How Much Do Doctors Make?

how much do doctors make

According to the BLS full-time workers earn a median income of $936 a week while doctors make a median weekly salary of $4,000!

Explore this Guide:

What Do Doctors Do?

What you do as a doctor depends on what kind of doctor you are. But many doctors diagnose and treat disease and injuries. They examine their patients, perform tests, prescribe medications, and counsel their patients.

How to Become a Doctor

1. Get a Bachelor’s Degree

+4 years

The first part of your long journey to becoming a doctor is going to be similar any professional endeavor—get a bachelor’s degree.

Prospective doctors can get their bachelor’s degree in anything they want, but the major and minors you choose will be most helpful to you if they relate to the medical field in some way.

Some degrees you could pursue would be in biology, chemistry, physics, math, or English.

2. Pass the MCAT

Senior year of college

How you spend your years in college will help prepare you for the MCAT exam and for medical school. In order to pass the MCAT and get into medical school you will often need letters of recommendation as well.

It will be most helpful to you if you spend some of your time in college job shadowing and interning for medical professionals.

3. Get into Medical School

+4 years

To get into medical school you need to pass the MCAT exam, and get your application approved.

Once you are in medical school you will start learning specifically about how to be a doctor. You can expect to take courses in anatomy, labs, biochemistry, pharmacology, psychology, and medical ethics.

You might also begin your residency while still in medical school.

4. Complete a Residency

+3-5 years

Completing a residency is a key component to becoming a doctor. A residency is like an intense internship where you work and learn under the guidance of experienced nurses, doctors, and surgeons.

It is during your residency that you might also start specializing in a particular field of interest like internal medicine or obstetrics.

5. Get Licensed and Board Certified

Now that you are ready to really become a doctor, you must become licensed and board certified.

The requirements to become a licensed practitioner might vary depending on your state, but most likely you will need to pass a standardized national licensure exam.

MDs take the US Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and DOs take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA).

Then you’ll need to pass an exam from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), and the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) to become a board certified doctor.

How long does it take to become a doctor?

How long it takes to become a doctor can depend on you. Some people take longer to pass the MCAT or to choose a major in college. But if all goes well, it can take up to 13 years to become a doctor.

Skills Doctors Need

Communication Skills Doctors have to work with other staff at the hospital and communicate directly with patients. A doctor’s communication skills can also refer to their bedside manner. They have to be able to deliver good and bad news, talk to patients about their health, what they need to do and not do, and help ordinary people without medical degrees understand their medical situation.

Compassion Doctors work with a lot of people all the time. They deal with people who are in pain, in distress, or feel afraid. Doctors also regularly deal with varying pain tolerances and need to maintain compassion for each and every unique patient. Doctors also need to maintain compassion and human connection without losing their sensitivity too much due to the sometimes sad nature of their work.

Problem Solving A lot of what doctors do will have to do with testing different theories and deciding between different diagnoses. They have to talk with patients about their symptoms, analyze test results, and make decisions about what’s wrong and what care they need.

Dexterity The work of doctors can also require some dexterity as you use different medical tools and instruments to perform tests and treat patients. They have to be able to use medical instruments with confidence and precision.

Detail Oriented Doctors can’t miss any details when diagnosing a patient. They need to learn what questions to ask so that they can get all the information they need to make the correct diagnosis.

Physical Stamina Doctors often work more than the regular 9:00 to 5:00 or 40 hour work week. They are also on their feet a lot, visiting and counseling with patients, performing tests, and administering treatments throughout their day.

Different Types of Doctors

how much do doctors make related jobs

When figuring out your future income as a doctor it’s also important to note that your salary will vary depending on what kind of doctor you decide to become. Below are a few examples of different kinds of doctors and what they make.

Anesthesiologists are the doctors that take care of patients before, during, and after surgeries. They most often deal with administering anesthesia and monitoring patients while they are under. They make around $267,020 a year.

Surgeons are the doctors who specialize in performing surgeries. They might treat broken bones, tumors, or cleft palates. Surgeons tend to make around $255,110 a year.

Obstetricians and Gynecologists are doctors who specialize in caring for the health of women. They are medical specialists of the uterus, vagina, and ovaries and take care of women during pregnancy and through childbirth. Ob-gyns make around $238,320 a year.

Psychiatrists are doctors who specialize in mental health. They diagnose both the mental and physical components of psychological ailments. They make a salary of about $220,380 a year.

Family and general practitioners are the most basic type of doctor. They treat the general population and are the ones you visit once a year for an annual physical or when you’re sick. They make around $211,780 a year.

Physicians and surgeons are doctors who examine, diagnose, treat, and order and perform tests on patients. They are the doctors you most commonly see in hospitals and other larger medical facilities. They make about $203,880 a year.

Internists are doctors who focus on treating adults rather than children and teenagers. They make around $196,490 a year.

Pediatricians are doctors who specialize in the medical care of children. They can expect to make about $183,240 a year.

How Much Do ER Doctors Make?

Emergency Room doctors deal with trauma, crisis, high pressure situations. Because of the emergency nature of their work, they make much more than general doctors do. ER doctors can expect to make an average $231,556 a year.

How Much Do Eye Doctors Make?

Eye doctors can also be referred to as optometrists. They are doctors and surgeons who focus on the treatment and care of the eyes. They make around $105,507 a year.

How Much Do Resident Doctors Make?

Medical residents are graduates who are still completing their medical residency. But they can still get paid and have experience doing the same kind of work that doctors do. A medical resident can make up to $61,200 a year.

How Much Do Sports Medicine Doctors Make?

Doctors in sports medicine primarily focus their talents on preventing and treating injuries, often due to sports. Sports doctors can make up to $218,180 a year.

How Much Do Doctors Make a Year?

how much do doctors make a year

General doctors can expect to make around $208,000 per year according to the most recent census done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

But according to PayScale surveys of real doctors around the US, the lower 10% of doctors make around $70,000 a year, the average doctor makes about $147,712 a year, and the higher 10% make up to $227,000 a year.

How Much Do Doctors Make a Month?

how much do doctors make a month

By figuring in the above mentioned yearly salaries we can easily determine how much doctors can expect to make per month. For instance, the lower 10% make $5,833 a month, the median salaries make about $12,309 a month, and the higher 10% make $18,916 a month.

How Much Do Doctors Make a Week?

how much do doctors make a week

By working a regular 40 hour week doctors can on average make about $702 per week in the lower 10%, $3,086 a week on average, and $5,976 per week for doctors in the higher 10% of earning.

But according to the BLS doctors on average make a median income of $4,000 each week. Just keep in mind that doctors often work more than 40 hours a week due to the demands of their job. In fact, 36% of doctors end up working 40 to 50 hours each week while 26% end up working 51 to 60 hours a week.

How Much Do Doctors Make an Hour?

how much do doctors make an hour

The BLS states that in general, doctors make a median wage of $100.00 per hour. Not bad at all! The surveys done at PayScale say that the lower 10% of doctors make around $17.57 an hour, the average doctor makes around $77.17 per hour, and doctors in the higher 10% range make $149.40 an hour.

Doctors Pay by Location

how much do doctors make by location

Just like any other job, a doctors potential salary will also depend on where they end up working. The following are the 5 best paying states for doctors in the U.S., New Hampshire ($275,840), North Dakota ($266,510), Maine ($257,550), Montana ($247,260), and Minnesota ($245,040).

Doctors Pay by Experience

how much do doctors make by experience

Doctors with more experience are also going to earn more than doctors with less experience. So a doctor with less than 1 year of experience makes around $138,715 a year, doctors with 1 to 4 years of experience make $135,894, doctors with 5 to 9 years of experience make $149,358, doctors with 10 to 19 years of experience make $151,975, and doctors with 20 or more years of experience make $159,279.

Related Jobs

There are other related jobs you could consider that also have fantastic salaries. You could study to become a nurse, a dentist, or a surgeon and make similarly promising yearly salaries.


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Physicians and Surgeons.”


written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter

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