What are the Highest-Paid Physician Specialties in 2021? | Best Careers

highest paid Physician specialties
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Investopedia ranks the United States to have the highest-paid physician specialties in the world. Physicians have been respected members of society throughout civilization.

A career as a physician comes with respect and high salary benefits. Physician specialties are among the top 10 highest-paying careers in the world.

However, it is a demanding career that many find themselves unhappy.

Physician specialties are among the top 10 highest-paying careers in the world. Neurosurgery remains the highest-paid physician specialty worldwide in 2021.

This article will rank the 10 highest-paying careers in medicine.

Which Physician specialty earns the highest salary?

A 2020 report by Fierce Health Care ranked Neurosurgery as the highest paying specialty with a top salary of $746 000 per year. In the United States. However, there are six highest-paid physician specialties ranging from plastic surgery to cardiology as a result fall within $500 000 annual compensation.

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What is the highest paying physician specialty?

Plastic surgeon salaries in the United States increased by 10 percent in 2020. After researching different platforms, Neurosurgery is the highest paying physician specialty in the world.

After collecting information about the average salaries of top-paid physician specialties in all countries, neurosurgery remains at the highest with an average top salary of $591 000 worldwide.

Which physician specialties are the happiest?

Family medicine is the most fulfilling physician specialty. Health blogger and medical doctor Bill says family medicine is about looking after communities that bring happiness. As a result, family doctors are more fulfilled by their careers.

Family medicine has normal working hours which gives way to a balanced social life.

According to a survey report in 2020, 57 percent of family doctors were reported happy with their career choice in family medicine.

Though family medicine is not on this list of 10 highest-paid physician specialties In 2021, family doctors earn $236 000 per year. Even with an average salary three times less of a plastic surgeon, family doctors are some of the happiest in medicine.

Diagnostic radiology is also the least stressful career path in medicine since it involves imaging techniques to diagnose diseases. Secondly, diagnostic radiologists also act as consultants to other physicians.

Since the work is routine, diagnostic radiologists are among the happiest physician specialties.

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The Highest Paid Physician Specialties in the World.

  1. Neurosurgery – $746,043
  2. Thoracic Surgery -$688,350
  3. Orthopedic Surgery –  $605,151
  4. Anesthesiology – $567,751
  5. Plastic Surgery – $526,741
  6. Cardiology – $459,000
  7. Urology – $427,000
  8. Gastroenterology – $406,000
  9. Oncology – $401,563
  10. Dermatology – $394,000

1. Neurosurgery

Neurosurgery remains the highest-paid Medical Specialty in the world. In the United States, a Neurosurgeon earns between $430,000 and $746,000 as of June 2021.

Firstly, the salary range depends on the professional experience of the neurosurgeon. Indeed rates neurosurgeons with 8 years experience to earn between $571,000 and $746 000 per year.

Secondly, additional skills and other certifications also contribute to the highest salaries of neurosurgeons. The United States is among the best countries to practice neurosurgery. There is an opportunity to earn a top salary of $430 000 (double a family doctor) at entry level without much experience.

As a result, less experienced neurosurgeons in the United States get their median salary as follows: Cranial ($541,000), vascular ($529,000) spine ($531,000).

These salaries are an exciting way to start off a career in a country with the highest paid salaries.

Birmingham is the best city to practice neurosurgery because It is the largest city in Alabama with 217,735 people.

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1. Thoracic Surgery

Thoracic surgery also referred to as cardiothoracic surgery is part of cardiac specialties.

Cardiothoracic surgery comes second as the highest-paid physician specialties earning $ 668 350 a year in Switzerland. In the United States, a cardiothoracic surgeon earns between $311,000 – $561,000 per year. As a result, Switzerland is the best country to practice cardiothoracic surgery because of the high salary.

WebMD reports that heart disease is the major cause of death in the United States. There is a high demand for cardiothoracic surgeons worldwide.

Moreover, in the United States, one person dies every 37 seconds with heart disease. Technically, this means there is a heavier workload in the United States compared to Switzerland.

However, The United States is the best country to practice cardiothoracic surgery due to the high pay and stable working hours. A cardiothoracic surgeon can start their career in Zurich with a population of 380 000. In comparison, New York City has a population of more than 8 million resulting in a busy work life.

A cardiothoracic surgeon is much happier in Zurich because of the pay benefits and working conditions.

2. Orthopedics Surgery

There is an increasing demand for Orthopedics surgeons worldwide and they earn a top salary of $605,000 in the United States.

As they are mainly involved in the prevention and treatment of bones and muscles disorders. Orthopedics are in demand. More so, countries with longer life expectancy such as Japan and the UK are good prospects for Orthopedic surgery.

The United States has the best Orthopedics surgeons in the world. Dr Richard Berger from Chicago was the first Orthopedic surgeon to perform over 10,000 joint replacements.

Orthopedics surgeons in the United States earn more money than anywhere else in the world. A career in Kentucky would be a good start for a qualified Orthopedics surgeon earning between $393,570 and $643,370. Louisville has a population of 617,751 which is a good start whilst earning a top salary in the world.

However, Canada offers more opportunities with a greater demand for Orthopedics surgeons. There is also a big salary involved for Orthopedics surgeons practicing in Ontario–$586,000 per annum.

3. Anesthesiologist

An anesthesiologist earns a top salary of $576,751 in Switzerland per year. This is almost double the average $297,000 salary for the highest-paid anesthesiologist in the United States.

Switzerland is the best location to earn a top salary as an anesthesiologist because of the general high earnings for physician specialties in the country.

Starting a career in Zurich is the best option for a qualified anesthesiologist to earn the highest salary in the world.

4. Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery is also huge in the United States.

Since the patients are more driven by lifestyle choices – there is a high demand for plastic surgery worldwide. A plastic Surgeon in the United States earns a top salary of $526,000 per year. Importantly, the beauty and entertainment industries are the largest consumers of plastic surgery.

A report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons says Americans spent $16.1 billion on plastic surgery in 2018. California is the best state to practice plastic surgery alongside Beverly Hills as the best location with top physicians. Beverly Hills is the main hub for popular culture and home to celebrities. Plastic surgeons are top of the happiest physician specialties.

A 2020 survey revealed that 68 percent of plastic surgeons are happy. Most importantly the high salary and focused group of patients result in the satisfaction for plastic surgeons practicing in California.

5. Cardiology

A cardiologist in Canada earns a top salary of $459,000 per year meanwhile in the United States they earn $437,000. There is a worldwide demand for cardiology. Heart surgeons are the busiest physicians in 2021.

As a result, In the United States, the major causes of heart disease are lifestyle-related. Obesity is a worldwide cause of heart disease.

Canada is the best country to practice cardiology. Ottawa in Ontario has 971,000 people and the most cardiologists in the country earning $450 000 a year.

6. Urology

In the United States, a urology surgeon earns a top salary of $427,000 per year. Urology is also among the highest-paid physician specialties in the world with an average pay ranging $275,000 and $427,000 a year.

There is a high demand for physicians specialized in urology to diagnose and treat urinary tract diseases in the United States. Urologists in Alabama state earn an average of $425,000 annually. As a result, small-town Huntsville with a population of 119,617 is a good location for entry-level urologists.

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7. Gastroenterology

A Gastroenterologist in the United earns a top salary of $406,431 per year whilst in Germany pays $397,000 a year coming in second.

Medical blog, Mayo clinic reports that 11 percent of the United States population have chronic digestive diseases. As a result, there is a high demand and career opportunities for gastroenterologists across all States.

There are high chances for gastroenterologists in the United States to earn top salaries ranging between $197,000 and $406,000. Zippa reports North Dakota is offering $226,796 entry-level salary. This is the highest salary in the United States at entry-level.

8. Oncology

An Oncologist in Atlanta Georgia earns a top salary of $401,563 per year. Cancer.gov reports that prostate and lung cancers makes 43 percent of cancer diagnosed in men in 2020. As a result, there is a demand for oncologists across all states.

Also, Alabama offers an average salary of $391, 000 a year. Indeed, ranks the United States with the highest salary of $263,430 for entry-level oncologists. Atlanta Georgia is a great location to start a career in oncology because of the high salary and job opportunities.

9. Dermatology

A Dermatologist in the United States earns a top salary $394,000 per year. Importantly, Dermatologists are reported among the happiest in medicine. There is high demand for Dermatology specialists worldwide to diagnose skin disorders and cancer.

More so, ZipRecruiter reports Dermatologists in Alabama to earn between $270,000 and $394,000.

Alabama pays the highest average salary in most physician specialties in the United States. Montgomery is a large city with a population of 197 777 whilst it is the best location to start a medical career in the United States.


Physician specialties are among the top-paying careers in 2021. Meanwhile, United States is the best location to earn the highest salary as a physician specialist in the world.

Alabama offers the highest average salaries across all States which makes it a preferable location for young professionals.

However, some of the highest paying physician specialties such as cardiology are among the unhappiest because of the workload. Whichever career path you choose, neurology remains the highest paying physician specialty in the world.

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