Physician salaries: Which states' physicians earn the most & more: 5 key takeaways

Practice Management

In its 2016 Physician Compensation Report, Medscape polled over 19,200 physicians to determine physician compensation based on specialty, U.S. region, state, gender and more.

Here are five things to know:


1. Top three earners in 2016 were orthopedists ($443,000), cardiologists ($410,000) and dermatologists ($381,000). The year's lowest earners were pediatricians ($204,000), endocrinologists ($206,000) and family physicians ($207,000).


2. Physicians reported the highest earnings ($296,000) in the North Central region (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri) while lowest earnings ($266,000) were reported in the Northeast region (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York). Geographic supply and demand largely influences compensation, as does uneven distribution of physicians to patient volume in rural and poor communities. Several government policies seek to improve access to care, resulting in higher income in these regions. Additionally, as urban markets increase salaries, smaller, rural markets add compensation to attract and retain physicians.


3. The three states to repeat as the report's top-earners are North Dakota ($348,000), New Hampshire ($322,000) and Nebraska ($317,000). While North Dakota's oil boom has increased physician salary, current oil prices will likely limit the trend in the near future. Rhode Island ($224,000), Washington, D.C. ($226,000) and Maryland ($231,000) were the three lowest-earning states in the 2016 report.


4. Male physicians earned more than female physicians, whether they were primary care physicians ($225,000 versus $192,000, respectively) or specialists ($324,000 versus $242,000, respectively). Women's earnings increased more between 2012 and 2016 than men's did (36 percent for women versus 29 percent for men). More women physicians were employed in 2016 than their male counterparts (72 percent compared to 59 percent).


5. Employed primary care physicians made $207,000 on average while self-employed primary care physicians earned $229,000. Employed primary care physicians experienced the highest percentage compensation increase (10 percent) since the 2015 report, followed by self-employed primary care physicians (8 percent) and all specialists (6 percent).


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