physician holding a stethoscope to a dollar sign
physician holding a stethoscope to a dollar sign

2023 physician compensation review

Read articles by Jackie Farley
Jackie Farley

Table of Contents

As the year comes to a close, physicians across different specialties eagerly await news on the latest trends from 2023 physician compensation. The Medscape Physician Compensation Report for 2023 provides valuable insights into what physicians earn. Here is a summary of the key findings from the report to give you an idea of the most recent earning potential in various specialties:

Primary care specialties

Often considered the backbone of the healthcare system, primary care physicians offer essential services for patients of all ages. According to the Medscape report, family medicine physicians can anticipate a median annual income of around $257,000 in 2023.

Internal medicine specialists play a pivotal role in adult patient care. Their projected median income this year is approximately $265,000. While pediatricians, specializing in children’s health can expect to earn an average income of $232,000.

Surgical specialties

Surgeons, who perform a range of complex surgical procedures, can often command higher salaries. General surgeons can expect to see an average annual income of approximately $396,000, according to the report.  Orthopedic surgeons, with their expertise in musculoskeletal conditions, are projected to earn a median income of $526,000. Meanwhile, cardiothoracic surgeons, specializing in heart and lung surgeries, should anticipate earning a median income of $603,000.

Specialized medical fields

Specialized medical fields offer unique expertise and consequently are well compensated. For example, dermatologists, who focus on skin health and diseases, have a median income of $392,000 in 2023. Radiologists can anticipate an average income of approximately $406,000, for their expertise in interpreting medical images such as X-rays and MRIs. And anesthesiologists, who are responsible for administering anesthesia during surgery, are projected to earn a median income of $396,000.


Physicians who have opted to further specialize within their chosen fields often earn higher incomes. According to the Medscape report, neurologists, specializing in nervous system disorders, could expect to bring in an average income of $304,000. Gastroenterologists, focusing on digestive system health, are projected to earn a median income of $412,000. Meanwhile oncologists, who specialize in cancer treatment, could see around $367,000 on average.

Factors influencing compensation

While discussing this information, it’s important to note there are several factors that have the potential to influence physician compensation beyond specialty choice. These factors include years of experience, practice setting (e.g., private practice, academic medical center or hospital employment), geographic location and patient volume.

For instance, physicians who practice in an urban area could command a higher salary due to the increased cost of living, while those in rural or underserved regions may receive additional incentives –, such as a flexible schedule – as part of their compensation.


While compensation is naturally going to be a significant factor in career decisions, it is crucial to consider other factors such as job satisfaction, work-life balance and the opportunity for professional growth when selecting a specialty. Ultimately, the right specialty should align with your interests, skills and long-term career goals to ensure a fulfilling and rewarding career journey.


Read articles by Jackie Farley

Jackie Farley

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