Residents – What They Earn and What They Owe, Nationwide
The average salary for residents for 2016 was essentially unchanged compared to the prior year, at $56,500, according to the recently-released Medscape Residents Salary & Debt Report 2016. That represents an increase of $100 per year, which is well within the margin of error.
Naturally, some specialties out-earned others, and just about everybody out-earned emergency medicine and family/general medicine residents.
But not by much. The spread between the highest earning specialty – critical care, and the lowest-earning specialty was just $8,000 per year, broken down as follows:
- Critical care: $62,000
- Cardiology, gastroenterology and pulmonary medicine: $61,000
- Oncology, plastic surgery, rheumatology and urology: $60,000
- Neurology, radiology: $59,000
- Preventative medicine: $58,000
- Psychiatry, orthopedics, otolaryngology: $57,000
- Anesthesiology, dermatology, pathology, pediatrics, physical medicine & rehabilitation, surgery (general or specialized: $56,000
- Internal medicine, OBGYN, ophthalmology: $55,000
- Emergency medicine, family/general medicine: $54,000
Furthermore, while critical care doctors were tops for compensation as residents, they weren’t anywhere near the top of the compensation pack when it comes to the rest of their careers. According to the most recent Medscape Physician Compensation Report, critical care doctors were in the middle of the pack.
Salaries also increased modestly between the first and eighth years of residency, with 1st year residents making $53,000 on average, and those in their 6th to 8th years making $63,000.
Northeastern residents were the highest paid in the country, averaging $63,000 per year. They were followed by west coasters and mid-Atlantic region residents (North Carolina up to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including West Virginia). Considering the cost of living in much of the region, however, resident salaries in these regions seem to be at a disadvantage compared to those in the more modest cost of living areas in the heartland, where residents averaged between $53,000 per year and $56,000.
Furthermore, doctors in the northeast ranked last in the last Netscape Physician Compensation Report, earning an average of $266,000 after their residency, while doctors in the North Central region (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri) earned much more at $296,000. This is on top of the relatively low cost of living in the Midwest, compared to New England and New York.
If you are frustrated by the relatively low salaries that residents earn, despite the high cost of medical school and the years of training you have to go through just to get to be a resident, you aren’t alone. Many residents are squeezed between the low salaries (less than some nurses and most PAs make) and high student loan payments. The problem is worse in high-cost coastal cities like New York, Boston and San Francisco. Many residents are dissatisfied with the long hours required of many of them.
Roughly half of men (48 percent) and slightly less than half of women (45 percent) believe that they aren’t compensated fairly as residents.
Fewer than half of residents working in primary care plan to remain there, rather then specialize.
Only about 22 percent of residents have no medical school debt whatsoever. However, 4 out of 10 residents owe 200,000 or more. Another 20 percent owe over $100,001 but less than $200,000. 68 percent of physicians wind up owing at least $50,000 or more to their medical school lenders as residents.
Residency is a tough slog for almost all doctors. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel: Once you complete residency, the vast majority of you can expect substantial pay increase, and soon be well into the six figure range in any specialty as long as you’re working full time as a doctor.
But residents are not immune to the risk of disability. Illness or injury that threatens to derail a promising career can strike at any time. Meanwhile, most of you have an obligation to repay tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans. More than that, you have a huge asset to protect: Your future earnings power as a qualified physician working in an extremely lucrative profession (even if it doesn’t feel very lucrative as a resident!)
Most of you can expect to earn millions in salary and other compensation as doctors (and dentists!) over the course of your careers. If you don’t get sick or hurt.
But what if you do?
That’s where disability insurance comes in.
To protect your investment in your medical education, disability income insurance is critical – and very accessible and affordable, even for medical students and residents.
To find out more about taking that important step to protect yourself from the financial catastrophe of an unexpected health issue disrupting or destroying your career and all your future financial plans, call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. The number is 866-899-7318. Or visit us at www.doctordisability.com for an online quote.
We look forward to hearing from you.