Last Updated on May 30, 2023 by Umer Malik

In the medical field, there are so many specialties to choose from and even more subspecialties within the main branches. The majority of physicians choose a field of study that aligns with their interest and a lucky few are able to also engage their passions. 

Aside from an intense desire to practice in a specific field, a physician’s salary will also play a big role in their choice of specialties. Even within the same specialty, some doctors may earn dramatically more than others. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top reasons some doctors are able to command higher wages.

Positions of Leadership

Positions of Leadership

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko:

One of the most traditional reasons that some doctors earn more than others within the same field is because of a position of leadership. A pediatrician who is only tasked with seeing patients is going to earn less than one that is tasked with seeing patients and overseeing those working under them. However, higher salaries also come with more administrative duties despite working in the same field.

Clinician Status

Well-known clinicians that are at the top of their field are naturally valued by healthcare systems, hospitals, and patients. Not only are “rock star” physicians able to increase the prestige of the facility where they are employed, but they are also able to attract more clients. 

This ability to generate more income results in the doctor being able to ask for, or even demand better remuneration for their services. For example, an eye specialist known for successfully performing nearly impossible eye surgeries will have a higher ophthalmologist salary than one who only offers basic care.

Demand For Physician Type

The rules surrounding supply and demand don’t only apply to physical goods, but also skilled labor. Doctors that are more in demand or who have subspecialties high in demand will be able to earn more than their peers. Ophthalmology specialist that has a subspecialty in elder care or eye surgery is going to be in higher demand than those who offer a general range of services. Doctors practicing their specialty or subspecialty in an area where there are fewer or no other specialists will be able to earn much more than other doctors in the same field. 

Photo by EVG Kowalievska:

Practical Medical Applications

One thing medical college teaches students is how to think outside the box in terms of treating patients. While most doctors will stick to the textbook, those that are able to expand on practical medical applications more efficiently will be able to treat more patients. The more effective treatment is, the more patients will flock to the practice for a doctor’s services. 

Practical medical applications can help cut costs in a medical practice or even help those working there to better manage their time. All this frees up resources which can lead to a higher salary for the doctor in question.

The Size of The Medical Practice

A commonly overlooked reason for doctors having higher salaries than their peers is simply the size of their workplace. Smaller clinics and hospitals will have smaller budgets. Larger locations will have more patients, and also a larger budget with which to pay the doctors in their employ. Locations considered multi-specialty practices tend to be able to pay the highest rates regardless of practice location.

Can You Increase Your Physician Salary?

There are various reasons why there are so many variations between physician incomes. Aside from the five common reasons listed above, other factors may also play a role. Gender is one factor that affects pay rates as well physician experience among other things. 

Before choosing which specialty to pursue or even which position to accept, it is important to research pay rates and package remuneration in advance. Working with a physician contract specialist is also an option to make sure that you are getting the best offer available for your services. 

Author Bio:

Heather Blacksmith has a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and works at a finance firm based in Seattle, Washington. She specializes in small business finance, credit, law, and insurance. When she is not working, she spends her time in her favorite coffee shop writing on various finance-related topics. Other than that, she enjoys adult coloring books, recycling, and running.

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