While all doctors make a comfortable living, some earn substantially more than others. The highly regarded profession requires long hours and extreme dedication with typically more than 11 years of undergraduate, medical school and residency studies. Family doctors (or general practitioners) and pediatricians are among the lowest-paid, with average yearly salaries of $114,567 to $156,705 and $100,469 to $146,012, respectively, reports PayScale in October 2010, while surgeons, oncologists and other specialists are at the other end of the pay scale.
Surgeons are among the highest-paid because of the intense amount of stress, medical knowledge and concentration that the job demands. In October 2010, PayScale reveals that general surgeons — who perform various basic surgical procedures — earn annual pay ranging from $154,643 to $294,312. Specialized surgeons, such as heart or brain surgeons, earn even more.
Anesthesiologists administer pain medication, put patients to sleep before surgery and maintain safe vital signs for patients during surgery. Annual salaries range anywhere from $198,570 to $301,099, reports PayScale in October 2010.
Dermatologists diagnose and treat disorders and other health issues involving the skin, such as psoriasis, eczema, rashes, blemishes and skin cancer. In 2010, Health Care Jobs 411 states yearly salary ranges of $225,000 to more than $420,000.
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As cancer rates increase across the U.S., the demand for oncologists to analyze and treat the aggressive disease rises. Many oncologists specialize in working with specific types of cancer patients. Health Care Jobs 411 states in 2010 that average annual salaries can be from $200,000 to $400,000.
Neurologists deal with various medical conditions of the brain and central nervous system. Yearly earnings are said to be $190,000 to more than $250,000, although neurosurgeons earn upwards of $220,000 to $470,000, explains Health Care Jobs 411 in 2010.
Urologists are internal medicine specialists who focus upon health concerns of the urinary tract, male reproductive system, kidneys and bladder. Wages range from averages of $175,000 to $364,000 per year for those with a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree, maintains PayScale.
These doctors monitor women's health during and after pregnancy and deliver babies. They also perform gynecological exams and diagnose and treat female reproductive health issues, such as breast, cervical and vaginal cancers, ovarian cysts and other abnormalities. Health Care Jobs 411 claims in 2010 that average salaries range between $200,000 and $300,000 per year.
Plastic surgeons enhance the aesthetic quality of individuals wanting breast implants, liposuction, face lifts or desperately needed reconstructive surgery following a horrific accident or burning. Earnings range from $185,000 to $450,000, while those who have Hollywood and other high-paying clients make even more, according to Health Care Jobs 411 in 2010.
Doctors who examine and initially treat patients in the highly stressful and fast-paced environment of the emergency room see all kinds of injuries and illnesses and must have a broad knowledge of medicine. Annual salaries typically range from $139,420 to $233,306, says PayScale in October 2010.
Unlike psychologists, psychiatrists are mental health physicians authorized to prescribe medications for their patients struggling with mental and emotional issues. In Oct. 2010, average annual salaries are reported as $126,649 to $184,254, states PayScale (Ref. 2).