Cardiology’s $454K average salary ranks 7th among specialties

Cardiology ranks seventh among all medical specialties with an average annual salary of about $454,000, according to Doximity’s 2019 compensation report.

The only specialties that outpaced cardiology were neurosurgery ($616,823), thoracic surgery ($584,287), orthopedic surgery ($526,385), radiation oncology ($486,089), vascular surgery ($484,740) and dermatology ($455,000). Pediatrics-related specialties tended to make the least money, filling out four of the bottom five spots along with family medicine. Pediatric infectious disease physicians reported the lowest average salary of $185,892.

“We certainly see the specialties that require more training end up making more and that makes sense,” lead author Christopher Whaley, PhD, adjunct assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, told Cardiovascular Business. “If you’re going to spend more of your 20s and 30s potentially in school, the compensation’s higher, so cardiology is one of the examples of that.

“We also see in geographic regions, if you can think of a higher desirability place to live or a place that’s close to a large academic center that produces lots of doctors, compensation tends to be a little bit lower.”

The report drew data from roughly 90,000 physician respondents over a six-year period to track trends. About 12,000 submitted information on their total compensation for 2018, Whaley said.

One key takeaway was the gender wage among physicians shrunk modestly from 2017 to 2018, decreasing from 27.7 percent to 25.2 percent. Women brought in $90,490 less than men, on average, in 2018—the first time the difference has been below the six-figure mark, according to the report. The chasm was about $105,000 in 2017.

“We found (compensation) stagnated for men, but where the decrease in the gender gap comes in is that it actually increased by a little over 2 percent for women,” Whaley said. “We did note that the gender wage gap for cardiologists decreased by about 5 percent, so that was one of the specialties where we’re seeing more and more progress on the gender wage gap.”

When broken down by specialty, most of the gender pay gaps didn’t approach the six-figure mark, suggesting more women enter less-lucrative fields. However, men were paid more in every specialty tracked by Doximity, ranging from 4 percent more in hematology to 23 percent more in pediatric pulmonology.

Click here to read the full report, which also breaks down compensation trends by metropolitan areas and employment type.