geriatrics
  • Endocrinology
  • Family Medicine
  • Child Neurology
  • Ped. Emergency Medicine
  • Infectious Disease
  •  Internal Medicine

Medical professionals should always prioritize their passion and capabilities first, but a general awareness of the discrepancies in compensation is a consideration for many physicians who want to make informed decisions and look for trends.

Loan Repayment and Forgiveness Programs

Are you passionate about a specialty, but looking for solutions to pay the mountain of student loans? Physicians in the following specialties may qualify to receive tax-exempt funds to repay your outstanding, qualifying, educational loans. If you are interested in serving communities in need at NHSC- approved sites in :

  • Family Medicine
  • General Internal Medicine
  • General Pediatrics
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology
  • Geriatrics

Follow this link to learn more about the NHSC Loan Repayment Program.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is available to physicians employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization.

Follow this link to learn more about Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Compensation and Cost of Living 

Higher compensation aligns with the cost of living in southeastern metro areas like Charlotte NC, Orlando, and Jacksonville Fl; while northeastern areas like Providence RI, Boston MA, Baltimore MD, and Washington D.C  have not caught up with the rising wages and costs of living. 

Take into consideration that inflation is going to continue for the foreseeable future and that may strongly affect your decisions about the location you want to consider living and practicing in. 

Gender Wage Gap

With male doctors statistically making nearly 2 million more than their female counterparts over the course of their careers, the gender wage gap landed at 28% in 2021. Coinciding with occupational burnout due to the increased burden of childcare during the pandemic, 25%  of female physicians studied revealed that they’re considering early retirement due to these factors.

Healthcare organizations will need to take these statistics into consideration in order to hire and retain qualified doctors for their open positions, which may put the advantage back in the hands of those most affected.

Covid Considerations

Along with compensation, physicians should consider overall satisfaction and wellness related to their jobs. In 2021, more than 73% of physicians reported feeling overworked and burned out from pandemic-related stressors, leading to 50% of those physicians considering an employment change. 

The aforementioned wage gap and the drastic changes to daily life and parenting requirements led to female physicians being more likely to consider early retirement than their male counterparts. The overall rate of retirement among physicians showed 1% more physicians left their practice than were expected. This will likely lead to further strains on existing physicians across many specialties, requiring further wage increases, business model changes to accommodate and retain quality medical specialists.

The strains on the current healthcare landscape have the potential to mean different and better opportunities lay ahead if healthcare organizations are looking to adapt and grow. When searching for openings in a healthcare environment with a compensation plan and business model that aligns with your priorities and supports your skills and passions, look to Polaris Placement for career guidance, valuable insights, and expert support services to make your next career moves.