After graduating from residency, doctors have the option to go on for advanced specialty training, but in some specialties, they can go right to work. This group includes primary care physicians such as pediatricians, internists and family practitioners, as well as general surgeons, anesthesiologists and obstetrician-gynecologists. Starting salaries vary for these specialties.
The Practice of Primary Care
Primary care physicians provide basic health services such as annual exams, well-child care and routine chronic disease management. Pediatricians limit their practice to children and adolescents, and internists care only for adults. Of the three groups, family practitioners have the broadest scope of care, as they typically treat all age groups and manage conditions ranging from childhood asthma to pregnancy to end-stage heart disease. Profiles Database, an informational website for newly graduated physicians, reported family practitioners earned starting salaries of $138,000 in 2012. Internists earned $145,000 and pediatricians earned $162,000.
More Primary Care Data
Salary reports for primary care physicians and other specialists vary according to the source, and many sources do not track starting salaries separately from those of experienced physicians. Starting salaries for family medicine were $140,000 to $175,000 in 2012, according to Short White Coats, a physician information website. The median starting salary for family medicine was $160,000. Starting salaries for internists ranged from $150,000 to $180,000, with a median of $160,000. Pediatricians had the highest starting range of $200,000 to $275,000, with a median of $225,000.
In the Operating Room
Anesthesiologists administer anesthesia and manage pain, while surgeons treat medical conditions and injuries using surgical techniques. General surgeons might remove a diseased appendix or gallbladder. Their area of expertise does also include more specialized procedures such as spinal surgery, major blood vessel surgery or brain surgery. Profiles Database reported the starting salary for general surgeons in 2012 was $225,000. Short White Coats, on the other hand, reported a median starting salary of $282,500, with a range of $250,000 to $318,750. Anesthesiologists had a median starting salary of $265,000, according to Profiles, while Short White Coats reported a range of $200,000 to $275,000, with a median of $225,000.
Obstetrician-gynecologists provide primary and reproductive care to women and manage pregnancy and childbirth. Family practice physicians also have the option to include obstetrics in their practice without additional specialty training, which can affect starting salaries. Profiles Database reported starting salaries averaging $200,000 for obstetrician-gynecologists, while Short White Coats noted a range of $180,000 to $242,500 and a median of $207,500. Family practitioners who also provided obstetrics had starting salaries of $142,000, according to Profiles Database.
- American Association of Medical Colleges: Family Medicine
- American Association of Medical Colleges: Internal Medicine
- American Association of Medical Colleges: Pediatrics
- American Association of Medical Colleges: Surgery, General
- American Association of Medical Colleges: Anesthesiology
- American Association of Medical Colleges: Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Profiles Database: 2011 - 2012 Physician Salary Survey
- Short White Coats: The Ultimate Guide to Physician Salaries
- Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images