31 Doctor Specialties and Their Salaries (With Job Duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

November 18, 2021

Many doctors decide to specialize in a particular area of medicine so they can engage in advanced job duties and qualify for higher salaries. Some common areas of specialization for doctors include pediatrics, oncology and cardiology. As there are several specialties for doctors to choose from, it can be helpful to consider how much you can earn in various specialties to ensure you choose the specialty that can support your career goals. In this article, we explore 31 doctor specialties, including 11 with salaries and typical job duties.

Related: Types of Doctors: 25 Medical Doctor Specialties in High Demand

Tips for choosing a specialty as a doctor

Here are some tips that can help you when choosing a specialty as a doctor:

  • Conduct research on the specialties you're interested in so you can learn more about their specific duties.

  • Shadow doctors in different specialties to identify areas of medicine that interest you.

  • Consider which rotations you enjoy the most during medical school and clinicals.

  • Meet with doctors in various specialties to ask about their careers and daily responsibilities.

  • Think about your personal interests outside of work and determine whether any of them relate to a particular area of medicine.

11 doctor salaries by specialty

Here are the salaries for 11 different doctor specialties. For the most up-to-date Indeed salaries, please click on the links below. Please note that some of these salaries also come from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics:

1. Pediatrics

National average salary: $184,570 per year

Primary duties: A pediatrician specializes in working with patients who are infants, children and adolescents. Pediatricians can perform many of the same job duties as a general practitioner, such as performing physical exams, diagnosing medical conditions and developing treatment plans for patients. Many pediatricians also help families track their children's growth and development and provide guidance for making sure children receive the nutrition, exercise and enrichment they need to grow.

Related: Learn About Being a Pediatrician

2. General practice

National average salary: $214,370 per year

Primary duties: A general practitioner is the broadest specialty a doctor can pursue, as they evaluate many types of medical conditions. General practitioners typically have many responsibilities, such as evaluating the overall health of patients, diagnosing illnesses and prescribing medication and other treatment plans. It can be common for general practitioners to maintain a network of other specialists that they can refer their patients to in cases where they need more advanced or specialized care.

3. Oncology

National average salary: $218,850 per year

Primary duties: An oncologist is a physician who specializes in studying and treating cancer. Oncologists typically work with patients during all stages of their condition, including diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Many oncologists develop multiple treatment plans for patients so they can choose between more than one option for treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Related: Learn About Being an Oncologist

4. Neurology

National average salary: $234,304 per year

Primary duties: A neurologist specializes in assessing medical conditions that affect the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. Neurologists can develop treatment and symptom management plans for a variety of conditions, including epilepsy, strokes and multiple sclerosis. Many neurologists also specialize further in a more specific area of neurology, such as neuro-oncology, which involves helping patients with brain cancer, or geriatric neurology, which focuses on neurology for patients of advanced ages.

Related: Learn About Being a Neurologist

5. Obstetrics and gynecology

National average salary: $239,120 per year

Primary duties: Physicians who specialize in obstetrics and gynecology typically operate under the titles of obstetrician or gynecologist. These professionals focus on providing medical care to female patients and offering advice about reproductive and cervical health. Obstetricians and gynecologists can perform many types of exams, including pap smears, mammograms and examinations of the uterus and related systems.

Related: Learn About Being an OB-GYN

6. Cardiology

National average salary: $251,521 per year

Primary duties: A cardiology physician focuses on diagnosing and treating health conditions that affect the heart and cardiovascular system. Cardiologists can help respond to medical conditions like heart attacks, arrhythmia and heart valve disease. They can also offer advice to patients about preventative measures they can take to protect their heart health.

Related: Learn About Being a Cardiologist

7. Psychiatry

National average salary: $257,421 per year

Primary duties: A psychiatrist focuses on evaluating and treating mental health conditions. Psychiatrists can meet with patients to discuss their mental health, evaluate symptoms to diagnose mental health conditions and develop treatment plans that can help patients manage symptoms. Most psychiatrists create treatment plans that involve a combination of therapy and medication, as they're licensed to prescribe medicine.

Related: Learn About Being a Psychiatrist

8. Anesthesiology

National average salary: $271,440 per year

Primary duties: Anesthesiologists focus on helping patients with pain management, often during minor surgeries and invasive procedures. These professionals can administer local anesthesia that numbs the parts of the body where they apply it as well as general anesthesia that puts patients in an unconscious state. Anesthesiologists are also usually responsible for monitoring patients' conditions during surgery to ensure they receive the correct dosage of anesthesia and remain responsive.

Related: Learn About Being an Anesthesiologist

9. Family medicine

National average salary: $288,633 per year

Primary duties: A family medicine physician offers medical care to patients in all age groups. They can have many of the same job duties as a general practitioner, such as performing physical examinations, assessing patient symptoms and prescribing treatment plans and medications. Many family medicine physicians see the same patients over several years and treat multiple members of the same family.

10. Internal medicine

National average salary: $292,096 per year

Primary duties: An internal medicine physician focuses on treating medical conditions that can affect patients' internal organs, such as heart disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease. These physicians also sometimes operate under the title "internist" and can work as primary care doctors, treating patients with general medical conditions. Some internal medicine physicians also specialize further in areas of medicine like cardiology or infectious diseases so they can take part in more advanced assessments and treatments.

11. Surgery

National average salary: $299,275 per year

Primary duties: A surgeon performs operations on patients to correct injuries and illnesses that affect the internal organs. Surgeons can treat many types of medical conditions, including broken bones, cancer and physical anomalies, such as organs that don't develop completely. Most surgeons work with teams of technicians and anesthesiologists that help them keep patients stable and comfortable during procedures, especially those that are highly invasive.

Related: Learn About Being a Surgeon

20 more doctor specialties

Here are 20 more doctor specialties that you can pursue:

  1. Pulmonology

  2. Neurosurgery

  3. Emergency medicine

  4. Plastic surgery

  5. Urology

  6. Diagnostic radiology

  7. Dermatology

  8. Gastroenterology

  9. Pathology

  10. Ophthalmology

  11. Orthopedic surgery

  12. Genetics

  13. Radiology

  14. Preventative medicine

  15. Immunology

  16. Nuclear medicine

  17. Allergy

  18. Cardiothoracic surgery

  19. Radiation oncology

  20. Osteopathic medicine

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