2020 Physician 
Compensation Report

Fourth Annual Study

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every facet of American life, but has especially impacted the nation’s healthcare system. Many hospitals and private medical practices have seen steep declines in billings, as the pandemic has resulted in an enormous wave of delayed or canceled elective medical procedures and treatments.

Our annual Physician Compensation Report is part of a continuing project here at Doximity and draws on a repository of data spanning six years and includes survey responses from over 135,000 licensed U.S. doctors.

Compensation by MSA

Compensation for U.S. doctors grew 1.5% on average between 2019 and 2020. Medical practices of all sizes have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. It’s been widely reported since March, 2020 that hospitals and private medical practices have seen steep declines in revenue due to delayed or canceled elective medical procedures and treatments.

Key Findings

Metro areas with the HIGHEST compensation for physicians 2020

Overall, the lowest and highest average physician salaries by metro rose slightly in 2020. Higher compensation cities tend to be mid-sized cities situated closer to rural areas.
1 Milwaukee, WI - $430,274
2 Atlanta, GA — $428,244
3 Jacksonville, FL — $427,090
4 Buffalo, NY — $407,070
5 Orlando, FL — $406,587
6 Raleigh, NC — $406,365
7 Charlotte, NC — $404,285
8 Minneapolis, MN — $401,978
9 Riverside, CA — $397,005
10 Dallas, TX — $396,184

Metro areas with the LOWEST compensation for physicians 2020

Overall, the lowest and highest average physician salaries by metro rose slightly in 2020. Higher compensation cities tend to be mid-sized cities situated closer to rural areas.
1 San Antonio, TX — $329,475
2 Virginia Beach, VA — $331,952
3 Boston, MA — $347,894
4 Baltimore, MD — $348,389
5 Washington D.C. — $351,572
6 Denver, CO — $352,073
7 Philadelphia, PA — $354,788
8 Memphis, TN — $356,875
9 Louisville, KY — $360,609
10 Providence, RI — $365,807

Highest Compensation Growth by MSAs

Providence, RI 8.9%
Portland, OR 8.6%
Richmond, VA 7.5%
Las Vegas, NV 7.2%
New Orleans, LA 7.2%
Birmingham, AL 6.9%
Atlanta, GA 6.8%
Denver, CO 6.7%
Salt Lake City, UT 6.5%
Jacksonville, FL $6.3%

Specialty Compensation

Medical specialties that require more advanced training and longer medical residencies, such as surgeons, show significantly higher annual salaries when compared to the national average compensation of $383,340 in 2020.

The specialties with the HIGHEST and LOWEST average annual compensation.

Neurosurgery $746,544
Thoracic Surgery $668,350
Orthopaedic Surgery $605,330
Plastic Surgery $539,208
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery $538,590

Endocrinology $259,748
Medicine/Pediatrics $256,118
Medical Genetics $252,930
Pediatrics $243,253
Preventive Medicine $234,587

Specialty Compensation Growth

While compensation plateaued in 2020, some medical specialties did experience gains. Doctors specializing in vascular surgery, geriatrics, and emergency medicine are seeing some of the largest increases, growing compensation by nearly 5% this year. It’s possible the pandemic has generated more demand in these areas, impacting pay for specialists who treat high-risk patients such as those with severe respiratory complications, those 65 years and older, and patients presenting at the emergency room.

The top-10 specialties with the largest increase in average annual compensation:

Specialty2019 Avg. Comp.2020 Avg. Comp.% Increase
Vascular Surgery$509,335$534,5084.9%
Physical Medicine/Rehab$338,554$354,4574.7%
Geriatrics$260,732$272,7664.6%
Genetics$242,276$252,9304.4%
Emergency Medicine$339,868$354,6154.3%
Oncology$420,174$437,2804.1%
Cardiology$507,471$527,2313.9%
Plastic Surgery$520,138$539,2083.7%
Nephrology$324,949$336,2743.5%
Pathology$329,435$340,8733.5%

The Gender Wage Gap

This year’s data found that the wage gap between male and female physicians was 28%, with male doctors earning over $116,000 more annually than their female counterparts.

Metro areas where female physicians were paid the HIGHEST average annual salary:

  1. Milwaukee, WI — $363,717
  2. Minneapolis, MN — $354,160
  3. Jacksonville, FL — $350,418
  4. Birmingham, AL — $334,327
  5. Cincinnati, OH — $334,208
  6. Phoenix, AZ — $325,834
  7. St. Louis, MO — $324,657
  8. Atlanta, GA — $323,785
  9. Dallas, TX — $321,698
  10. Nashville, TN — $318,890

Metro areas where female physicians were paid the LOWEST average annual salary:

  1. Oklahoma City, OK — $238,797
  2. Hartford, CT — $239,897
  3. Memphis, TN — $246,531
  4. Virginia Beach, VA — $256,678
  5. Providence, RI — $262,595
  6. Baltimore, MD — $263,611
  7. Washington DC — $270,209
  8. Pittsburgh, PA — $273,195
  9. Tampa, FL — $274,240
  10. Detroit, MI — $275,980

The Gender Wage Gap in Medical Specialties

When examining the gender wage gap by specialty, the data showed there are no medical specialties in which women earned the same or more than men in 2020.

Otolaryngology (ENT) $493,888 $384,983
Geriatrics $304,002 $239,032
Orthopaedic Surgery $614,447 $491,770
Research $181,633 $145,694
OBGYN $397,578 $319,513

Medical specialties with the LARGEST wage gaps between MEN and WOMEN in 2020

Nuclear Medicine $368,829 $359,574
Hematology $312,916 $277,243
Urology $480,950 $423,187
Colon/Rectal Surgery $455,494 $400,012
Emergency Medicine $360,756 $315,376

Medical specialties with the SMALLEST wage gaps between MEN and WOMEN in 2020

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