Orthopedics remains No. 2 paid specialty: 10 insights on pay, work life & more

Carly Behm -  

Orthopedics sits just behind plastic surgery as the second highest-paid specialty in the U.S., according to Medscape's "Physician Compensation Report 2022."

Medscape surveyed 13,000 physicians across 29 specialties from Oct. 5, 2021, to Jan. 19.

10 insights:

1. The average pay in orthopedics is $557,000. That's up from $511,000 in 2021; however, plastic surgery remained the No. 1 paid specialty with an average compensation of $576,000.

2. Average orthopedic pay increased 9 percent compared to last year. Otolaryngology saw the highest compensation jump, 13 percent.

3. Orthopedics saw the highest average incentive bonus, $126,000. In2021, that figure was $116,000.

4. Fifty-two percent of orthopedic physicians surveyed said they felt fairly compensated.

5. Eleven percent of orthopedic physicians are women. That jumped from 9 percent in Medscape's 2021 report.

6. Orthopedics is one of the most satisfying specialties, with 97 percent of physicians saying they would choose it again.

7. Orthopedic physicians said they spend an average of 14 hours per week on paperwork and administration.

8. The income gap between all male and female specialists is $95,000. On average, male specialists earned an average of $402,000 while female specialists earned $307,000.

9. The top-earning states for physicians overall are Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Missouri, Oregon, Indiana, North Carolina, Connecticut, Texas and Florida. All had an average physician compensation of at least $346,000.

10. Twenty-one percent of all physicians surveyed said their income dropped. Of those physicians, 70 percent said COVID-19-related factors led to that drop. Last year, 92 percent of physicians who saw an income drop pointed to the pandemic as the main factor.

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