How Much Do Doctors Really Make?

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Taking into consideration the explosive growth of human population globally, having reached a staggering 7.5 billion last year, one profession we can’t ever get enough of are medical doctors. With third world countries contributing to a major chunk of the populations, doctors are needed more than ever to counter and eradicate prevalent diseases that underdeveloped or even well developed countries find themselves up against. Did you know that doctors are among the highest paid professionals in the United States of America? Software engineers, lawyers along with other professions considered prestigious have a pay scale below that of medical doctors.
Ailments and illnesses are and have always been a part of the human condition which is why doctors can never run out of job openings. This high demand is represented by the sky high salaries that doctors receive. Doctor’s salaries vary drastically according to their specialization and area of practice. A doctor can earn about $156,000 a year as a pediatrician to about $315,000 as a radiologist or orthopedic surgeon. Interestingly so, despite these numbers, only about 11% of doctors consider themselves rich. Surveys have revealed that about 51% of all physicians and 46% of primary care physicians think that they were compensated fairly.

The “Doctors are overpaid” argument
Many would argue that doctors are overpaid. This claim is widely contested. In England, the basic salary for a newly qualified doctor is £20,295. Additional pay over this is accounted for the overtime hours. The average nurse works for 37.5 hours per week and junior doctors work around 56 hours per week but this number can increase depending on the patient influx and overtime hours. If a nurse chooses to put in extra hours, they are rewarded accordingly. It’s also important not to forget the responsibility a doctor carries with him. When things go well, the healthcare team including staff and nurses are appreciated, but when things go wrong, doctors are to be blamed. Additionally, being a doctor isn’t all about attending to patients and working long hours. It means continual studying, research and staying updated on medical advances happening internationally.

Let’s take a look at the highest paid salaries amongst doctors
Orthopedics seems to be the most financially rewarding specialization with an average salary of $421,000 for patient care in 2014. Orthopedists seem to earn a lot more than other physicians when it comes to non-patient care activities too. These may include product sales and speaking engagements which can add another $29,000 a year. Cardiologists are the runner-ups with an average compensation of $376,000 for patient care only. Whereas, non patient care activities can earn them another $19,000 on average. Developed countries have a high incidence of cardiovascular diseases and obesity is another associated culprit responsible for the rising mortality rate of developed nations. The first world lifestyle of fast food coupled with a sedentary way of life seems to keep cardiology amongst the most needed heath care. Moreover, gastroenterologists are third on the list with an average compensation of $370,000 for patient care and another $14,000 in non-healthcare activities.

Cover picture by iofotoyayimages.com

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