Top 10 Highest Paying Medical Specialties

Medicine is known to be a lucrative field, however, within the industry, earning can vary considerably from one specialty to another. Looking at the competitive and rigorous nature of the medical school, they should be a considerable financial package.

If you need to make the most out of your medical career, then you need to look at where you’ll get enough financial reward for your work. Some might argue about the earnings of medical personnel, but all doctors do not necessarily earn the same amount.

Highest Paying Medical Specialties

We’ve compiled the list of highest paying medical specialties, so read on and find out where you could earn the most while saving lives.


1. Orthopedic Surgery

Orthopaedic surgery is a specialty in medicine that deals with acute injuries, congenital and acquired disorders and chronic arthritic or overuse conditions of the bones, joints and their associated soft tissues, including ligaments, nerves and muscles.

Specialist in this field of medicine are the highest-paid medical professionals according to Forbes.

Orthopedic surgeons specialize in treating the musculoskeletal system. That is to say, they work on the spine, extremities, and related structures. Orthopedic surgeons often treat patients who suffered injuries in trauma of some kind, though they also treat congenital (from birth) conditions, infections, cancer and degenerative (progressive) diseases.

Even within the specialty of orthopedic surgery, there are numerous subspecialties. Some orthopedic surgeons work exclusively on procedures on the hand or foot and ankle. They may also focus on a particular type of condition, like cancer (oncology) or sports injuries (sports medicine). Orthopedic surgeons set broken bones, replace damaged joints, repair injured tendons and surgically remove tumours.

2. Invasive Cardiology

Second on the list of highest paying medical specialties is invasive cardiology. Invasive Cardiology is a branch of cardiology surgery performed on the heart and vascular care through open surgery or percutaneous procedures.

Cardiologists assess heart function and cardiovascular health through blood flow, blood pressure and other health indicators. They also order diagnostic tests, perform procedures and prescribe medication to improve suboptimal heart health.

These doctors may work with patients who are in the advanced stages of heart failure and even those who need transplants. Invasive cardiologists are surgeons who carry out procedures such as repairing damaged heart valves, inserting pacemakers or defibrillators and performing heart bypass operations.

3. Gastroenterology

According to Forbes, gastroenterology is the third-highest paying specialty in medicine. Gastroenterologist specilaize in the treatment of disorders that occur in every part of the digestive system.

As part of the specialty of internal medicine, gastroenterology focuses on diagnosing and treating conditions like heartburn, diarrhea, acid reflux, ulcers and pain. These specialists play a role in preventing and diagnosing cancers of the digestive organs, including esophageal and colon cancer. Gastroenterologists perform minimally invasive procedures and diagnostic tests like endoscopies, which allow doctors to see inside the gastrointestinal organs.

4. Urology

Urology also features as one of the highest-paid specialty in medicine. Urologists are specialized doctors who are trained to focus on the health of the urinary tract of both genders and the reproductive system of male patients.

A number of organs and structures fall under the domain of urologists, including the bladder, kidney, prostate and urethra as well as male genitals. Urologists diagnose and treat – surgically, when necessary – conditions like urinary tract and bladder infections, difficulty urinating, incontinence, kidney stones, enlarged prostate and male infertility.

5. Dermatology

Dermatology is a branch of medicine that deals with skin health. Dermatologists are among the highest-paid medical professionals in the world. The duty of a dermatologist is to diagnose and treat skin disorders of all kinds, from acne to cancer.

They may perform routine skin examinations to screen for signs of melanoma or other forms of skin cancer, tracking any changes in the appearance or location of moles. They may perform diagnostic tests like biopsies on unusual skin conditions and changes.

Dermatologists treat skin allergies, infections, eczema and other conditions. Many dermatologists also perform cosmetic procedures, ranging from laser surgery and excisions of unwanted skin conditions and markings to liposuction, chemical peels and injections of dermal fillers like Botox.

6. Anesthesiology

Anesthesiology is a branch of medicine that is concerned with the total perioperative care of patients before, during and after surgery. This important job also comes with high earning potential.

Though not surgeons themselves, anesthesiologists work primarily with patients undergoing surgery. They prepare the patient for diagnostic procedures and operations that would be painful or uncomfortable by administering anesthetics, pain relief medications.

During surgery, anesthesiologists observe the patient’s pulse, blood pressure, breathing, body temperature and other vital signs for any signs of pain or stress and adjust pain medications accordingly. They monitor patients after surgery and contribute to postoperative care.

Anesthesiologists also use their expertise in pain medications to help patients with chronic pain, those in the intensive care unit (ICU) and mothers going through childbirth find effective and safe pain relief.

7. Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgeons are among the highest-paid medical specialty in the world. Although dermatologists may do some cosmetic procedures, plastic surgeons are the physicians who devote their careers to medical aesthetics.

Plastic surgeons may work on virtually any visual body part, from the appearance of the skin to the shape of the torso, breasts, and limbs and even external reproductive structures.

While the goal of cosmetic surgery is often to enhance the aesthetic appearance of the body, some plastic surgery procedures are reconstructive, intended to repair the damage done by an injury or disease that affects function as well as appearance.

Plastic surgeons typically use skin grafts, implants, liposuction techniques, tissue transfers and other methods to achieve the appearance improvements desired by their patients.

8. Radiology

Radiology is a specialty in medicine where nuclear radiation is used for medical purposes, ranging from diagnostic tests to radiation treatments. Radiologists are among the top earners in medicine.

In the hospitals, diagnostic radiologists are the medical doctors who read and interpret diagnostic imaging tests like X-rays, ultrasounds, computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs).

Radiologists may also serve interventional roles, such as taking part in image-guided therapy and administering radiation to cancer patients. Radiologists often specialize in imaging different regions of the body, like chest and cardiac imaging, abdominal imaging and performing mammograms to screen for breast cancer

9. Emergency Medicine

Emergency medicine also known as accident and emergency medicine is the medical specialty that focuses on caring for and stabilizing patients during medical emergencies. Specialists in this field are among the highest earners in the medical profession.

In a medical emergency, doctors have to act fast. Making the wrong decision could endanger the patient’s life or leave them with permanent disabilities, but so could waiting too long to take action.

Specialists in emergency medicine work in both the emergency department and pre-hospital settings to recognize and treat acute diseases and severe injuries. Quick and accurate decision-making is essential to saving the lives of emergency patients. On this note, these physicians need a strong background in clinical and technical skills and a breadth of medical knowledge to draw from when evaluating patients and planning patient care.

10. General Surgery

Rounding you the top 10 highest paying medical specialties is general surgery. General surgery is a surgical specialty that focuses on abdominal contents.

A doctor who specializes in general surgery has a broad knowledge of internal medicine. This broad base knowledge allows them to treat a wide range of medical conditions with specialized tools.

Most general surgeons perform procedures that involve the skin, neck, breasts, abdomen and arteries, referring patients with orthopedic, neurologic, cardiac and similar conditions to surgeons in the appropriate specialties. General surgeons work with their patients throughout the surgical process, from diagnosing the medical condition that requires surgery and prepping them for the procedure to providing postoperative care.


The field of medicine is a very lucrative and prestigious one. In different climes, the salary of medical specialize will differ considerably. This article is meant to serve as a guide to aspiring doctors to do their own research into the medical specialty that is of interest to them.

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