Working in health care means a fulfilling, vital career, full of diverse positions. To work in the field, you’ll need a certain level of education. To make the highest wages, this will mean a graduate or doctoral education.
People begin their health care careers very differently, but most roads lead to education beyond a Bachelor’s degree. In this list, we’ve looked at twenty of the highest paying roles in medicine and health care.
We’ve ordered them by average salary, but as you’ll see, there’s no slouching here. Let’s see which roles made the cut:
1. Invasive Cardiologists
Cardiologists are specialists in blood vessels and heart disease. Invasive Cardiology refers to open or minimally invasive surgery that locates and intervenes on structural or electrical heart problems. After completing their doctorates in medical school, aspiring Cardiologists complete six to eight more years of internal medicine and specialized cardiology training through residency. They’ll spend at least a decade in college, medical school, and residency training. They’ll become board certified in internal medicine, and cardiology through examination before being fully licensed.
Average Salary: The average salary for Cardiologists (Invasive) is $648,000.
2. Orthopedic Surgeon
Orthopedic Surgeons prevent, diagnose, and treat disorders and issues in bones, ligaments, tendons, joints, and muscles. Some are generalists, while others might specialize in areas like hips and knees, elbows and shoulders, feet, and ankles, among others. To become one, you’ll need to complete four years of medical school, earn a doctorate, and four to five years of an orthopedic surgery residency. They must pass an exam and earn licensure. Some are eventually board-certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.
Average Salary: The average salary for Orthopedic Surgeons is $536,000.
Gastroenterologists diagnose and treat issues in the digestive system or gastrointestinal tract. They handle conditions ranging from hepatitis C to irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterologists might specialize in areas like pancreatic disease, gastrointestinal cancer, or hepatology, among other areas. After completing a medical school doctorate, these doctors do three years of residency in internal medicine, then a two or three-year fellowship in more specialized training. They’ll then earn licenses, and many pass a certification exam and gain recognition from the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Average Salary: The average salary for Gastroenterologists is $495,000.
Urologists are doctors that specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of medical issues in male and female urinary tracts, and male reproductive organs. They treat kidneys, urethras, urinary bladders, uteri, and male productive organs. After completing a doctoral degree in medical school, Urologists will serve five years in a residency, get licensed, and often pass a board exam to become certified by the American Board of Urology.
Average Salary: The average salary for Urologists is $464,000.
5. Non-Invasive Cardiologist
Cardiologists diagnose and treat heart and blood abnormalities. Non-invasive cardiologists diagnose heart problems without fluids, needles, or any instruments that are inserted into bodies. They use imaging, electrical measurements, heart monitors, CT scans, and other means to examine the heart and blood circulation. After completing a doctorate in medical school, they’ll spend at least six years in residency training and pass exams in internal medicine and cardiology to become licensed and certified.
Average Salary: The average salary for Non-Invasive Cardiologists is $441,000.
Dermatologists specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating conditions that impact the skin, nails, mucus membranes, hair, and sweat and oil glands. The skin is the largest organ on the body and can display symptoms that indicate problems throughout it. After completing a medical school doctorate, Dermatologists will complete a one-year residency as an intern, then three years of clinical residency in dermatology. They may then do a one or two-year fellowship in an area of dermatology like cosmetic surgery, immunodermatology, or another area. Dermatologists get licensed, and many pass an exam from the American Board of Dermatology to become board-certified.
Average Salary: The average salary for Dermatologists is $420,000.
Anesthesiologists are doctors that specialize in perioperative care before, during, and after surgery. They work with anesthesia, pain medicine, intensive care medicine, critical emergency medicine, and more. After earning their M.D., Anesthesiologists spend four years training in a residency. Many go on to one to two-year fellowships in a specific concentration of anesthesiology, then earn licensure to practice as an Anesthesiologist. Anesthesiologists pass a two-part exam and fulfill other requirements set by their state.
Average Salary: The average salary for an Anesthesiologist is $404,000.
Otolaryngologists are doctors that treat peoples’ ears, nose, and throats. They also might work with some related areas of the head and neck. They might treat conditions like allergies, skin disorders, remove tumors, do reconstructive surgery, and more, depending on their specialization. Otolaryngologists earn their M.D., do five years of residency, then often specialize in a one to two-year fellowship. They may need to be board certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), although not always. They will likely be certified eventually by the American Board of Otolaryngology (ABOHNS).
Average Salary: The average salary for these positions is $402,000.
Pulmonologists are doctors focused on treating the respiratory system. They handle all organs involved and treat conditions, including tuberculosis, asthma, lung disease, and much more. After earning their M.D., Pulmonologists complete a three-year residency in internal medicine, then a two to three-year fellowship in pulmonology. They must be licensed, then pass a specialty board exam to earn certification in the field.
Average Salary: The average salary for Pulmonologists is $399,000.
Doctors in these roles diagnose, treat, and prevent cancers and blood diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, anemia, hemophilia, sickle-cell disease, and more. They are trained in the study and treatment of blood and cancer. After completing their doctorate of medicine, these doctors spend three to five years in a residency that often includes a specialization like internal medicine, pathology, or pediatrics. They then train for two to three years in a fellowship of hematology/oncology, before becoming licensed.
Average Salary: The average salary for these roles is $393,000.
Radiologists are doctors that diagnose and treat diseases and injuries with medical imaging like X-rays, MRIs, nuclear medicine, ultrasounds, CT scans, and more. They may specialize in Diagnostic Radiology, Interventional Radiology, Pediatric Radiology, or Radiation Oncology. After completing medical school, Radiologists will complete a four-year residency and often a one or two-year fellowship in an area of specialization. After earning their license, many will be certified by the American Board of Radiology.
Average Salary: The average salary for these roles is $387,000.
12. Emergency Medicine Physician
These doctors treat illnesses and injuries that could threaten lives without immediate intervention. They must make quick, impactful decisions. After finishing their doctorates in medical school, Emergency Physicians complete a three to five-year residency. They may specialize in areas like intensive care, cardiac, or pediatric care. They then gain licensure (United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or the Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA) and certification from the American Board of Emergency Medicine.
Average Salary: The average salary for these roles is $382,000.
Obstetrician-Gynecologists or OB/GYNs are doctors that specialize in female reproductive health. They work with pregnant women, deliver babies, treat many conditions in the female reproductive system, including STIs and chronic pain. After completing medical school, OB/GYNs complete four-year residencies, get licensed and certified and begin their careers.
Average Salary: The average salary for these roles is $318,000.
Neurologists are doctors that treat issues in the spinal cord, nerves, and brain. They handle issues like strokes, multiple sclerosis, and much more. After completing medical school, Neurologists will complete a residency lasting six to eight years. They’ll also tailor their training towards neurology, neurosurgery, among other focus areas. After completing this, they’ll seek licensure and certification from applicable boards.
Average Salary: The average salary for these roles is $317,000.
Psychiatrists diagnose mental and physical issues to treat mental disorders. They deal with issues related to behavior, cognition, mood, and perception. Unlike psychologists, they can prescribe medications, and often work with patients on medication maintenance and adjustments. Psychiatrists complete their doctorates of medicine, then spend three to eight years in residency under the supervision of licensed Psychiatrists. They then take an exam and get board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN).
Average Salary: The average salary for Psychiatrists is $273,000.
Hospitalists are doctors who focus on caring for hospitalized patients. They are hospital leaders, researchers, teachers, and more. Some specialize in areas like family medicine, pediatrics, or internal medicine. After completing medical school, they’ll spend three to eight years in a residency, often exploring a specialization as part of their training. Some will go on to one or two-year fellowships before becoming board-certified and licensed to practice in their state.
The average salary for Hospitalists is $268,000.
Internists are doctors trained in internal medicine. They handle any conditions that impact internal organs. After finishing a doctorate in medicine, prospective Internists complete three-year residencies in internal medicine. If they want to specialize, they spend an additional one to three years in a fellowship, before earning your licenses and potentially passing board exams in the field.
Average Salary: The average salary for Internists is $264,000.
Pediatricians are physicians that manage the health of children. They diagnose and treat children’s behavior, physical, and mental health issues. Pediatricians can work on minor problems, routine checkups, and serious diseases. To become a pediatrician, you’ll complete a doctorate in medicine, then a three-year residency. If you want to specialize in a sub-field like pediatric critical care, neonatology, or another area, you’ll complete a fellowship for two to three years. Then you’ll earn a license for your state.
Average Salary: The average salary for Pediatricians is $242,000.
19. Family Medicine Physicians
Family Medicine Physicians are also known as general practitioners. They’re primary care physicians that can be compared to pediatricians, but for adults. After earning their doctorate in medicine, these doctors will spend at least three years of training in a residency program before earning licensure in the state where they want to practice. They may then become board certified in family medicine to advance their careers.
The average salary for Family Medicine Physicians is $239,000.
20. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
CRNAs are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) that administer medications, including anesthesia, to facilitate surgeries. They also care for patients during recovery from surgery and anesthesia. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, they become Registered Nurses. After working for at least a year in critical care nursing, they can apply for and complete a 27-month Master’s degree in Nursing. They may then take the National Certification Exam from the National Board of Certification & Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists to become CRNAs.
Average Salary: The average salary for CRNAs is $197,000.