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Physician Salary Report: Are They Expecting An Increase?

Physician Salary Report: Are They Expecting An Increase?

In 2020, the pandemic made it a significantly challenging year for physicians across all specialties. Medscape recently posted their latest salary report, and we’re going to break it down to showcase physicians’ present and future salaries.

During these unprecedented times, the majority of physicians noticed a decrease in income. As fewer patients were allowed to enter hospitals or clinics, workable hours dropped considerably. Therefore, fewer hours worked means less income.

Because of this, between the years 2020 and 2021, physicians who are PCPs or Specialists received a decline in annual pay. To visualize this decrease further, see the below table:

Year PCPs Annual Income (Average) Specialist Annual Income (Average)
2020 $243K (USD) $346K (USD)
2021 $242K (USD) $344K (USD)

Source: Medscape

Although the above table suggests a forecasted decline for physicians across the board, this only became present because of Covid-19. To gain a better insight into other sectors and their predicted future, I recommend reading the below.

Average salary report based on physician specialty

We understand that the above data provides information based on the physician industry. However, an abundance of specialties within this sector pays a substantial amount more or less. Therefore, to familiarise yourself with the top 10 average salaries in this trade, see the below:

Physician specialty Average Annual Income ($USD)
Plastic Surgery $562K
Orthopaedics & Orthopaedic Surgery $511K
Cardiology $459K
Urology $427K
Otolaryngology $417K
Radiology $413K
Gastroenterology $406K
Oncology $403K
Dermatology $394K
Ophthalmology $379K

Source: Dark Daily

Currently, these are the best average salaries based on a physician’s specialty. Although most receive a decrease in income during 2020, what are they forecasted to earn within the next ten years? We answer this later in the post.

Self-employed vs. employed physicians

Before we uncover the expected increase that physicians are forecasted to receive, we must break down the 2020 earnings for self-employed and employed physicians. Generally speaking, you can expect to earn more self-employed, but a lot more administrative and legal work is involved to ensure a risk-free career. To grasp a better understanding of what each sector received in 2020, see the below:

Profession Employed Self Employed
PCPs $189,000 $212,000
Specialists $329,000 $258,000

Source: NEJM

The above clearly outlines that self-employed physicians outperform employed individuals (in terms of income). However, choosing this type of employment model comes with additional expenses and responsibilities, which might overshadow the increase in payment.

What can physicians expect in the future?

After reading the above, you should better visualize how much physicians have earned in recent years. But, those in the industry, or training, want to know how much their forecasted income is expected to be within future years.

Considering inflation and various other economic aspects, the industry is only expected to receive a three percent increase from 2020 to 2030. According to specialists, this forecasted increase is much slower than average. However, because recent years have taught us how vital our healthcare sector is, we expect this increase to become much more considerable.

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