The average salary for pediatricians is $183,240, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2018.
Your individual salary as a pediatrician will depend on several factors, including your level of experience and education, your location, and the industry in which you work.
Medscape Average Pediatrician Salary
The average pediatrician salary varies depending on who you ask. The BLS reports an average salary of $183,240, but according to Medscape’s Pediatrician Compensation Report, pediatricians in the United States earned an average salary of $212,000 in 2018.
The Medscape figure is based on a much smaller survey pool than the BLS, which may account for this disparity. Medscape also only includes full-time employment data.
Both the BLS and Medscape list general practice pediatricians amongst the lowest-paid medical professionals, according to average salary data.
Pediatrician Salary Range
Pediatricians’ average salaries fall within a fairly wide range. In 2018, the highest-earning pediatricians earned more than $208,000 per year, while the lowest-earning pediatricians earn an average of $68,860.
The median pediatrician salary (the point at which 50% earn more and 50% earn less) was $170,560 for the same year.
- 10th percentile (lowest-earning 10% of pediatricians): $68,860
- 25th percentile (earning more than 25% of pediatricians): $126,690
- 50th percentile (median pediatrician salary): $170,560
- 75th percentile (earning more than 75% of pediatricians): $208,000+
- 90th percentile (highest-earning 10% of pediatricians: $208,000+
Average Pediatrician Starting Salary
In every profession, your starting salary will differ from what you can expect to earn 10 to 15 years into your career.
Your pediatrician starting salary is likely to fall somewhere between these figures and the low 10th percentile figure of $68,860 reported by BLS.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports an average pediatrician starting salary ranging from $66,005 for pediatric subspecialty fellowships to $167,613 for general pediatric practice.
Pediatrician Salary: Employed vs. Self-Employed
As medical providers, pediatricians have the option to work for themselves or for someone else. As a pediatrician, you can open your own clinic and make your own hours. However, this also means operating a business on top of your already busy schedule of seeing and treating patients.
Self-employed pediatricians earn higher salaries on average than employed pediatricians, according to the Medscape report:
- Self-Employed Pediatricians: $231,000
- Employed Pediatricians: $206,000
But far more pediatricians are employed than independent, which represents an overall trend in physician employment. Young pediatricians tend to seek steadier income and more regular hours. Additionally, hospitals often consolidate and absorb small private practices.
- Self-Employed Pediatricians: 28%
- Employed Pediatricians: 69%
Highest-Paying States and Cities for Pediatricians
One of the most significant factors that determine how much you earn as a pediatrician is where you live.
High demand for medical professionals like pediatricians—paired with a low supply—often equates to greater salaries in an area. Additionally, regions with higher costs of living may offer relatively higher compensation.
Below are the highest-paying states for pediatricians, as well as the top-paying metro and rural areas and their respective average salaries.
Top-Paying States for Pediatricians
- Alaska – $268,010
- Wisconsin – $266,160
- Mississippi – $258,910
- Nevada – $258,750
- Montana – $248,370
Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Pediatricians
- Montgomery, AL – $285,070
- Jackson, MS – $283,960
- Killeen-Temple, TX – $275,000
- Madison, WI – $274,720
- Louis, MO-IL – $271,230
Top-Paying Nonmetropolitan (Rural) Areas for Pediatricians
- Southwest Montana – $250,490
- West Central-Southwest New Hampshire – $240,970
- Southwest Minnesota – $229,620
- Southeast Minnesota – $218,170
- South Central Kentucky – $208,920
Top-Paying Industries for Pediatricians
As a pediatrician, the type of medical office or institution where you work will also impact your salary. As mentioned above, pediatricians can work for themselves or for an employer.
If you choose to work as an employed pediatrician, the employers below should be your top considerations.
- Specialty Hospitals (Except Psychiatric/Substance Abuse)
Employed 190 Pediatricians in 2018 – Mean Wage: $205,370
- Local Government (Excluding Schools and Hospitals)
Employed 40 Pediatricians in 2018 – Mean Wage: $203,130
- Outpatient Care Centers
Employed 1,470 Pediatricians in 2018 – Mean Wage: $198,680
- Offices of Physicians
Employed 20,580 Pediatricians in 2018 – Mean Wage: $188,980
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
Employed 5,290 Pediatricians in 2018 – Mean Wage – $167,640
Average Pediatrician Salary vs. Other Medical Specialties
Pediatricians are amongst the lowest-paid medical specialists, according to both the BLS and Medscape. While this doesn’t mean you can’t earn a high salary as a pediatrician, it’s important to keep in mind if you’re still in medical school.
Depending on how much you need to borrow to get through medical school, you may opt for a more lucrative specialty like orthopedics or cardiology.
If you’re passionate about pediatrics, you may stick with your specialty and get more creative with paying off your student loans quickly. Alternatively, you may spend an additional three years of study to specialize in one of the fields below, while still focusing on pediatrics.
Here is a brief breakdown of how general pediatrics compares to a few other medical specialties (according to Medscape):
- Orthopedics – $482K
- Cardiology – $430K
- Oncology – $359K
- Emergency Medicine – $353K
- Internal Medicine – $243K
- Family Medicine – $231K
- Pediatrics (General) – $225K
- Public Health – $209K
The average doctor salary overall is $228,000 to $241,000 per year.
Pediatrician Subspecialty and Salary
One of the most crucial steps you can take to earn a higher salary as a pediatrician is sub-specializing. Entering a subspecialty as a pediatrician involves additional training and a board exam. After you pass the requisite exam, you earn a certification in the subspecialty you’ve chosen to study.
A subspecialty certification can significantly improve your job prospects and earning potential as a pediatrician. Possessing knowledge and experience in a niche pediatric field puts you in much smaller hiring pool, which means you can command a higher salary.
Earning your certification in one of the subspecialties below also allows you to benefit from the much higher salaries of other medical specialties.
For example, a pediatric cardiologist is valued as both a cardiologist and a pediatrician. And as mentioned above, a cardiologist’s salary is significantly higher than a general pediatrician’s salary.
It’s important to keep in mind that specializing generally takes an additional three years of training, which can increase your student loan burden.
The American Board of Pediatrics lists the following subspecialties for pediatricians:
- Adolescent Medicine
- Child Abuse Pediatrics
- Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics
- Hospice and Palliative Medicine
- Medical Toxicology
- Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
- Pediatric Cardiology
- Pediatric Emergency Medicine
- Pediatric Endocrinology
- Pediatric Gastroenterology
- Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
- Pediatric Hospital Medicine
- Pediatric Infectious Diseases
- Pediatric Nephrology
- Pediatric Pulmonology
- Pediatric Rheumatology
- Pediatric Transplant Hepatology
- Sleep Medicine
- Sports Medicine
For more information on pediatric subspecialties and how to earn your certification, visit the American Board of Pediatrics website.
Average Pediatrician Student Debt
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports a steadily-increasing level of student debt for pediatric residents. However, the average pediatrician student debt load has stayed about the same over the past three years.
In 1997, the average debt load (among residents who reported any debt) was under $100,000. In 2015, the average pediatrician student debt had skyrocketed to over $250,000.
In 2018, the average pediatrician student debt was $251,000.
Is the Average Pediatrician Salary Worth It?
With such a high average student debt, you may wonder whether the average pediatrician salary is worth the investment.
The American Academy of Pediatrics published their Pediatrician Life and Career Experience Study in 2017, helping to shed some light on the average pediatrician’s financial status.
Overall, the study found that pediatricians lived a comfortable life, despite their student debt.
Although most survey participants had high monthly loan payments, they still owned their own homes and were saving for retirement. In general, this speaks for the financial stability that the career can provide.
In their summation of this survey, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that “Obtaining practical information on budgeting, debt management and retirement savings as early in their careers as possible will be particularly important for the current generation of residency graduates who are starting their careers with higher debt.”
- Early Career Pediatrician Debt and Income
The AAP study found that 78% of early-career pediatricians (4-6 years after graduation) had household educational debt.
Among those pediatricians, the average debt was $158,000, and the average monthly payment was $1,276.
A quarter of pediatricians who were four to six years out of college were earning more than $200,000 per year, and 74% owned their own home.
The majority (94%) of these young pediatricians were already saving for retirement, although many were not saving as much as they would have liked to.
- Mid-Career Pediatrician Debt and Income
AAP found that of mid-career pediatricians (11-13 years after graduation) who responded to the survey, 46% had educational debt.
Among those pediatricians, the average debt was $88,000, and the average monthly payment was $800.
About half of these respondents were earning at least $200,000 per year, and 94% owned their own home.
The majority (97%) of these mid-career pediatricians were saving for their retirement, with about half stating that they would like to be saving more.
Pediatrician Student Loan Repayment
As a pediatrician, you can benefit from a variety of loan repayment options. Many government institutions, including national, state, and local governments, will help you pay back your loans if you work with them. Some private organizations also sponsor loan repayment programs for their employees.
Typically, participants in these programs agree to provide two to four years of service in exchange for loan repayment support.
The following are some examples of the loan repayment programs available to you as a pediatrician:
- National Health Services Corp Loan Repayment Program
Earn up to $50,000 towards student loan repayment in exchange for a two-year commitment.
- Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Program
Earn up to $40,000 per year for the repayment of your student loans in exchange for serving an initial two years at an Indian Health site.
- National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Loan Repayment Program
Spend at least 50% of your working hours engaged in qualified research to receive up to $35,000 per year.
As a medical professional, you also have the opportunity to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness if you go into public service or a qualifying nonprofit industry.
Pediatrician Salary and Job Satisfaction
Understanding the average pediatrician salary is highly valuable if you’re going into the field. But even more important is your overall satisfaction with the work that you do.
Respondents to the Medscape survey in 2018 were asked what they felt was the most rewarding part of their job.
“Gratitude/relationship with patients,” was the most popular response, garnering 36% of all responses.
The second-most popular answer was “Knowing that I’m making the world a better place,” with 30% of responses.
The third was, “Being very good at what I do/Finding answers, diagnoses,” at 16%. Only 7% of respondents selected, “Making good money at the job that I like.”
Pediatrics may not be the highest-paid medical specialty, but according to many pediatricians, it still pays a fair compensation. If you strategize to pay off your student loans and earn a competitive wage as a specialist, you can find a high degree of job satisfaction as a pediatrician.
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College Ave: College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply. As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000. Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Flat Repayment Option with an 8-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7.78% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 54 monthly payments of $25 while in school, followed by 96 monthly payments of $176.21 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $18,266.38. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. Information advertised valid as of 5/18/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.
ELFI: Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. To qualify for refinancing or student loans consolidation through ELFI, you must have at least $15,000 in student loan debt and must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved post-secondary institution.
LendKey: Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
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Earnest: To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest’s fixed-rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with autopay) to 7.89% APR (with autopay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with autopay) to 7.27% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms of 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 0.26% and 5.03% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 23, 2019 and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay Discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
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