10 Lowest-Paying Medical Specialities

10 Lowest-Paying Medical Specialities

Choosing a medical specialty is a significant decision that impacts not only your professional life but also your financial future. While passion and interest are crucial to this choice, future physicians will also want to factor in the average salary based on medical speciality. This blog post explores the ten lowest-paying medical specialties, providing insights into their roles, responsibilities, and why they might offer lower compensation compared to other fields.

Factors Influencing Medical Specialty Salaries

Several factors affect the salaries of medical specialties, including:

  • Education/Training Requirements: Specialties with longer training periods and higher educational demands often have higher salaries.
  • Market Supply/Demand: Specialties in higher demand typically have better pay.
  • Geographic Location: Compensation varies significantly by region due to cost of living and local demand.
  • Work-Life Balance: Specialties offering better work-life balance might have lower salaries due to fewer working hours than average or less intensive demands.

List of the Lowest Physician Salaries by Specialty

Here’s a detailed look at the ten lowest-paying medical specialties based on average annual salaries, with a majority of low-paying medical salaries in pediatrics.

Specialty Average Annual Salary
Pediatric Endocrinology $218,266
Pediatric Infectious Disease $221,126
Pediatric Rheumatology $226,186
Pediatric Hematology & Oncology $237,005
Pediatric Nephrology $238,208
Pediatrics (General) $242,832
Medical Genetics $244,107
Pediatric Pulmonology $263,742
Family Medicine $273,040
Child Neurology $273,167

1. Pediatric Endocrinology

  • Salary: $218,266
  • Role and Responsibilities: Manage hormonal disorders in children, such as diabetes and growth disorders
  • Challenges: Workforce shortage, limited time with patients because of high demand, emotionally draining, complex cases
  • Job Satisfaction: Highly rewarding work with plenty of intellectual stimulation

2. Pediatric Infectious Disease

  • Salary: $221,126
  • Role and Responsibilities: Diagnose and treat infectious diseases in children
  • Challenges: Rapidly emerging infections, vaccine hesitancy from the public, rise of antimicrobial resistance
  • Job Satisfaction: Second-highest salary increase year-over-year

3. Pediatric Rheumatology

  • Salary: $226,186
  • Role and Responsibilities: Treat musculoskeletal diseases in children, such as juvenile arthritis
  • Challenges: Diagnostic complexity, limited treatment options, limited research funding
  • Job Satisfaction: Offers a balanced work-life schedule thanks to primary work in outpatient settings

4. Pediatric Hematology & Oncology

  • Salary: $237,005
  • Role and Responsibilities: Manage blood disorders and cancers in children
  • Challenges: Ethical considerations about whether children can fully grasp treatment implications or participate in shared decision-making; one of the most stressful medical specialities
  • Job Satisfaction: High involvement in research, significant patient relationships

5. Pediatric Nephrology

  • Salary: $238,208
  • Role and Responsibilities: Treat kidney diseases in children, including dialysis and transplants
  • Challenges: Workforce shortage, personalized treatment plans, communication with young children
  • Job Satisfaction: Possible to have work-life balance and procedural work

6. Pediatrics (General)

  • Salary: $242,832
  • Role and Responsibilities: Provide comprehensive care from infancy to young adulthood
  • Challenges: Prone to burnout due to the high emotional demands
  • Job Satisfaction: 80% of new pediatricians are satisfied despite dealing with physician burnout

7. Medical Genetics

  • Salary: $244,107
  • Role and Responsibilities: Diagnose and manage genetic disorders in any age
  • Challenges: Limited access, interpreting complex test results, ethical dilemmas
  • Job Satisfaction: Growing field, significant impact on patient lives

8. Pediatric Pulmonology

  • Salary: $263,742
  • Role and Responsibilities: Treat respiratory disorders in children
  • Challenges: Limited treatment options, sleep-disordered breathing complexities, emerging threats and environmental concerns
  • Job Satisfaction: Diverse job settings, significant long-term patient relationships

9. Family Medicine

  • Salary: $273,040
  • Role and Responsibilities: Provide comprehensive care for all ages
  • Challenges: Causes of burnout like administrative burdens, scope of practice, long hours
  • Job Satisfaction: 55% job satisfaction due to long-term patient relationships and large demand for speciality

10. Child Neurology

  • Salary: $273,167
  • Role and Responsibilities: Diagnose and manage neurological disorders in children
  • Challenges: Rapidly developing brains, emotional impact on children and family, diagnostic complexity
  • Job Satisfaction: Long-term relationships with patients, variety in practice, rewarding work

Why Do These Specialties Pay Less?

These specialties pay less than the average physician salary for a few reasons.

  • Patient Demographics: Specialties focusing on primary care and pediatrics often have lower reimbursement rates.
  • Financial Structures: Reimbursement rates and financial constraints in healthcare systems impact the compensation of these specialties.
  • Job Settings: Many of these specialties work in outpatient settings, which typically offer lower salaries compared to surgical or hospital-based specialties.

The Bottom Line: Balancing Passion & Pay

While financial compensation is important, job satisfaction and work-life balance matter just as much. Many physicians in these lower-paying specialties have high levels of job fulfillment. When planning your medical career, consider both passion and finances to make an informed decision.

Additional Medical Career Resources

Explore these articles below to help you decide more about your future medical path.

Salary data from 2023 Doximity Physician Compensation Report

Published on Jun 20, 2024

Written by The Influent Staff

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