If you are considering attending medical school, you may want to have an idea of what your potential future career could pay once you have finished your education. Generally speaking, the medical profession is one of the highest paying in the United States, particularly for pharmacists and doctors.
On average, health-care workers in hospital settings earn more than those in nursing and residential care facilities or home health-care services. This is because jobs available at hospitals generally require a higher level of education. Health-care workers usually receive benefits such as health insurance, paid vacation, and sick leave, as well as pension plans. While some people have the opportunity to join a union, the industry in general is not heavily unionized.
Wages for physicians and surgeons are characteristically high, but the paycheck for someone in these fields can vary greatly depending on the type of practice in which a person is employed, the number of years one has been in practice, the number of hours worked, and the geographic region. Primary-care physicians in 2008 earned an average of $186,044, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while those practicing a medical specialty earned an average of $339,738. Incomes for self-employed physicians are generally higher than those of their salaried counterparts.
In dentistry, the average annual wage of a salaried dentist was $142,870 as of May 2008. As with physicians, the ultimate wage a person earns depends on the years a person has been in practice, location, specialty, and hours worked. Those who have private practices often earn more than those who are salaried.
The nursing field is similar to a physician’s in that a person’s wage can vary according to where he or she works. Average annual wages as of May 2008 totaled $62,450, while the middle 50 percent earned between $51,640 and $76,570. Those in physician’s offices received an average of $59,210 a year, while people working in general medical and surgical hospitals earned an average of nearly $64,000 a year.
A 2009 article by the BLS indicated that pharmacists have some of the highest wages in health care (not including doctors and dentists). As of May 2008, average annual wages totaled $104,260. The middle 50 percent of wage earners in this field received between $92,670 and $121,310 annually for their work, and the highest 10 percent made more than $131,000 annually.
If you are interested in laboratory work, medical and clinical laboratory technologists had a median annual wage of $53,500 as of May 2008. The middle 50 percent of wage earners in the field were paid between $44,560 and $63,420 annually.