25 top-earning physician specialties

Typically, primary care physicians earn on average $195,000 a year, and specialists earn $284,000 a year, according to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2015.

Additionally, self-employed specialists and PCPs earned more than their counterparts employed by healthcare organizations. At least half of specialists and PCPs feel fairly compensated.
 
But which specialists earn the most?

Here are the highest-paid physician specialties for patient care, based on 2014 salary data, as well as the average percentage change in pay between 2013 and 2014:

1. Orthopedics — $421,000 (2 percent increase)
2. Cardiology — $376,000 (7 percent decrease)
3. Gastroenterology — $370,000 (7 percent increase)
4. Anesthesiology — $358,000 (6 percent increase)
5. Plastic surgery — $354,000 (10 percent increase)
6. Radiology — $351,000 (3 percent decrease)
7. Urology — $344,000 (1 percent decrease)
8. Dermatology — $339,000 (10 percent increase)
9. General surgery — $317,000 (7 percent increase)
10. Emergency medicine — $306,000 (12 percent increase)
11. Oncology — $302,000 (4 percent increase)
12. Pulmonary medicine — $296,000 (15 percent decrease)  
13. Ophthalmology — $292,000 (no change)
14. Critical care — $283,000 (1 percent increase)
15. Pathology — $267,000 (12 percent decrease)
16. Obstetrics/gynecology — $249,000 (2 percent increase)
17. Nephrology — $243,000 (1 percent decrease)
18. Neurology — $229,000 (5 percent increase)
19. Psychiatry/mental health — $216,000 (10 percent increase)
20. HIV/infectious disease — $213,000 (22 percent increase)
21. Rheumatology — $205,000 (4 percent decrease)
22. Internal medicine — $196,000 (4 percent increase)
23. Diabetes/endocrinology — $196,000 (7 percent increase)
24. Family medicine — $195,000 (10 percent increase)
25. Pediatrics — $189,000 (4 percent increase)

Note: The survey polled 19,500 physicians in 25 specialties.

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