‍Highest-Paid Doctors in the US (2023)

March 27, 2023


Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Chief Resident in Anesthesiology, Weill Cornell Medicine, & Admissions Officer, Columbia University

Reviewed: 03/27/23

Before choosing a medical specialty, it’s important to cover all your bases – including what sort of pay you can expect. Here are the highest-paid doctors in the US in 2023.


In 2023, it’s safe to say that becoming a doctor will secure you a healthy annual salary. However, some doctors are making wages that far exceed the national median of $208,000 per year. But what exactly is tipping the scales in their favor?

The highest-paid doctors make more money on average due to a number of factors, including medical specialty, location, and more. Here is our complete breakdown of the highest-paid doctors in the US.

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Highest-Paid Doctors in the US in 2023

When it comes to determining which doctors are the highest-paid, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, the largest gap in pay is between medical specialties. According to an Indeed report, the top-paying positions in medicine are typically in urology, surgery, oncology, and anesthesiology.

However, the increase in pay doesn’t stop at medical specialty. The location of a job can also have a large impact on how much a doctor takes home in a year, as well as seniority. Furthermore, the individual benefits of the employer can also take a doctor’s salary up a notch.

It is important to note that calculating the highest-paid US doctors (due to the amount of factors involved and the restricted access we have to all US salaries) is challenging. To form our list, we’ve combined several recent studies and sources, including Medscape

Taking the above factors into consideration, here is our list of the highest-paid doctors in the USA. 

1. Plastic Surgery 

Plastic surgeons perform cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries on almost every body part. Plastic surgery residencies are one of the longest to complete, taking six years. The average annual compensation for a plastic surgeon is $576,000, putting the specialty at number one on our list. 

2. Orthopedics (Surgery)

Orthopedic surgeons (otherwise known as orthopaedists) treat a variety of conditions related to the skeletal system, muscles, tendons, and joints. Orthopedics has risen to the top of the heap in terms of physician pay in recent years. 

According to our sources, the average pay for an orthopedic surgeon in 2023 is around $557,000, placing orthopedics at number two on our list.

3. Cardiology

Cardiology focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases in the cardiovascular system. Cardiology is generally a high-earning specialty, which can increase depending on your area of expertise within the field. Most cardiologists have reported above-average salaries in 2023, with the overall average being $490,000. This makes Cardiology the third-highest specialty on our list.

4. Otolaryngology 

Otolaryngologists specialize in the head and neck disorders (commonly those affecting the ears, nose, and throat). This specialty saw the largest pay increase, at 13% compared to the previous year. Otolaryngologists make an average annual salary of $469,000

5. Urology

The field of Urology focuses on the study, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases in both the urinary system and the male reproductive system. As of 2023, the average salary for a urologist falls just below otolaryngologists at $461,000 annually. 

Other Top-Earning Specialties

Across most studies, each of our top five holds high rankings. The following specialties also reported high earnings in many studies, although they may have shown up less consistently, making it more challenging to calculate the overall average. Here are some other top-earning medical specialties in the US:

  • Oncology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Dermatology 
  • Anesthesiology
  • General surgery

Each of the above specialties has consistently reported high average salaries across the board, often falling between $300,000 to $450,000 in annual salary

Doctors’ Salary By State

When it comes to the best paying states and cities for doctors in the US, you may be surprised to find out that Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama are at the top of the list. Of course, a physician’s specialty can also have a major impact on which state may be the highest paying for their specific role. 

Highest Paying Cities for Physicians

Here are the highest paying cities and states for physicians, according to Doximity:

City Average Physician Salary
Charlotte, NC $462,760
St. Louis, MO $452,219
Buffalo, NY $426,440
Jacksonville, FL $425,706
Orlando, FL $425,634
Minneapolis, MN $424,059
Milwaukee, WI $422,735
Phoenix, AZ $419,359
Dallas, TX $415,487
Los Angeles, CA $414,925

Source: Doximity

Highest Paying States for Physicians:

Below is a table of the highest paying states for physicians in the US.

State Average Physician Salary
Kentucky $364,000
Tennessee $364,000
Alabama $358,000
Missouri $357,000
Oregon $352,000
Indiana $350,000
North Carolina $348,000
Connecticut $346,000
Texas $346,000
Florida $346,000

Source: Advisory Board

FAQs: Highest-Paid Doctors

Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the highest-paid doctors in the USA. 

Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the highest-paid doctors in the USA. 

1. How Much Do the Highest-Paid Doctors Make?

The highest-paid doctors in the US are in surgical specialties such as plastic surgery, orthopedic surgery, or cardiology and report earning over $500,000 per year on average. 

2. What Are the Highest-Paid Doctors in the US?

The highest-paid doctors in the plastic surgery specialists who report earning above $550,000 per year on average.

Final Thoughts

By this point, we’ve learned that the highest-paid doctors in the US are in plastic surgery, orthopedics, cardiology, otolaryngology, and urology. However, it’s important when you’re choosing a medical specialty to not only consider the highest pay cheque.

You should consider primarily your comfort, passion, areas of interest, and the location you want to live in. Job satisfaction should always take priority over salary, especially in the medical field. Good luck with your search!

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