The fact that doctors make a substantial amount of money isn’t much of a secret. What most people may be surprised to find is that American physician salaries are often much higher than that of international physicians. With the exception of a few specialists, international doctors are looking to the US to earn higher paying salaries. American primary care doctors make, on average, $80,000 more per year than international physicians in the same field of practice. In 2008, the average physician salaries for primary care physicians were $171,000 a year. Physician salaries vary by region, population, economy and demand, but it’s clear to see that physicians in the United States of America are earning much more than the rest. Most doctors make a lot of money because they have invested a lot of time and effort in their education and licensing. Additionally, a physician manages difficult matters that can often be stressful or time consuming and are compensated accordingly.
International physicians are often held to similar standards as their American counterparts, but due to socialized health care or economic conditions, the pay is often much less. In Canada, doctors make about $50,000 less than the physician salaries found on the other side of the southern border. This could be due to Canada’s government health care system. In Mexico, doctors make less than $50,000 a year, mostly in part to the poor economic conditions of that country. American specialists are raking in some of the top physician salaries as well.
The only international physicians who make more than American specialists are Australian and Dutch specialists. Physician salaries for specialists are usually much higher than that of a primary care doctor, usually due to the additional education and focus required. Specialists are authorities in their field of medicine, and doctors make a tremendous commitment to learning and researching aspects of their field. On average, the American specialist earns $230,000 yearly. In Australia, a specialist earns an average of $247,000 a year, while Dutch specialty doctors make an average of $253,000 a year. With the exception of these two countries, American physician salaries are still far above other international physicians. In Poland, they are currently experiencing a shortage of primary care physicians, and an over abundance of specialists. Due to the lack of demand for specialists in Poland, doctors make only $20,000 a year.
While it’s easy to see why many international physicians are relocating to the US for work, it’s important to understand why many American doctors make larger salaries. Most physicians leave medical school with an enormous amount of debt. Education in the states is very expensive, and doctors make a salary to help compensate for student loan repayment. Additionally, American physicians are often required to commit more time to their schedule and call duty availability. With impending modifications to the current American health care system, there may be changes in physician salaries in the future. Until then, American doctors will continue to enjoy some of the greatest pay in the world.