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Top 10 Highest Paying Doctor Jobs

These top 10 highest paying doctor jobs are based on national median income for each job. These highest paying doctor jobs are listed from lower paying physician jobs to the highest paying physician jobs in the United States. Income for these highest paying doctor jobs will vary greatly depending on geographical location and years of experience in their area of expertise. Typically, highest paying doctor jobs will be found in larger cities. What are the highest paying doctor jobs? Read on to find out what the highest paying physician jobs are.


Thirty-one highest paying doctor jobs were compared to find the top 10 highest paying physician jobs. This list is based on the nationwide median income for each physician specialty. National median income information for the highest paying doctor jobs was derived from

  1. Neurosurgeon
  2. Orthopedic Physician
  3. Vascular Surgeon
  4. Urologist
  5. Gastroenterologist
  6. Otolaryngologist
  7. Radiologist
  8. Anesthesiologist
  9. Pulmonologist
  10. General Surgeon

Reviewing the Top 10 Highest Paying Doctor Jobs 2021

10. General Surgeon


General Surgeons are specially trained physicians who have the education and training to perform surgery that is less specialized than other fields. According to the American College of Surgeons, general surgeons have the skills and experience to diagnose; manage patients through the preoperative, operative and postoperative stages; and manage surgical complications. Certified general surgeons have broad knowledge and experience in conditions of the Alimentary Tract, Abdomen, Breast, Skin, Soft Tissue, and the Endocrine System. With additional training, General Surgeons may expand their expertise to other areas.

9. Pulmonologist


This high paying specialty of pulmonology specializes in the respiratory system. The specialty of pulmonology is a field within internal medicine that covers the lungs and any part of the respiratory system. The American Thoracic Society (ATS) is a professional organization that serves pulmonologists. This high paying specialty treats lung issues such as COPD, chronic cough, asthma, lung cancer, Bronchitis, Cystic Fibrosis, Emphysema, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Pleural Effusion, and Tuberculosis, among other things.

8. Anesthesiologist


Anesthesiologists are physicians who evaluate, monitor and supervise patients before, during and after surgery. They deliver anesthesia care to ensure that patients are safe while under anesthesia. Anesthesiologists specialize in providing pain management. The professional organization that serves anesthesiologists is the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). This high paying specialty requires a one year internship and a three year anesthesia residency after medical school, with some anesthesiologists pursuing an additional fellowship.

7. Radiologist


According to the American College of Radiology (ACR), a radiologist is a medical doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases using radiological imaging and procedures including X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine, ultrasound and emission tomography (PET). Training to become a Radiologist results in certification by the American Board of Radiology. Continuing medical education is required throughout a radiologist’s years of practice. Radiologists complete medical school, followed by a four-year residency and typically one to two years of more specialized training.

6. Otolaryngologist


An Otolaryngologist, or more commonly referred to as an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor, treats issues in the head and neck, and ears, nose, or throat. People typically see an Otolaryngologist for conditions like hearing loss, balance problems, allergies, sinusitis, difficulty swallowing, obstructive sleep apnea and tumors and infections of the head and neck. In addition, they can treat gastrointestinal reflux (GERD), vertigo and headaches. The professional organization for Otolaryngologists is the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Otolaryngologists treat patients through the lifespan, from children to the elderly.

5. Gastroenterologist


A Gastroenterologist is a doctor who treats diseases and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and liver. Gastroenterologists are also known as GI doctors, and focus on the digestive tract and the gallbladder, liver, bile ducts, and pancreas. GI doctors diagnose and treat colon polyps and cancer, hepatitis, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), peptic ulcers, colitis, gallbladder and biliary tract disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and pancreatitis. Gastroenterologists complete Internal Medicine residency followed by a fellowship in Gastroenterology. Gastroenterologists also are trained to do endoscopies. GI doctors’ professional organization is the American College of Gastroenterology.

4. Urologist


Urologists are specially trained physicians who specialize in the genitourinary tract, which includes kidneys, urinary bladder, adrenal glands, urethra and male reproductive organs and male fertility. Urologists are skilled in the medical and surgical treatment of diseases affecting the genitourinary tract. Urologists may narrow their scope of practice in areas such as women’s urology, pediatric urology, or reconstructive urology. Urologists continue their training after medical school with five or more years of training focusing on the genitourinary tract. Following their specialized training, Urologists must pass an exam to earn board certification from the American Board of Urology.

3. Vascular Surgeon


Vascular surgeons are part of a specialty that cares for the veins and arteries in the body, except those in the heart and brain. People see a vascular surgeon when they are diagnosed with a vascular condition or exhibit symptoms of a vascular disease. Primary care doctors and podiatrists are those that most typically refer someone to a vascular specialist. The professional organization that serves vascular surgeons is the Society of Vascular Surgery (SVS). After medical school, aspiring vascular surgeons typically complete a five-year general surgery residency followed by a two-year vascular surgery fellowship, for a total of seven years of training after completing medical school.

2. Orthopedic physician


An orthopedic physician focuses on diseases and injuries affecting the musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, muscles, tendon, ligaments, joints and nerves. People typically visit an orthopedic physician when injured or when suffering a chronic condition, such as arthritis or back pain. Subspecialty areas of orthopedics include spine, hip and knee, hand, shoulder and elbow, foot and ankle, sports medicine, and trauma surgery. Orthopedic doctors treat a wide range of conditions and injuries including bone fractures, carpal tunnel syndrome, ACL tears, and limb abnormalities. The American Academy of Orthopedic Medicine (AAOM) is the professional organization serving orthopedic physicians.

1. Neurosurgeon


The highest paying physician specialty is neurosurgery. Neurosurgeons aren’t just brain surgeons, but are trained physicians who treat patients with back and neck pain to head injuries and Parkinson’s disease. A neurosurgeon diagnoses conditions and treats using both non-surgical treatments and surgical treatments. Neurosurgeons are served by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), which provides ongoing education and other services for practicing neurosurgeons.


Why become a highly paid doctor?

People enter medicine for many reasons, and being highly paid is just one of them. Besides being fascinated with medicine, people who become doctors typically enjoy helping others. Medicine is a respected, stable profession, and it’s never dull. 

These highest paying physician jobs–are they worth all that education, time and expense?

Many times people like the idea of making a lot of money, but question the amount of effort that goes into getting there. If you find yourself questioning the time and effort needed to become a highly paid specialist, it may be a good idea to check into other high paying professions that don’t take as much training.

This highest paying physician jobs list doesn’t seem to have anything that interests me. Are there other specialties that are high paying?

Yes, there are many other specialties that produce highly paid doctors. has a list of many specialties with their median income. Check out other specialties to find one that suits your interests.

Why join a professional organization?

There are many benefits of joining the professional organization for your field. Continuing education, networking, and professional development are just a few.

How long does it take to become a specialist doctor?

The typical road to becoming a highly paid doctor begins with medical school, followed by residency, followed by a fellowship. Depending on the specialty, this process can take seven to nine years.

How many hours per week does a highly paid doctor work?

Research indicates physicians work an average of 51.4 hours per week, with one in four working 61-80 hours per week.

Is medicine a male dominated field?

In 2018-2019, females represented 52% of medical students in the US and 46% of residents.

What areas of the country do doctors get paid more?

Urban areas are typically higher paying, as well as having a higher cost of living. 

What are the highest paying doctor jobs in major urban areas?

This would vary by city, but you can check out for specifics in your geographical and medical areas of interest.

What if I’m older and want to become a highly paid doctor . . . is it too late?

Starting medical school as an older student may have its positive points, including maturity and drive. If a person is willing to work hard, the window of opportunity is wider than many think. Many successful highly paid doctors have started practicing a bit later in life. Currently the average age of students entering medical school is 24, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges(AAMC). While certain programs will have a younger average age, others will feature an older entering class.

Do I have to have a pre-med or related undergrad degree to get into medical school?

While strong grades in courses such as biology, chemistry, and physics are still important for gaining acceptance into a program, more and more schools are accepting students with nontraditional pre-med majors. In 2020-2021, nearly 9% of students entering medical school graduated from college with a social sciences degree. 

By Carol Dolan BS RN BSN CDCES
February 2021

Carol graduated with her BS in Nutrition from Montclair State University and her BSN in Nursing from Rowan University. She is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) currently working with adults and children living with diabetes in both outpatient and inpatient settings.

This concludes our ranking of the top 10 highest paying doctor jobs.