The Highest Paying And Most In-Demand Doctor Jobs Of 2016


By Kathryn Dill

Healthcare practitioners are usually perceived as among the best-compensated professionals working today. But within their ranks, salaries and demand can vary greatly, particularly as the industry works to respond to rapid change.

Listed here are the best-paying jobs for doctors in the most in-demand specialties right now, according to one medical search and consulting firm.

The data here is based on more than 3,342 search assignments for permanent physician and advanced practitioners in which this consulting firm and other healthcare staffing companies engaged between April 1, 2015 and March 1, 2016. The compensation information listed here reflects base salaries, as opposed to total annual compensation figures that might include bonuses or benefits. As such, the list provides a picture of the incentives offered to medical professionals during the recruiting process.

Of the most recruited specialties this year, invasive cardiologists continue to command the heftiest average base salary. These professionals can expect offers of $545,000 while being recruited, with some of the top earners bringing in as much as $700,000 in base salary alone. Orthopedic surgeons, often at the top of lists like this one, also fared well, commanding average base salaries of $521,000, with top-tier earners garnering annual paychecks of as much as $800,000.

Those salaries aren’t just indications of the skill required of these practitioners–they’re also demonstrative of an increasingly strained healthcare system.

“What makes this year unique that we’ve seen a universal increase across the board,” said Travis Singleton, senior vice president at Merritt Hawkins. “That’s a huge shift; it shows demand at levels that arguably we’ve never seen.”

The need for psychiatrists, which Singleton characterized last year as having reached “an all-time high” continues to grow–this year the specialty is the second most in-demand overall, topped only by family physicians.

“The supply of psychiatrists, already constrained, is soon going to diminish significantly,” notes the report. “There currently are some 28,500 psychiatrists in active patient care in the U.S., 60% of whom are 55 years old or older, with many set to retire.”

And while psychiatrist’s expected base salaries have grown to an average $250,000–with those at the higher end of the spectrum earning as much as $370,000–they’re still far from the ranks of the top earners on this list.

Those doctors classified as primary care physicians–those specializing in family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics–also saw significant salary increases, which Singleton views as one of the clearest indications of heightened demand for physicians.

“The fact that primary care physician again took another double-digit increase—it’s over $200,000 for the first time, it’s $225,000—I think it’s notable,” said Singleton. “The way our system is designed, it rewards procedures and punishes diagnoses. For a primary care physician to make such huge jumps year after year in compensation really shows you where we’re at in that market–it’s a well-deserved bump for them.”


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