Top 10 Highest Paying Specialties For Doctors

Medscape annually compiles the highest earning areas in medicine, surveying more than 20,000 physicians currently practicing medicine in the United States and comparing the data was against other studies, including one from the American Medical Association. See what areas of medicine earn physicians top dollar below. 

1. Plastic Surgery ($501,000)

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reports that the number of cosmetic procedures has risen 115 percent since 2000. "While more traditional facial procedures and breast augmentations are still among the most popular, we're seeing much more diversity in the areas of the body patients are choosing to address," said ASPS President David H. Song.

2. Orthopedics ($497,000)

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery reports that the top three areas of specialties for orthopedic surgeons are adult knee (34.4 percent), arthroscopy (34.3 percent) and sports medicine (33.4 percent).

3. Cardiology ($423,000)

Cardiology surgeries are on the rise. It is estimated that over 450,000 procedures will be performed annually by 2021, up from over 377,000 in 2014, reports the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

4. Gastroenterology ($408,000)

Over 63 million Americans suffer from chronic constipation, reports the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, resulting in 21 million hospitalizations per year.

5. Radiology ($401,000)

Radiologists primarily deal with x-rays and radiation treatment. More than 50 percent of all x-rays are performed on women, followed by men at 42 percent and children at 8 percent, reports the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

6. Dermatology ($392,000)

Dermatologists don’t just deal with acne and skin cancer (although those are two very big areas): They also address psoriasis, hair loss and rosacea, among many other conditions.

7. Anesthesiology ($386,000)

Part of the reason why anesthesiologists make so much money is the risk. Putting people under is a delicate, and potentially fatal, operation. It’s rare, but the U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that the small number of deaths associated with anesthesia usually are with the elderly.

8. Otolaryngology ($383,000)

Otolaryngologists–also known as ear, nose and throat doctors–work in the oldest specialization in medicine in the United States. Areas of focus include facial and reconstructive surgery, allergy, head and neck injuries, laryngology, otology/neurotology, pediatric otolaryngology and rhinology.

9. Urology ($373,000)

Prostate cancer, a major part of a urologist’s practice, is the second most common form of cancer in men.

10. Oncology ($363,000)

Oncologists’ area of focus is cancer. In 2018, 1,735,350 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute, and more than 600,000 people will die from the disease.


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