Which specialty produces the happiest doctors?

While orthopedic physicians recieve perhaps the biggest paychecks in the field, that doesn't necessarily mean that they are the most satisfied MDs, according to Medscape's latest Physician Compensation Survey.

In fact, only 50 percent of the orthopedic specialists questioned in 2014 for the report said they would want to continue with medicine if they had a do-over, and just 44 percent felt like their salaries were fair.

Meanwhile, dermatologists take the prize as the most contented specialists — even though they make $82,000 less than their orthopedic counterparts, Medscape found. What's more, a whopping 73 percent of the dermatologists who responded to Medscape's survey said they would continue with the same specialty if they could re-do their careers. 

Orthopedic doctors, while marginally unenthused, were by no means the most disillusioned of specialists, however — internal medicine practitioners were even less satisfied, with an overall rating of 47 percent. 

Curious about how your specialty faired in regard to satisfaction and average compensation? Take a look at the 26 specialties featured in the Medscape report (in order from highest compensation to lowest) in the table below.

Specialty Salary  Non-patient care earnings*  Overall Satisfaction If you could do it all over, you would...

Orthopedics

$421,000 $29,000 53% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
50% 67%

Cardiology

$376,000 $19,000 55% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
61% 59%

Gastroenterology

$370,000 $14,000 52% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
55% 55%

Anesthesiology

$358,000 $8,000 53% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
57% 49%

Plastic Surgery

$354,000 $26,000 50% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
51% 56%

Radiology

$351,000 $6,000 51% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
49% 52%

Urology

$344,000 $26,000 53% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
61% 54%

Dermatology

$339,000 $26,000 63% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
55% 73%

General Surgery

$317,000 $14,000 49% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
55% 50%

Emergency Medicine

$306,000 $13,000 56% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
68% 42%

Oncology

$302,000 $15,000 54% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
67% 51%

Pulmonary Medicine

$296,000 $19,000 52% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
69% 41%

Ophthalmology

$292,000 $14,000 52% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
60% 56%

Critical Care

$283,000 $13,000 53% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
70% 44%

Pathology

$267,000 $10,000 57% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
59% 52%

OB/GYN & Women's Health

$249,000 $10,000 51% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
67% 40%

Allergy & Immunology

$247,000 $15,000 50% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
57% 53%

Nephrology

$243,000 $21,000 48% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
66% 37%

Neurology

$229,000 $24,000 51% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
60% 47%

Psychiatry & Mental Health

$216,000 $10,000 57% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
65% 50%

HIV / ID

$213,000 $13,000 54% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
65% 50%

Rheumatology

$205,000 $14,000 54% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
72% 44%

Internal Medicine

$196,000 $11,000 47% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
71% 25%

Diabetes & Endocrinology

$196,000 $20,000 50% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
63% 45%

Family Medicine

$195,000 $10,000 51% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
73% 32%

Pediatrics

$189,000 $7,000 56% of doctors in this field felt satisfied with their jobs overall.
Stick with medicine Stick with this specialty 
67% 51%

*Non-patient care earnings include compensation for expert witness duties, product sales, speaking engagements and other activities.

All data courtesy of Medscape's 2015 Physician Compensation Survey. Presentation by Madelyn Kearns, HIMSS Media.

 

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