The Career Doctor™

Dear Career Doctor:

How much do doctors earn?

Your question is brief, but the answer isn't, because it depends on when you consider a physician begins to work.

As you probably know, physicians usually go to medical school after completing four years of college. They pay tuition for all four years of medical school. The first two years are coursework in labs and classrooms. The last two years are unpaid work in hospitals and clinics, seeing patients under supervision.

Then, depending on what kind of work physicians want to do, they enter residency programs that are paid on-the job training and can last up to seven years.. Residents typically earn between $35,000 -$45,000 a year.

After residency, the beginning salaries of physicians vary by specialty. The highest starting salaries ($150,000 -$250,000) are paid to neurosurgeons. The lowest ($65,000 - $90,000) are paid to nephrologists.

After all this training, and a few more years on the job, experienced doctors earn among the highest incomes of any occupation. The latest available data shows that the median income for all physicians (after expenses like malpractice insurance) is $160,000. Surgeons earn the highest average net income ($240,000) while pediatricians earn the lowest ($126,000.)



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