How Much Do Doctors Make in An Hour (Breakdown By Specialty)

How Much Do Doctors Make an Hour

Introduction

Physicians and surgeons are healthcare providers who can examine patients, diagnose diseases, and treat them. Compared to other healthcare professionals, doctors undergo the longest and most difficult training. They also have duties that extend beyond the clinic, such as administration or research. For these reasons, physicians are well-respected and revered for the value that they bring to society.

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Many people also think of doctors as being highly paid and wealthy. Physicians often top the lists of highest-paying jobs in America. But is this true? How much do doctors make per hour?

According to the Medscape 2020 Compensation Report, primary care physicians earned an average of $243,000 in 2019. Specialists reported earning an average of $341,000. Although these salaries are high, it is also important to think about hours worked when discussing compensation for physicians and surgeons.

Surgeons are known to work long, grueling hours. They are also some of the highest-paid specialists. However, are they actually getting paid more per hour, or do they just work more than everyone else?
In addition to specialty, there are other factors that play into the salary, such as practice, employer, and geographical location.

In this article, we take an in-depth look at how much doctors make per hour across different specialties. We will also look at how other factors can influence their compensation.

Table: How Much Doctors Make an Hour According to Specialty

Obtaining information on how much doctors make an hour is no simple task as the hours work vary so much according to specialty, area of practice, and practice setting. However, we believe the numbers below represent a fairly accurate picture of how much they make per hour. The numbers are derived from analyzing several factors and sources. We will go further into methodology in the sections below.

Specialty Mean Annual Wage Mean Hours Worked per Year Mean Hourly Wage Mean Hours Worked per Week
Anesthesiologists
$392,000
2,609
$150.25
55.5
Family Medicine
$231,000
2,664
$86.71
55.5
Internal Medicine
$243,000
2,760
$88.04
57.5
Obstetricians and Gynecologists
$303,000
2,712
$111.72
56.5
Pediatricians
$225,000
2,448
$91.91
51.0
General surgeons
$362,000
2,656
$136.30
56.5

From the table above, we see that anesthesiologists make the most on an hourly basis ($150.25) while family medicine doctors make the least hourly ($86.71).

Physician and Surgeon Job Growth and Comparison Data

Over the next decade, demand for physicians is expected to grow due to the increasing population, especially those aged 65 and above. Specifically, the elderly population is projected to increase 48% by 2032, compared to only 3.5% for the population under age 18. As the elderly population requires more care for chronic diseases, they will be responsible for much of the demand for healthcare providers. In addition, there is currently an unmet need for primary healthcare providers, especially in rural areas. 

For these reasons, the demand for doctors and surgeons is expected to increase in the next decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected the overall employment for physicians and surgeons to grow by 7% between 2018-2028. 

As of 2018, it was estimated that there were 756,800 employed physicians and surgeons in the United States. By 2028, this number is expected to be 812,200. Of the 55,400 new physicians, 12,400 (22.3%) are expected to become family and general practitioners. 

Despite the demand for general practitioners in family and internal medicine, they are not the highest-paid physicians. Family medicine physicians make $231,000 per year while internal medicine practitioners make $243,000 per year. 

Like family and internal medicine, pediatricians are also considered general practitioners. Pediatrics is the lowest paid specialty at $232,000 per year.

Specialists such as anesthesiologists and surgeons make a lot more money in comparison. The table below lists the annual wages

Table: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 Wages According to Specialty

Mean Annual Wage Employment 2018 Projected Growth 2018-2028
Anesthesiologists
$392,000
34,500
4%
Family Medicine
$231,000
126,600
10%
Internal Medicine
$243,000
42,800
4%
Obstetricians and Gynecologists
$303,000
20,700
2%
Pediatricians
$225,000
32,400
2%
General surgeons
$362,000
38,700
1%

To calculate the wage per hour for the different specialties, we will be using the Medscape Compensation 2019 Reports for each specialty to acquire the compensation and hours worked. We will also be using the Medscape Lifestyle Report to determine the number of weeks each specialty spends working. Using this information, we will calculate the hourly wage for each specialty.

For the regional and occupational data, we will use the statistics from the BLS website. There is a discrepancy between these numbers and the compensation numbers published by Medscape. However, the BLS data still gives an idea how compensation can change between different occupations and geographical locations.

 

How Much Anesthesiologists Make Per Hour

Anesthesiologists play a key role in surgeries and other procedures. They are responsible for administering an anesthetic that can put a patient “to sleep” during the operation. The anesthesiologist also monitors the patient’s bodily functions such as heart rate, breathing, and temperature to make sure they are stable during the procedure. After the surgery, the anesthesiologist will reverse the anesthetic. 

Anesthesiologists also provide regional anesthetics for procedures such as epidural injections. They can also specialize in pain control and provide relief for pain from a range of causes.

Anesthesiologists must train for four years after medical school. They can also pursue fellowships to further train in subspecialties such as critical care, pediatrics, and neuroanesthesia. 

According to the Medscape Anesthesiology Compensation 2019 Report, anesthesiologists spend an average of 46 hours seeing patients and 9.5 hours on paperwork and administration. This adds up to be 55.5 hours per week. More than half of anesthesiologists take five  or more weeks of vacation. 

The average annual compensation is $392,000 per year. Using the hours calculated above and assuming five weeks of vacation, anesthesiologists work 2,609 hours a year. This works out to a wage of approximately $150.25 per hour. 

Below is a table listing the wages for anesthesiologists in different occupational environments and geographical locations. Anesthesiologists who work in outpatient settings get paid the highest, while those in academic settings get paid the lowest. Three of the top-paying states are in middle America while two are coastal states. 

Table: Occupational Employment and Wages 2019. Ranked according to average wage

Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Specialty Hospitals
140
$131.97
$274,500
Outpatient Care Centers
720
$131.32
$273,140
Office of Physicians
25,500
$130.84
$272,140
Office of Dentists
50
$115.47
$240,180
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
4,020
$100.19
$208,390
Offices of Other Health Practitioners
190
$89.51
$186,190
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools
300
$60.24
$125,300

Top Paying States for Anesthesiologists (Annual Wage)

South Dakota
$293,110
Nebraska
$290,470
California
$288,420
North Carolina
$285,730
Ohio
$285,000


How Much Family Medicine Doctors Make An Hour

A family medicine doctor has been trained in both adult and pediatric medicine. They are typically trained in outpatient patient centers where they provide care for members of the community, both young and old. 

Family medicine practitioners must complete three years of residency training after medical school. They can also pursue fellowships in subspecialties such as critical care, sports medicine, and geriatric medicine. 

According to the Medscape Family Physician Compensation 2019 Report, family doctors spend an average of 37 hours seeing patients and 15.5 hours on paperwork and administration. This adds up to be 55.5 hours per week. More than half of family medicine physicians take between three and six weeks of vacation. 

The average annual compensation for family doctors is $231,000 per year. Using the hours calculated above and assuming four weeks of vacation, they work 2,664 hours a year. This works out to an hourly wage of approximately $86.71 per hour. 

Family physicians employed in outpatient centers and psychiatric hospitals receive the highest compensation. Academic family physicians receive the lowest compensation. Of the five top states for family physicians, only one (Washington) has a major metropolitan center.

Table: Occupational Employment and Wages 2019. Ranked according to average wage

Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals
470
$107.08
$222,730
Outpatient Care Centers
7,570
$107.02
$222,590
Office of Physicians
73,540
$104.13
$216,600
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
19,840
$98.22
$204,310
Specialty Hospitals
180
$96.47
$200,660
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools
2,160
$77.92
$162,080

Top Paying States for Family Medicine (Annual Wage)

New Hampshire
$262,620
Alaska
$254,270
Wisconsin
$251,710
Washington
$238,150
Rhode Island
$237,600


How Much Internal Medicine Doctors Make An Hour

The role and training of an internal medicine doctor is very similar to that of a family physician. There is one big difference. These doctors focus only on adult care. 

Internists also train for three years after residency like a family physician. However, they receive more in-depth training in each internal medicine subspecialty, such as endocrinology, infectious disease, and rheumatology. They are trained in both outpatient and inpatient settings.

Internists can go on to subspecialize in fields such as cardiology, gastroenterology, and immunology, but this requires additional years of training. 

According to the Medscape Internists Compensation Report 2019, internists spend an average of 39.5 hours seeing patients and 18 hours on paperwork and administration. This adds up to be 57.5 hours per week. More than half of internist physicians take between three and six weeks of vacation.

Their average annual compensation is $243,000 per year. Using the hours calculated above and assuming four weeks of vacation, internists work 2,760 hours a year. This means they have an approximate hourly wage of $88.04 per hour. 

Internists who work in-home health services are paid the highest, followed by outpatient care centers. These internists are often employed in private practices. Internists in academic settings are paid the lowest. Compared to other specialties, internists appear to have the largest range in compensation difference between the highest and lowest employment setting. 

The top five highest paying states for internists are all considered to be in more rural parts of the country and do not have major metropolitan centers.

Table: Occupational Employment and Wages 2019. Ranked according to average wage

Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Home Health Care Services
110
$129.91
$270,220
Outpatient Care Centers
1,690
$117.28
$243,940
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals
100
$110.67
$230,190
Office of Physicians
25,710
$107.86
$224,350
Specialty Hospitals
400
$91.14
$189,570
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
12,410
$82.30
$171,190
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools
$45.25
$45.25
$94,120

Top Paying States for Internal Medicine (Annual Wage)

South Dakota
$281,590
New Mexico
$280,620
Wyoming
$273,570
North Dakota
$266,540
Indiana
$257,270


How Much Obstetricians and Gynecologists (OB-GYN) Make An Hour

OB-GYN specialists are doctors who specialize in female reproductive health. They work with pregnant women to monitor pregnancy and perform procedures during childbirth. They can also perform other surgical procedures to remove cysts or repair injuries to the reproductive organs.  OB-GYNs additionally work with other aspects of female health such as fertility treatments, urinary issues, and STIs.

To become an OB-GYN, a doctor must undergo four years of training after medical school. They can further subspecialize in oncology, fetal medicine, endocrinology and infertility, or pelvic surgery. 

According to the Medscape OB-GYN Compensation Report 2019, OB-GYNs spend an average of 41.5 hours seeing patients and 15 hours on paperwork and administration. This adds up to be 56.5 hours per week. More than half of internists physicians take between three and six weeks of vacation. 

The average annual compensation is $303,000 per year. Using the hours calculated above and assuming four weeks of vacation, OB-GYNs work 2,712 hours a year. This means they have an approximate hourly wage of $111.72 per hour. 

OB-GYNs who work in the offices of physicians are paid the highest. This includes independent private and group practices. OB-GYNs in academia are paid the lowest annual mean wage. 

Of the top five states for OB-GYN, South Carolina is the only coastal state. This list is diverse otherwise, as it includes the Midwest, East Coast, and South states. 

Table: Occupational Employment and Wages 2019. Ranked according to average wage

Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Offices of Physicians
13,130
$116.42
$242,160
Outpatient Care Centers
1,000
$111.58
$232,090
General Medical and Surgical Hospital
3,860
$100.81
$209,690
Offices of Other Health Practitioners
40
$85.58
$178,000
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools
300
$77.52
$161,240

Top Paying States for Obstetricians and Gynecologists (Annual Wage)

New Mexico
$287,680
Colorado
$286,560
Indiana
$285,180
Alabama
$284,380
South Carolina
$283,910


How Much Pediatricians Make An Hour

Pediatricians are doctors who specialize in treating younger patients, from babies up to young adults. This group has a range of unique emotional, physical, and mental needs that are different from adults. Pediatricians are trained to address these needs, especially as they change over the course of a person’s early life.

Pediatricians must complete three years of training after medical school. They can choose to extend their training and subspecialize in pediatric subspecialties including but not limited to neurology, cardiology, and surgery.

According to the Medscape Pediatrician Compensation Report 2019, pediatricians spend an average of 37 hours seeing patients and 14 hours on paperwork and administration. This adds up to be 51 hours per week. More than half of internists physicians take between 3 and four weeks of vacation. 

The average annual compensation is $225,000 per year. Using the hours calculated above and assuming four weeks of vacation, pediatricians work 2,448 hours a year. This means they have an approximate hourly wage of $91.91 per hour. 

Pediatricians employed at outpatient clinics are paid the highest, followed by those at private physician offices. Pediatricians at academic centers are paid the lowest. 

With the exception of Nevada, the top states for pediatricians are all in more rural states without major metropolitan centers.

Table: Occupational Employment and Wages 2019. Ranked according to average wage

Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Outpatient Care Centers
1,330
$97.93
$203,680
Offices of Physicians
21,120
$91.55
$190,420
Specialty Hospitals
250
$90.13
$187,480
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
6,080
$80.74
$167,950
Other Residential Care Facilities
70
$64.37
$133,900
Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools
380
$50.91
$105,890

Top Paying States for Pediatricians (Annual Wage)

Wisconsin
$258,850
North Dakota
$258,680
Mississippi
$249,270
Nevada
$247,360
Montana
$245,090


How Much General surgeons Make An Hour

General surgeons are doctors who specialize in performing surgery on common ailments and caring for the patient before, during, and after surgery.  Surgeons perform operations on the gastrointestinal system, breast, skin, and endocrine organs. 

General surgeons must complete five years of training after medical school. They can also pursue additional surgical training in fields such as cardiothoracic surgery and transplant surgery. 

According to the Medscape General Surgeon Compensation Report 2019, general surgeons spend an average of 39 hours seeing patients and 17.5 hours on paperwork and administration. This adds up to be 56.5 hours per week. More than half of surgeons take between three and six weeks of vacation. 

The average annual compensation is $362,000 per year. Using the hours calculated above and assuming five weeks of vacation, general surgeons work 2,656 hours a year. This means they have an approximate hourly wage of $136.30 per hour. 

Surgeons in outpatient care centers and private practice receive the highest compensation, while those in academic settings receive the lowest compensation. 

Of the top five states, three are coastal states in the Eastern United States.  Two of these states (Maryland and New Jersey) have their own major metropolitan centers. They are also located close to other major cities such as Washington D.C. and New York City.

Table: Occupational Employment and Wages 2019. Ranked according to average wage

Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Outpatient Care Centers
560
$131.33
$273,170
Offices of Physicians
25,760
$127.57
$265,340
Specialty Hospitals
390
$112.07
$233,100
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
8,070
$106.33
$221,160
Offices of Other Health Practitioners
250
$87.93
$182,900
Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools
850
$76.08
$158,250

Top Paying States for Pediatricians (Annual Wage)

Nebraska
$287,890
Maine
$286,810
New Jersey
$285,850
Maryland
$284,120
Kansas
$282,940


Conclusion

As you can see, how much doctors and physicians make per hour can vary a lot depending on factors such as specialty, work environment, and location. 

Anesthesiologists get paid the most per hour and get paid almost twice as much as family doctors. Although pediatricians have the lowest annual salary, they also work slightly less than other general practitioners. They also have the highest wage per hour compared to other general practitioners. 

Another interesting trend is that physicians who work in private practice or outpatient settings tend to make the most. For all the specialties discussed, academic environments paid the least.  For internal medicine, there was almost a $180,000 difference between the highest paid work environment and the lowest.

Another trend we saw is that most of the time (although not always), the top paying states are considered rural states without major metropolitan centers.This can be attributed to basic economics as rural areas have a lower supply of doctors.

To further explore the data we have used, check the numerous primary and secondary sources below.

Sources:

  1. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm#tab-6
  2. https://www.aamc.org/system/files/2019-07/workforce_projections-15-year_outlook_-key_findings.pdf
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287857#what-does-an-anesthesiologist-do?
  4. https://www.medscape.com/slideshow/2019-compensation-anesthesiologist-6011324#4
  5. https://www.studentdoctor.net/2007/08/21/20-questions-with-dr-william-baker-anesthesiologist/
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  8. https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/anesthesiologist/salary
  9. https://www.acponline.org/about-acp/about-internal-medicine/career-paths/medical-student-career-path/internal-medicine-vs-family-medicine
  10. https://medicine.umich.edu/dept/family-medicine/education/fellowships
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  12. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291215.htm#st%5C
  13. https://www.medscape.com/slideshow/2019-compensation-family-physician-6011329#4
  14. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291216.htm#st
  15. https://www.medscape.com/slideshow/2019-compensation-ob-gyn-6011337#6
  16. http://chicago.medicine.uic.edu/departments/academic-departments/obstetrics-and-gynecology/education/medical-student-education/obgyn-student-interest-group/subspecialties-in-obgyn/
  17. https://www.abrigo.com/blog/2013/07/31/offices-of-physicians-naics-621111-industry-trends/?sw
  18. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291218.htm#st
  19. https://www.careerexplorer.com/careers/gynecologist/salary/
  20. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/what-is-a-pediatrician
  21. https://www.medscape.com/slideshow/2019-compensation-pediatrician-6011343#6
  22. https://www.medscape.com/slideshow/2019-lifestyle-pediatrician-6011147#18
  23. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291221.htm#st
  24. https://www.medscape.com/slideshow/2019-lifestyle-general-surgeon-6011144#18
  25. https://www.medscape.com/slideshow/2019-compensation-surgeon-6011331#2
  26. https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/surgeon/salary
  27. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291248.htm#st
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