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8 Surprising Facts About Pulmonologist Compensation

Average pulmonologist income was up 7% year over year.

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The latest compensation report from Medscape looked at salary and income satisfaction, as well as factors related to work/life balance. Here are the main takeaways about trends in pulmonologist compensation.

Poll
Do you feel you're fairly compensated?
Close-up of woman's hand using calculator
Yes
Older African American woman looking at paperwork in front of laptop with concern
No
Yes
%
No
%
Total votes: 812

1. Average pulmonologist compensation is up 7%.

The average compensation for a pulmonologist is $378,000, up from $353,000 in the last report. Pulmonologists rank in the middle tier of all 29 specialties included in the survey. Plastic surgery tops the list at $619,000, followed by orthopedics at $573,000.

The figures reported by Medscape are higher than the average median pulmonologist salary of $193,168 posted by job site salary.com.

2. Seven in 10 pulmonologists do not feel their income is affected by competition.

Pulmonologists were asked if their income was affected by various forms of competition. 71% of all respondents indicated this is not the case. 19% of pulmonologists indicate their income is affected by non-physician practitioners such as PAs and NPs. Nearly one in 10 (9%) feel their income is affected by other forms of competition such as retail clinics or telemedicine providers.

3. Half of pulmonologists take on extra work to supplement their income. 

Most pulmonologists who report taking on additional work to supplement their income are doing so by adding responsibilities to their medical workload. Almost one in 10 (8%) have a side gig outside of medicine.

4. Paperwork takes up a significant amount of pulmonologists’ time.

Pulmonologists aren’t necessarily getting paid to do what they love most, caring for patients. The Medscape report showed that pulmonologists spent 17.2 hours a week on administrative tasks, such as EHR documentation, paperwork and administration. This burden takes time away from patient care, which reduces income. Also, when it comes to who spends the most time on administrative tasks, pulmonologists rank in the top third of the list.

5. Most pulmonologists do not plan to change relationships with insurers. 

When asked if they could or would consider dropping lower-paying insurers, 83% of pulmonologists indicated they would not do that for business, ethical or other reasons. This is on par with physicians overall.

6. Half of pulmonologists feel fairly compensated. 

Pulmonologists ranked below the midpoint when asked about fair compensation, with 48% saying they feel fairly compensated. Psychiatrists (68%) and dermatologists (65%) top the list with compensation satisfaction.

7. Pulmonologists find their jobs rewarding. 

When asked about the most rewarding parts of their job, The majority (76%) said being good at their job, gratitude from patients, and making the world a better place were their top payoffs. Less than two in 10 (17%) of respondents chose money as their primary motivation.

8. The majority of pulmonologists would choose their career again.

At a time when many doctors are considering leaving medicine, 71% of pulmonologists said they would choose medicine as their career path again and 76% would still go into pulmonology. Emergency medicine and critical care physicians are the most likely to reconsider their choice of career.

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  1. Your Income vs Your Peers’: Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023. https://www.medscape.com/slideshow/2023-compensation-pulmonologist-6016377
  2. Pulmonologist Salary. https://www.salary.com/research/salary/recruiting/pulmonologist-salary
  3. Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2022. Medscape. https://www.medscape.com/slideshow/2022-compensation-pulmonologist-6015154
  4. Pulmonology and critical care salary report 2021: How COVID-19 impacted specialist physician income. Weatherby Healthcare. https://weatherbyhealthcare.com/blog/pulmonology-critical-care-salary
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