Annual compensation earned by U.S. physicians by specialty 2020

Orthopedic physicians earn an average annual compensation of around 511,000 U.S. dollars. This makes orthopedic physicians the most well-compensated physicians in the United States as of 2020. An orthopaedic physician specializes in injuries and diseases involving bones, muscles, joints, nerves and other parts of the musculoskeletal system.

Physician compensation

Although orthopedic physicians have the highest average annual compensation, from 2017 to 2018 their compensation only increased by 2 percent. In comparison, compensation for psychiatrists increased 16 percent during this time, while plastic surgeons saw a 14 percent increase. The states with the highest annual compensation for physicians include Oklahoma, Alabama, Nevada, and Arkansas. As of 2019, the annual compensation for physicians in Oklahoma was 337,000 U.S. dollars.

Characteristics of U.S. physicians

There are currently around 29.2 active physicians per 10,000 people in the U.S. Around 29 percent of physicians in the U.S. are aged between 56 and 65 years, while only 11 percent are 35 years or younger. The vast majority of physicians are employed by hospitals or groups and work an average of 51 hours per week.

Annual compensation earned by U.S. physicians as of 2020, by specialty (in 1,000 U.S. dollars)*

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Release date

May 2020


United States

Survey time period

October 4, 2019 to February 10, 2020

Number of respondents

17,461 physicians from 30+ specialties

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

* Medscape member physicians currently practicing in the U.S. who participated in the online survey. Compensation is modeled and estimated based on a range of variables, including specialty, age, gender, geographic location, survey year, across 6 years of survey data. The data is also weighted to the distribution of physicians within the AMA database.

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Statistics on "Physicians in the U.S."

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