What do doctors earn … by the hour

Big bucks, right? That depends on how you look at it. Most Americans work 40 hours or so per week, generally on a schedule of some kind. Hourly paid worker earn extra when they work longer hours. However, for many physicians- and executives and other professionals- there is no such thing as a 40- hour week so it seems reasonable to look at their true hourly rate. Is your cardiologist worth only ten times they guy flipping your burger?😎

Plastic surgeons have an average annual salary of $526,000 and work an average of 52 hours/week, giving us an hourly wage of approximately $202 per hour.

Orthopedic surgeons have an average annual salary of $511,000 and work an average of 57 hours per week, yielding an average hourly wage of $179 per hour.

Dermatologists have an average annual salary of $394,000 per year and work an average of 45 hours per week, averaging $175 per hour.

Cardiologists have an average salary of $459,000 per year and work an average of 58 hours per week, yielding an average hourly wage of $158 per hour.

Ear nose and throat doctors, or ENTs, have an average salary of $417,000 per year and work an average of 53 hours per week, averaging $157 per hour.

Emergency medicine physicians have an average salary of $354,000 and work an average of 46 hours per week, averaging out to $154 per hour.

Source: Specialties with the Highest Hourly Rate | Med School Insiders


  1. My wife and I are retired primary care physicians and enjoy the salary comparison per hour did you add in the hours we spent studying continuing medical education and board review


    1. Maude (Bea Arthur) series, a friend defended her doctor husbands pay; “He paid over a hundred thousand dollars for his education! Do you know how long it takes to earn that back?”*

      Maude: ” About a year?”

      Friend: “Well, yeah.”

      *This was forty years ago.
      I have no objection to my doctors’ pay. Also no objection to much higher marginal tax rates for those well over “average” income.


  2. My son is a nephrologist- kidney specialist. He mostly lived on pasta and Goya beans during medical school, and during his residency lived in a series of “cheap” NYC apartments that bordered on the uninhabitable. As a nephrology fellow, he had a nicer apartment, but relied on a bike to get to not infrequent middle of the night calls. His first car was a 10 year old Ford Escort gifted by his lawyer sister. He kept it going another 10 years. He has paid all his med school debts and currently does have a high income. But his lifestyle is not lavish—and he works upwards of 60 hours a week—often having to deliver “bad news” to patients and their families. I wouldn’t do his job for any amount of money, but, if needed, I would want to be his patient.


  3. I have managed to cultivate several skin cancers in the recent past and the dermatologists who removed them did a fine stitch up job to be non surgical specialists. I do appreciate the good work and they deserve what they earn. Also, I’m having a knee replaced so I’ll see how impressed I am with the orthopedic surgeon. Hopefully he will be worth the higher pay scale.

    Not to disparage burger flippers but yeah the docs are worth more than 10 times the hourly pay.


  4. An orthopedic surgeon takes about 13-14 years before he can practice. My orthopedic surgeon is young and drives a Honda. My guess is he is still paying off student loans. He works for a large practice so I don’t know if he pays his own malpractice insurance but that must be factored into his wages too. He basically started his career in his 30’s. If he got paid the same as a general practitioner with 7 years less schooling, I doubt there would be enough doctors willing to take up that specialty without the rewards of being paid more. I know this doesn’t help with the cost of healthcare but he earned his pay. He might be earning the big bucks but he has a lot of catching up to do before he gets to live his dream lifestyle. He will probably work until he is 70.

    When I was still working, I was in one of the highest paying union job classifications. At the time I made about 7x the minimum wage. I had 5 years of training. I had to take federal exams to get licensed. Once licensed, I had to take written tests and operational exams every 10 weeks and a major week long exams every year. I did this for 15 years. Over the years with the rise of minimum wage that difference will be just under 4x difference in wages. Do I think that being only 4x over minimum wage is worth it? No. Why should someone be so close in pay to me who can be trained in 5 minutes to remove the fries from the oil when a buzzard sounds?

    When I first started, I worked sometimes 84 hrs a week. Then the government step in and limited our industry to working an average 54 hr week max. Because of all the training, I worked about 46 hr avg.


  5. And Salaried Logistics grunts in a manufacturing company work 70+ hours a week with no chance of pay raises, bonuses or any other compensation, and KNOW better than to figure out their hourly rate because it would be too depressing.


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