How Much Do Doctors Make Per Hour?

Being a doctor may be the “it” career in America. The job combines helping others, prestige, and a lucrative salary. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 18 of the country’s top 20 highest-paying occupations are for medical doctors and dentists.

And while a doctor’s salary is significantly above the national average, doctors invest significant money in their careers: medical school debt upfront, and then ongoing costs for malpractice insurance, disability insurance, and board certifications – not to mention additional costs for running a private practice.

As most doctors are not paid an hourly wage, and keep different work hours, it’s challenging to calculate their compensation at this rate. Let’s dive in, and based on government figures, job boards, and industry salary reports, look for a reasonable answer.

How Much Do Doctors Make Per Hour on Average?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates the mean average hourly wage of doctors at $114.76, significantly higher than ZipRecruiter’s salary data which reports a national average of $64 per hour.

The BLS figure correlates the $114.76 hourly wage to an average annual salary of $238,700.

A Medscape physician compensation report, however, puts the average doctor’s annual salary at $352,000 — a figure 47% higher — which could correlate to an hourly average wage of $163.85.

Per hour, it’s reasonable to assume that doctors average anywhere from $64 to $163.85.

Workload, workplace setting, and job market are just some of the myriad factors that can impact a doctor’s annual salary.

Doctors in Wisconsin, for example, are the country’s highest-paid physicians. They earn an average physician salary of $397K. That’s 30% higher than their Maryland peers, the country’s lowest-paid physicians, who average $306K per year.

Hourly Pay for Physicians by Specialty

Years of job experience and area of specialty are two of the largest factors that determine the average hourly salary.

Based on the 2023 Medscape Physician Compensation Report, here is the average hourly rate for physicians based on *specialization.

How Much Doctors Make Per Hour
How Much Doctors Make Per Hour
  • Neurosurgeons: Neurosurgeons earn an average annual salary of **$788,313, which translates to the lucrative figure of $367 per hour.
  • Thoracic Surgeons: Thoracic surgeons receive annual compensation of **$706,775, roughly double the average annual physician salary in the United States. This works out to approximately $329 per hour.
  • Plastic Surgeons: Plastic surgery is one of the best-paying medical specialties. The average plastic surgeon earns an annual salary of $619,000 per year, or roughly $288 an hour.
  • Orthopedists: Among non-surgical specialties, orthopedics is the highest-paying. Orthopedists earn an average annual income of $573,000, on par with an hourly wage of $267.
  • Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons: Oral & maxillofacial surgeons get paid an average annual salary of **$556,642, or an estimated $259 per hour.
  • Cardiologists: Doctors of cardiology earn an average annual salary of $507,000, which is roughly $236 per hour.
  • Urologists: At an average yearly salary of $506,000, urologists’ compensation is on par with cardiologists’ earnings. That figure is commensurate with an hourly wage of $236.
  • Radiologists: Radiologists earn an average annual salary of $483,000, or $225 per hour.
  • Oncology: Oncologists have an average annual salary of $463,000, which translates into hourly pay of $216.
  • Anesthesiologists: Anesthesiologists earn an average of $448,000 per year, which is on par with an average hourly wage of around $209 per hour. Anesthesiology in general is a demanding and lucrative field – even for specialists. Highly skilled nurse anesthetists earn just over $203,000 per year and anesthesiology nursing is one of the top 20 highest-paying occupations according to the BLS.
  • Dermatologists: Dermatologists average annual wages of $443,000, or an hourly wage of roughly $206.
  • General Surgeons: General surgeons earn an average annual salary of $412,000, which corresponds to $192 an hour.
  • Ophthalmologists: Ophthalmologists earn an average yearly salary of $388,000, or $181 per hour.
  • Emergency Medicine Physicians: Emergency room (ER) physicians, on average, earn $352,000 per year, or hourly compensation of roughly $164.
  • Obstetricians and Gynecologists: OB/GYN doctors earn an average annual salary of $337,000, which translates to an hourly wage of around $157.
  • Nephrologists: Nephrologists earn an average annual salary of $312,000, or approximately $145 per hour.
  • Psychiatrists: Psychiatrists earn an average salary of $309,000 per year, which translates to around $143 per hour.
  • Endocrinology: Endocrinologists make an average annual salary of $276,000, or a wage of $128 per hour.
  • Primary Care Physicians: Primary care practitioners who work in family medicine earn an average annual salary of $255,000 or $119 an hour. Internal medicine physicians, or internists, earn a comparable annual salary of $273,000, commensurate with an hourly wage of $127.
  • Pediatricians: Pediatrics doctors earn $184,570 per year on average, roughly corresponding to $117 an hour.

*The hourly figure is calculated by comparing it to Medscape’s mean salary figure of $352,000 and then using that as a multiplier against their average hourly figure of $163.85.
**These salary range figures are from the 2023 Doximity report on physician compensation. The Medscape report has no salary data for these specific specializations.

Factors Impacting a Doctor’s Earnings

When examining a doctor’s average total compensation, a number of factors can impact pay throughout your medical career.

  • Job title and job category: Fields like neurosurgery that require more post-medical school training tend to pay more.
  • Gender: There is a gender pay gap in earnings between men and women doctors by roughly 26%, or $110,000 per year. Even when controlling for age, years of work experience, specialization, and other factors, male doctors still out-earn their female peers by a significant margin.
  • Race and ethnicity: White or Caucasian doctors ($358K average) out-earn their Black or African-American peers ($311K) by an average of 15%, or $47,000 per year.
  • Working hours: Medscape reports show that doctors, across all fields, work more than 40 hours per week. In general, they average 44 to 60 hours per week.
  • Employment setting: Doctors who work in single specialty groups, solo practice, or multi-specialty groups are the highest paid, averaging over $400K a year in earnings. Those who work for the government, urgent care systems, or similar chains are the lowest-paid, earning less than $270K a year.
  • Pay structure: Increasingly, doctors are not paid a flat salary or hourly wage. They are incentivized through many different structures, including base salary plus bonuses, value-based pay for meeting target metrics, capitation, or concierge practice.
  • Market demand: Location is a major factor. Physicians in the highest-paying markets (Charlotte, NC, St. Louis, MO, and Oklahoma City, OK) average over $425K per year in earnings, while those in the lowest-paying markets (Washington D.C., Baltimore, MD, and Boston, MA) earn less than $350K per year.
  • Outside compensation: Nearly 40% of doctors have an outside side hustle whether it’s part-time medical-related work, additional hours at their primary job, or locum tenens. Physicians who are not restricted by non-compete causes have greater earning potential.

Frequently Asked Questions

What doctor makes the most per hour?

On balance, surgeons are the highest-paid doctors, with specialized surgeons earning an average hourly wage of $288 to $367.

There are some non-surgeon medical specialties that do pay more than general surgery, including orthopedics, urology, radiology, oncology, anesthesiology, and dermatology.

How much do most doctors make in a week?

Given an annual average salary of $352,000, that works out to a weekly salary of roughly $6,769.

Which type of doctors work the least hours?

Doctors who work the fewest hours, according to Stanford Medical School, are those who work in the specialties of dermatology, radiology, pathology, EMed, neurology, anesthesia, ophthalmology, or physical medicine & rehabilitation (PM&R).

These doctors tend to be able to control the number of hours they work, with the most flexibility in scaling up or down their hours.

Many medical forums, however, state that family medicine doctors work the fewest hours. This can also be said for those who work in private clinic settings versus at hospitals.

Is the average doctor a millionaire?

Yes or almost yes — according to the financial management firm Blankinship and Foster. Their findings show that the average medical doctor aged 55 or older has a net worth of over $1 million.

Early-career-stage doctors are sometimes called HENRYs (High Earners Not Rich Yet).