Survey shows best, worst paid doctors -- and many regrets

increasing numbers of u.s. doctors regret their career choices --- even while taking in salaries average americans might consider pretty sweet. those salaries remain much sweeter for some specialists than others, though, according to an annual survey of physician pay frommedscape/webmd.

among the highest-paid doctors, according the survey of 24,000 physicians:

  • radiologists: $315,000
  • captionby joe raedle, getty imagesorthopedic surgeons: $315,000
  • cardiologists: $314,000
  • anesthesiologists: $309,000
  • urologists: $309,000

among the lowest paid:

  • pediatricians: $156,000
  • family medicine doctors: $158,000
  • internal medicine doctors: $165,000
  • diabeticians/endocrinologists: $168,000
  • psychiatrists: $170,000

you'll notice that the doctors most people see most often -- the pediatricians, family doctors and internists who handle regular checkups and most illnesses -- make the least money. but pay for so-called "primary care" doctors is rising a bit, the survey shows, as pay for some big-money specialists declines. those radiologists and orthopedic surgeons at the top of the pay heap actually made 10% less in the past year; general surgeons made 12% less.

in comments accompanying the survey, many physicians said they feared changes in the health care system would mean lower incomes in years to come, medscape reports. maybe that's one reason just 54% said they would choose a career in medicine again, down from 69% percent in 2011.

for now, just 11% say they consider themselves "rich" -- and 45% agree that "my income probably qualifies me as rich, but i have so many debts and expenses that i don't feel rich."


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