Best 10 Highest Paying Medical Specialties

Get information about programs near you or online.

Highest Paying Medical Specialties

A career of a doctor is really challenging.

Also, medical education is hard to enroll in, really expensive and requires lots of time.

It means that everyone who is ready to invest their time and money in becoming M.D. or D.O., want to be sure they’ll be rewarded respectively.

It’s well known that working as a doctor you can have a good income.

Nevertheless, it may vary significantly depending on the field you choose.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an average salary of a physician is about $187,200 per year.

CBS News states that some physicians don’t earn much more than $195,000 per year.

At the same time, some specialists can have two times more than that.

Medscape says that the average salary of a medical specialist is about $284,000 per year.

We’ve learned some latest researches on the issue and prepared a list of the top 10 the most rewarding medical specialties.

Invasive Cardiology

Invasive Cardiology

Those individuals who are ready to take responsibility for other people lives and literary keep their hearts in their hands should consider becoming an invasive cardiologist.

It’s the most rewarding career in the medical field.

According to Forbes, specialists in invasive cardiology can earn about $525,000 per year.

If you don’t feel like starting such a challenging career, you should consider becoming a cardiologist in general.

According to  CBS News, it’s also one of the most rewarding careers.

It can grant you an income of about $376,000 annually.

Cardiologist – it’s a medical specialist who treats various heart diseases.

They monitor blood flow, blood pressure and other health indicators in order to assess heart function and cardiovascular health.

Also, they are responsible for ordering diagnostic tests, performing procedures and prescribing medication.

In fact, such doctors work with various patients including those who are in the advanced stages of heart failure or need transplants.

At the same time, invasive cardiologists normally perform more complex tasks such as repairing damaged heart valves, performing heart bypass operations, or inserting pacemakers or defibrillators.

Main Responsibilities: Heart health and surgery

Annual Income: $525,000

Training: 3 years of general cardiology training + 1 year of subspecialty training

Orthopedic Surgery

Orthopedic Surgery

The latest research by Forbes shows that the average salary of an orthopedic surgeon is about $497,000 per year.

In fact, different sources provide various data but still, it’s one of the most highly paid medical specialties.

Medscape and CBS News say that the average salary of an orthopedic surgeon is about $421,000.

Working as an orthopedic surgeon you should be able to treat the musculoskeletal system.

It includes treatment of the spine, extremities, and related structures.

In fact, such specialists treat traumas, congenital conditions, cancer, infections, and degenerative diseases.

Keep in mind that there is a bunch of specialties for orthopedic surgeons.

It means that they may work with some certain procedures or diseases.

Such specialists set broken bones, repair injured tendons, replace damaged joints and surgically remove tumors.

Main Responsibilities: Surgical procedures on the musculoskeletal system

Annual Salary: $497,000

Training: 5 years



According to  Forbes, gastroenterology is the third most highly paid medical specialty.

It can provide you an average income of  $455,000 per year.

At the same time, Medscape claims that gastroenterologists can earn about $370,000 annually.

Gastroenterologists deal with any diseases that are related to the digestive system including such organs as liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and others within the abdominal cavity.

Such specialists treat such disorders as heartburn, diarrhea, acid reflux, ulcers and pain.

Also, gastroenterologist takes an active part in diagnostics and treatment of digestive tract cancer.

Moreover, these specialists do various test such as endoscopies in order to see the insides of the digestive system.

Main Responsibilities: Digestive health

Annual Salary: $455,000

Training: 3 years of internal medicine training + 3 years of subspecialty training



According to the Forbes latest report, urologist earns an average salary of $412,000 annually.

Medscape claims that such specialists earn about $344,000 per year that make them one of the top 10 medical careers.

Urology – it is a medical field that deals with the issues of the health of the urinary tract of both genders as well as the reproductive system of male patients.

Urologists are responsible for the health of such organs as the bladder, kidney, prostate, urethra and male genitals.

Such specialists treat numerous diseases including urinal tract and bladder infections, incontinence, difficulty urinating, kidney stones, male infertility, and enlarged prostate.

Main Responsibilities: Urinary tract

Annual Salary: $412,000

Training: 5 years



Forbes latest research shows that dermatologists take fifth place in the list of the most highly paid medical specialties and earn $412,000  per year.

At the same time, Medscape claims that they earn about $339,000.

Dermatologist – it’s a specialist that diagnoses and treats various skin diseases, from acne to cancer.

Also, they perform some regular examinations to diagnose and screen various types of skin cancer.

Among other responsibilities, there are numerous diagnostic tests such as biopsies.

Moreover, these medical specialists treat skin infections, allergies, eczema, and other skin problems.

In some cases, dermatologists are also able to perform some cosmetic procedures such as laser surgery, excisions of unwanted skin conditions, liposuction, chemical peels, and dermal fillers injections.

Main Responsibilities: Skin health

Annual Salary: $412,000

Training: 4 years



An anesthesiologist is a specialist that need to make sure that patients are sedated, pain-free or unconscious during surgical procedures.

It’s a challenging but still rewarding career that can provide you an average annual salary of $358,000.

According to the CBS News report, an anesthesiologist takes the sixth place in the list of the most well-paid medical careers.

Anesthesiologists normally are responsible for patients that are undergoing surgery.

These specialists administrate anesthetics, pain relief medications to patients that should go through some painful or uncomfortable procedures.

If it’s about surgery, anesthesiologists are also obliged to observe the patient’s pulse, breathing, blood pressure, body temperature, and other vital signs.

It’s necessary to reveal any signs of pain and appropriate medications if required.

Moreover, they are responsible for after surgery monitoring of patients.

In addition, anesthesiologists help people who suffer from chronic pain of various types.

Main Responsibilities: Pain relief during surgery

Annual Salary: $358,000

Training: 4 years

Plastic Surgery

Plastic Surgery

The medical aesthetic is a field of expertise of a plastic surgeon.

Medscape reports that such specialists earn about $354,000 annually.

According to CBS News, an average annual salary of a plastic surgeon grew significantly during the past years.

Plastic surgeons perform surgeries to improve various body parts such as skin, torso, breasts, limbs and even external reproductive structures to make them more appealing.

Also, plastic surgeons can perform some reconstructive procedures to repair damaged body parts.

Skin grafts, implants, liposuction techniques, tissue transfers, and other methods are widely used by plastic surgeons.

This specialty involves a bunch of subspecialties such as craniofacial and head surgery, and others.

Main Responsibilities: Cosmetic procedures

Annual Salary: $354,000

Training: 2 years



Radiology uses nuclear radiation to perform various diagnostic tests.

An average salary of a radiologist is about $351,000 per year.

Radiologists are specialists that are responsible for the interpretation of X-rays, ultrasounds, computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs).

Also, they can perform image-guided therapy or administrate radiation to patients who have cancer.

Also, they make abdominal images of various body parts and mammograms to reveal numerous diseases.

Main Responsibilities: Diagnostic testing and radiation treatments

Annual Salary: $351,000

Training: 5 years

Emergency Medicine

Emergency Medicine

Emergency medicine workers are specialists who provide some first aid including stabilizing patients during medical emergencies.

According to Forbes, such medical specialists earn about $345,000 per year.

At the same time, Medscape research shows that emergency specialist’s average salary is $306,000 per year.

It’s one of the most challenging medical careers as it requires a wide range of knowledge, excellent skills, good concentration, and the ability to act fast.

It’s really important as an appropriate timely medical help can not only save a patient’s life but influence its further treatment and state of health.

Such specialists work in the emergency department and pre-hospital settings.

They are responsible for the recognition and treatment of acute diseases and severe injuries.

To learn more, check out: How to Become an EMT/Paramedic: The Definitive Guide

Main Responsibilities: Emergency care

Annual Salary: $345,000

Training: 3 years

General Surgery

General Surgery

According to Forbes, a general surgeon average salary is about $339,000 annually which makes it one of the most well-paid medical careers.

Medscape’s data differs slightly but still, it shows that general surgery is among the most fruitful careers ($317,000 per year).

There are lots of other medical specialties that involve surgery.

Nevertheless, general surgeons have a wider range of skills and knowledge that allow them to perform various types of operations.

Normally, such specialists deal with operations related to skin, neck, breasts, abdomen, and arteries.

Also, the make some tests and examinations and refer patients to other surgeons in the appropriate specialties such as orthopedic, cardiology and others.

Moreover, general surgeons work with patients throughout the whole process.

It includes not only the operation itself but also preparation for it and postoperative care.

What They Do: Operations

Annual Earnings: $339,000

Training: 5 years


As you can see, there are medical careers that can guarantee you an excellent income.

Nevertheless, all of them are really challenging and require lots of training.

If you want to enroll in one of these careers, you need to learn carefully about it before making your final decision.

Each of the career options above is absolutely responsible as it has a significant impact on peoples life.

If you are courageous and devoted enough, you are welcome to start your career and become an outstanding doctor.

Also, keep in mind, that salary info in this article is based on only some resources.

It may differ depending on numerous aspects such as location, experience, position and so on.

Moreover, just keep in mind that the info in this article is based on the Association of American Medical Colleges and it may not cover all the aspects of each career.

Nevertheless, you can use it to get some basic knowledge and do further research on the one you like.

Frequently Asked Questions

What medical profession makes the most money?

An Anesthesiologist is the highest-paid professional in the medical field, with a median income of $271,000.

It costs a lot to get the education to become licensed in this job.

It is also one of the riskiest medical procedures, so there is a lot of pressure, and you could get into a lawsuit if you make a mistake.

Surgeons are the second-highest-paid.

What is the most respected medical specialty?

Neurosurgeons are the most prestigious health professionals.

A neurosurgeon is often called a brain surgeon, but the entire nervous system is his or her specialty.

This takes four years of college, four years of medical school, and five to seven more years in residency before a person can even begin.

It is perhaps the most difficult area of medicine to get prepared for.

What is the happiest medical specialty?

Dermatologists, or skin doctors, are the happiest medical professionals.

Several studies have shown they have the highest self-esteem and highest level of career satisfaction of any medical specialty.

They do a lot of good for people, and their job is not as stressful as some are.

Dermatology is not easy to get into but it offers a lot of job satisfaction.

Which medical career is the hardest to learn?

Becoming a general practitioner, or family doctor could be the hardest to learn even though it is not the hardest to get into.

A general doctor must know something about a lot of things but may not be an expert on any one thing.

They must be able to recognize symptoms and figure out what medications will work best.

It is the hardest because of the many things the doctor must know.

What is the average salary in the medical field?

According to government statistics, the average income for people like nurses, doctors, and general healthcare practitioners was $69,000 in 2020.

That was an increase from the previous year and is significantly higher than the average wage for all occupations, which is $41,000.

Healthcare support, such as occupational therapy or home health workers, averaged $29,960 in 2020.

Leave a Comment

Get information about programs near you or online.