The Medscape Pediatrician Compensation (MPC) 2016 Report surveyed over 19,500 physicians all over the nation and the results showed orthopedists prove to be the overall highest earning physicians making an average salary of $443,000 a year. Measured against 26 specialties, pediatrics was ranked lowest in earnings per year, averaging $204,000. Though pediatricians are lowest on the pay scale and have been for the last two consecutive years, there was a 7% pay increase in 2016.
The Gender Gap
Females make up the majority of pediatricians in America, but like most fields there is a vast difference in the pay scale due to gender; pediatrics is no different. In 2016, men on average made $230,000 while women made on $182,000, which is $48,000 less a year. Medical Economics stated, “The gap between what men and women earn may be narrowing overall, but among physicians it’s actually widening.” The 2015 compensation report showed a $30,000 difference between male and female pediatricians; and in 2016 there was a clear widening of the gender gap, just as predicted.
Geography and Pay in America
The area in which medicine is being practiced plays a big part in how much pediatricians get paid, the MPC shows, those who live in the highest paying region of America, South Central (Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas) make on average $25,000 more per year than the lowest paying region Northeast (Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York). The average physician without specification of field makes the most in the North Central region, making $296,000 which is $75,000 more than the highest earning area for pediatricians. Adventures in Medicine, a website that aids in career and life planning for physicians, explains the difference of pay in areas by saying, “ Organizations in metropolitan areas pay less, while those in rural and medium-sized areas pay quite a bit more.”
In the article Private Practice and Public Practice: How Different Are They, John Worthington explains the difference between the two entities of practice for medicine. He explains a private practice as “providing professional guidance and counselling services on a fee for service basis independent from any referring professional, agency or organization.” He then moves on to say that in the private sector, “…the physicians have an ethical superiority, and show better care for the patient while the public practitioner puts rules and regulations first and their client’s needs second….”
The MPC reports that pediatricians at private practices get paid the most. While office-based, single-specialty group practice is at the highest end, making $221,000 a year, outpatient clinics are at the bottom of the group, making $164,000. A self-employed pediatrician also makes a large difference in pay, on average $38,500 more than physicians working for others.
When asked, “Do you feel fairly compensated for what you do?” Pediatricians are rated right under the median mark of all physicians. According to the MPC, around 52% of pediatricians do feel fairly compensated. Most of those who do feel fairly compensated work in the highest paying setting for a pediatrician, an office-based, single-specialty group; and men are also least likely to feel less compensated. When asked if they had to do it all over, 68% of pediatricians would choose medicine as a career again, 46% would choose the same specialty, and 29% would choose the same practice setting.