Everything you need to know about salaries for medical professionals

Everything you need to know about salaries for medical professionals

The medical industry is evolving, and medical salaries are always changing. People need doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical staff for a good living. Here’s everything you need to know about medical salaries in 2019.

Medical specialists, physicians and nurses alike, have a noble professional trajectory. They adhere to the Hippocratic Oath or deontological rules, and swear to take care of patients as best they can in service of medicine. This is one of their main rewards, they are satisfied with their meaningful job, and the other is income.

A medical professional shouldn’t define his or hers success by the number of zeros in their account. Still, it does help with their hectic professional lives of over 40h/week and anxiety levels to know they are taken care of financially, especially when over $200.000 in student loans are involved.


Physician salaries continue to rise, but there are considerable gaps by gender, race and even location. There have been bigger salaries recorded in Central America and Southeast than in Southwest and Northeast. The US doctor salaries by specialty below depict a standard income per year.

Of course, there are better paid medical domains, like plastic surgery, orthopedics, cardiology and lower earning specialties like family medicine, pediatrics and public health. Also, each year there are specialties more popular than others, like psychiatry or immunology. Mental health is on the rise, as is the attention to food allergies, especially in kids.

Besides these factors, you should also consider public versus private practice jobs. It’s public knowledge that a self-employed physician will end up earning more than an employed one. Yet, if you’re dipping your toes into medicine, you’d better stick to a clinic or a hospital first.

  • Medical intern salary (first year practicing supervised by a superior) is around $50.000-$55.000 per year.
  • Resident or fellow salary (physician looking at 2-7 years of specialized training, after two years a resident can become a family doctor and after the third year they can become general practitioners) is around $50.000 (public health) – $70.000 per year (critical care or emergency, immunology & allergy, surgery).
  1. First year resident salary – $55.000/year
  2. Second year resident salary – $57.000/year
  3. Third year resident salary – $56.000/year
  4. Fourth year resident salary – $60.000/year
  5. Fifth year resident salary – $62.000/year
  6. Sixth year and onward resident salary – > $64.000/year
  • Primary care physician salary (a specialist you see for regular checkups which can be an internist, a pediatrician or a family medicine doctor) is around $150.000 – $250.000/year
  • Pediatrician or attending (specialized physician) salary is over $170.000/year
  • Family doctor salary is around $200.000/year
  • Internist salary is over $250.000/year
  • General practitioner salary is around $250.000 – $280.000/year
  • Specialist physician salary (physician in post-residency training which can be a pediatrician earning the lowest or a plastic surgeon and a neurosurgeon earning the most) is around $200.000 – $650.000/year
  • Emergency physician salary is around $250.000 – $350.000/year
  • Emergency specialist physician salary is around $180.000/year
  • Dentist salary is around $130.000 – $140.000/year


A nurses’ salary depends on a lot of factors like private or public health, age or experience and their specialty, to name a few. Registered nurses have very stressful jobs with lots of shifts, so it’s important that their payment be right. Of course, as it’s the case with a lot of professionals in the medical field, they feel overworked most of the time.

A basic caregiver’s salary or an RN can vary from $50.000/year around the US to $100.000/year in California’s private sector. The highest paid industries are federal government, general medicine public hospitals and privately owned specialty hospitals, like nursing homes.

Incomes are higher with each extra specialization. If nurses have a BSN degree they can end up doubling their income. Trained nurses or NPs in California are the highest paid with an average of over $125.000 per year.

  • LPN nurse salary is around $40.000 – $55.000/year
  • ADN nurse salary is around $45.000 – $75.000/year
  • Pharmacy nurse and dentist nurse salary is around $70.000/year
  • Emergency nurse salary is around $85.000/year
  • Physician assistant or nurse is over $100.000/year
  • Midwife nurse salary is around $65.000 – $130.000/year


Once you finish pharmacy school, it’s time to think about continuing your education and starting work to pay your student debt. Pharmacists work behind the counter, but they do a lot more. They have to keep up with the latest drugs on the market, offer medical advice and counseling.

A pharmacy specialist’s payment varies on where he or she works – pharmacy, retail store, chain drug store – and even what are his or hers responsibilities – dispense medication or even mix ingredients for personalized treatments. All these details lead to the highest salary, which adds up to $160.000/year.

  • Pharmacy technician salary is around $20.000 – $35.000/year
  • Pharmacist resident salary begins at $50.000/year
  • Pharmacy nurse salary is around $70.000/year
  • Pediatric pharmacist salary is around $115.000/year
  • Critical care pharmacist salary is over $115.000/year
  • Pharmacist salary is around $90.000 – $140.000/year

4. How much do other medical staff members make?

Physicians and dentists, nurses and different specialists compile a medical staff. But they wouldn’t be able to do their jobs without the help of other health supporting professionals and some of them are:

  • Patient transporter salary is around $25.000 – $30.000/year
  • Medical orderly salary is around $25.000 – $30.000/year
  • Medical assistant salary is around $25.000 – $35.000/year
  • Medical driver salary is around $30.000/year
  • Ward clerk salary is around $35.000/year
  • Dietitian or nutritionist salary is around $25.000 – $60.000/year
  • Therapist salary is around $50.000 – $110.000/year
  • Technician salary (e.g. radiology, ultrasound, surgical) is around $60.000 – $70.000/year
  • Medical laboratory technologist salary is around $60.000 – $70.000/year
  • Psychologist salary is around $70.000/year
  • Therapist salary is around $50.000 – $110.000/year
  • Physiotherapist salary is around $70.000 – $120.000/year
  • Psychiatrist salary is over $180.000/year

5. How much does a medical professional earn after taxes?

In the medical field, high income can be deceptive in the beginning, especially when you have to pay back a student loan. Usually, half of a health care professional is spent on this debt in the beginning, following taxes, insurances and monthly expenses.

Of course, yearly costs between a resident and a doctor vary quite a lot. First of all, hopefully, physician loans are long paid. Then, residents don’t yet pay between $3000 – $35.000/year on medical malpractice insurance. But they can start thinking about a classic 401k retirement fund which costs between $500 (the minimum) – $18500/year (the maximum in 2018 if you’re under 50 years old).

Let’s look at medical students as an example, because their student loans are bigger. Usually doctors graduate medical school with a student loan debt between $200.000-$300.000, while a nurse program begins at $3000/year and can end up closely to a doctor’s costs of about $100.000/year in popular universities.

A resident usually wins around $55.000/year. They don’t have to pay federal income taxes yet, those are applied to doctors and they’re over 35% of their yearly income, but they do have to pay payroll taxes like Social Security and Medicare health insurance of about $3500/year.

It will cost a resident almost half of his or hers yearly income to pay the interest on a $300.000 loan; let’s say around $20.000/year for 30 years. But the U.S. tax code allows deductions of up to $2500/year for student loans.

He or she isn’t left with much for shared rent and maintenance fees ($10000/year) and other expenditures like food ($2500/year), phone plan ($150/year) and transportation (car – $5000/year or public – $1200/year). In the end it’s not that bad, they can manage for a few years, when they can specialize and start earning more.

to6. How can a medical specialist increase earnings?

Physicians and nurses’ compensation is influenced by factors like specialization, skills, age or experience. Some are more in demand than others because of marketing, while others are known in the field for unique experiences in the operating room.

To be able to win more money as a doctor or a nurse they can:

  1. See more patients without losing the quality of their service or add more shifts. Nurses can even tutor students online or one on one in their free time.
  2. Move to a bigger practice or shift from public care to a private clinic.
  3. Diversify their specialty. For example, a cardiologist can be a doctor at the hospital, a specialist on TV or in a college room and a legal testimony source in court.
  4. Divide their time in both public and private practices.
  5. Some take up a more administrative role in the hospital or clinic as responsibilities usually bring more revenue.
  6. Change their specialty from a family doctor, to a dermatologist for example or from a nurse to a midwife.
  7. Renegotiate their contract to add productivity bonuses, stock options or compensation for bringing niche specialties at the clinic.
  8. Bring in more clients to a private practice by promoting themselves. They can earn yearly bonuses for launching a YouTube channel or an Instagram account, or even for writing books.
  9. Bring new team members, like assistants, that can take some of their responsibilities and free up their time. Dentists usually are known to practice this.
  10. Last, but definitely not least, invest wisely the extra income after monthly expenditures.

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