Doctor salary – what do doctors earn?

Many myths surround the medical profession and the doctor's salary. Doctors are described as raking in big bucks or slaving away around the clock, fobbed off with ever-lower fees. Both are incorrect. We provide clarity and give an overview of physician compensation in this article.

What are the requirements for the medical profession?

The high responsibility of doctors for the health of their patients is indisputable. Before someone can work as a doctor, many hours of learning are required at home, in lecture halls, clinics and practices. Medical studies comprise the standard period of study of 12 semesters, some do not make it until 13, 14 or more semesters. That's more than 6 years of life, during which future physicians earn effectively nothing compared to their peers.

Medical studies are divided into 3 main sections. 2 years are devoted to the functions of the healthy body and mind. This time is called preclinical. In the clinical part of a total of 3 years, students deal with diseases, healing options and therapy methods. In the subsequent practical year (PJ), practical skills and abilities on patients in the clinic or hospital are required. Main focus: internal medicine, surgery and an elective subject. After passing the 3 state exams, the graduate can apply for his license to practice medicine. Until then, he has only invested time and money in his training. The if applicable. Received remuneration in the PJ of a maximum of 597 euros can not be equated with the performance-based remuneration of a doctor. Young doctors are therefore particularly proud of their first doctor's salary.

Physician Salary

What do I earn as an assistant physician?

On the first rung of the medical career ladder, physicians with a license to practice medicine and without completed specialist training work as assistant physicians. The graduate is allowed to practice medicine and is usually employed for a few years as an assistant physician. In the meantime, he specializes in a specialty in order to later work as a medical specialist. A resident's duties include direct patient care on the ward; he or she serves as a ward physician. An assistant physician is mainly employed for routine work such as patient admission, taking blood samples, examination and diagnosis or determining therapies. Often, a physician's professional life begins in the clinic or hospital where training for the chosen specialty takes place. Therefore, residents are also called physicians in training. Residency training generally lasts 5 to 6 years. The starting salary as an assistant physician depends on the place of work and the duration of employment.

An assistant doctor is paid according to the collective agreement. A distinction is made between collective agreements for university hospitals and municipal hospitals with public collective agreements and those of private hospital groups such as Helios or Rhon. The collective agreements are based on a weekly working time of 42 hours. The starting salary as an assistant physician is around. 4.800 gross per month; municipal hospitals usually pay slightly less. The physician salary can increase depending on work experience up to 6.200 euros gross monthly increase. After 3 years of work, an assistant physician in a municipal hospital, for example, receives 5.480 euros, while in a university clinic 5.652 euros earned. At a similar level, sometimes deviating upwards as well as downwards, the remuneration at private hospital associations is. Resident physicians can supplement their salary in the form of basic pay by taking on night and weekend shifts or other duties. on-call services or the on-call duty increase.

Tip: Residents who change locations or specialties do not have to start over at the entry-level salary, but can get credit for their years of service. According to the 6. However, in the second year as an assistant physician, the remuneration does not increase any further according to the collective agreement.

What do I earn as a specialist?

Within the specialist training the salary of the assistant physician increases. While the starting salary is just under or. around 60.000 per year, you can earn more than 70 % of the salary in residency.000 euros per year can be earned. If you have completed your residency, it pays off financially right away. Specialists are automatically classified in the next higher pay scale group. The salary as a specialist likewise increases according to the type of collective agreement and years of work. Currently, a specialist earns, for example, after 9 years in a university hospital 7.661 euros gross. The range can be from 65.000 to 95.000 Euro gross annual salary is enough. However, the specialty has no influence on the salary as a specialist, in contrast to the established physician. After 13 years in the profession, the highest level of remuneration for specialists with ca. 8.000 euros gross per month is reached.

What do I earn as a senior physician?

The following career steps bring a reasonable salary. The salary for senior physicians is differentiated between the salary of a senior physician and that of a chief physician. A senior physician is in charge of one or more wards in the hospital, he/she manages specialists and assistant physicians. The senior physician performs both the medical care of patients and tasks of organizing the workflow and managing employees. The senior physician also represents the chief physician in all matters during the chief physician's absence. The senior physician at a university hospital receives a salary from 7. Year 9.148 Euro gross salary. For the senior physician, a different pay scale group applies, which is defined in the 7. Year at 10.624 Euro per month starts. This base salary can increase significantly due to bonuses, services and supplements. After a few years of service, the likelihood increases for a senior attending physician to be able to arrange his or her salary as an attending physician on an individual basis and outside the pay scale. Clinics try to counteract the shortage of doctors with such contractual regulations.

What do I earn as a chief medical officer?

A chief physician is responsible for the entire hospital he manages. This applies not only in medical terms, but also to the economic efficiency of the work processes. He reports directly to the medical director and his pay is no longer regulated by collective bargaining agreements. In addition to his negotiating skills, the level of his remuneration depends primarily on the size, equipment, location and sponsor of the hospital, as well as his professional skills and reputation in the industry. The chief physician salary can therefore vary greatly, ranging up to twice the earnings as a senior physician. In addition, the physician's specialty has a big impact on the chief physician's salary. For orthopedics, surgery, radiology and internal medicine it is much higher than for neurology or urology. The range of chief medical officer salaries is from an initial 100.000 Euro up to 500.000 Euro per year. In individual cases it may be significantly higher. Today, variable remuneration such as bonus agreements and supplements make up a growing proportion of chief physician remuneration. Chief physicians are among the top earners in Germany; they can also generate additional income through outpatient care or expert witness work.

What do I earn as a practicing physician in my own practice??

A freelance doctor who has set up his own practice has better earning opportunities. He earns his salary as a practicing physician himself. Thus, its yields depend on the number, structure and disease disposition of its patients, the practice location, its equipment and its specialty. In addition, the decisive factor is what proportion of his business is accounted for by the treatment of private and statutory health insurance customers. The earnings figures are only indicative, as they are also strongly influenced by the personality of the doctor.

Salary as a private practice physician earned from cash patients can rival a senior physician's salary. Nevertheless, it is difficult to compare the salary of a senior physician with the salary of a general practitioner. The commitment and workload of the practicing physician must be taken into account. His working hours include not only the office hours, but also home visits, training, emergency and on-call duties, administrative activities, instruction of staff u. v. m. Physicians in private practice often spend far more than 55 hours per week on these tasks.

What to consider before becoming self-employed?

Nevertheless, the step to owning your own practice should not be underestimated and is well worth considering. The advantage of self-employment lies in professional self-realization. Practice physicians can decide for themselves how to run their practice and how to treat their patients. They can independently decide on personnel, rooms, equipment, etc. determine. Disadvantages are the entrepreneurial risk, the burden of a lot of bureaucracy and the sole responsibility that the doctor has to bear around the clock. Financially, physicians in private practice are bound by the agreements with health insurance companies and the allocations of the Associations of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians.

Decisive for the remuneration of the established physician are his annual turnover and the practice costs. This results in the annual net income of the practice, which is roughly comparable to the gross annual income of an employed physician. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the average net income per practice owner in 2015 was 192.000 euros. The specialties record extraordinarily different annual net incomes per practice owner. Among the top earners, with 356.000 in net income were the equipment-intensive radiologists, nuclear medicine specialists and radiation therapists, and the lowest at 163 euros.000 Euro neurologists and psychologists.

However, net income does not embody what physicians in private practice actually earn. The loans taken out for practice foundation and investments must be repaid. In addition, taxes, social security contributions and insurance premiums must be taken into account. For the staff, the employer's contribution to health, nursing care, pension, unemployment and accident insurance as well as, for the owner, the compulsory contributions to the physicians' pension fund must be paid. The employed physician pays only the employee contribution and his income tax. Self-employed physicians must also financially secure their own person, this concerns the entire contributions to health, nursing care and pension insurance. Your income tax burden depends on your personal tax rate. Separately, there are insurance premiums for medical malpractice insurance such as mandatory professional liability insurance or practice inventory, business interruption and loss of practice insurance, which are not mandatory insurance but are useful for freelance physicians.

What are the alternatives to a single practice??

However, physicians for whom the personal responsibility for patients, staff, billing and profitability appears to be too much do not have to remain continuously employed. There are several options for sharing responsibilities as a resident physician with other physicians, such as forming a group practice. This is characterized by joint billing, joint staff and a joint patient base. In this way, organizational and administrative tasks, as well as the economic risk and the practice costs, can be spread over several shoulders. The advantage of being your own boss, on the other hand, is not lost. Several physicians can also join together to form a joint practice in order to save costs for rooms, personnel and equipment. The own patient base guarantees the economic independence. You can find more details on this topic in our guide "Berufsausubungsgemeinschaft".

Which factors are decisive for a physician's pay??

The average gross annual salary at entry level for an employed physician is as:

  • Assistant physician: about 55.000 euros,
  • Specialist: more than 70.000 euros,
  • Senior physician: at least 90.000 euros,
  • Chief physician: ca. 300.000 euros.

In principle, the physician's remuneration is based on the employer, professional experience and qualifications of the physician. Which career path is best for you depends on many personal factors. Initial strategic considerations should be self-evident. Young doctors thinking about career planning and pay must first make basic decisions:

  • Do I want to be employed or self-employed?
  • Is a fixed doctor's salary or the entrepreneurial freedom as a practice owner more important to me??
  • Does my workplace pay standard wages or not?
  • In what position do I see myself as an employed physician in 5 or 10 years?

Not an unimportant answer arises from the question of how high the workload should be, because a medical employment relationship can also have disadvantages. Enormous personal claims are just as possible in the hospital. Substitutions, additional duties and fewer rest breaks due to physician shortages can quickly lead to high stress levels. Salaried doctors have little control over their own working hours, which can lead to a difficult work-life balance due to shift work, for example. Even professional and organizational shortcomings can only influence employed doctors to a certain extent.

For salaried entry-level employees, salaries are fixed according to the collective wage agreement. The higher the position of the doctor, the greater upward variances and individual salary arrangements are achievable. You have better earning opportunities as a practicing physician if you are prepared to master the difficult early years of self-employment. However, physician salary alone should never be the exclusive criterion for a career decision. An objective physician consultation supports you with your considerations whether the free establishment is suitable for you.

When does a medical study pay off?

Already at the beginning of their career, the years of torture have paid off, future physicians receive one of the highest starting salaries of all academic professions. Newcomers to the profession, such as residents in residency training or salaried physicians, must expect lower salaries, while senior physicians or established specialists with their own practice earn more. However, the highest salary is of little use if the money is spent again. The topic fortune structure should stand therefore for each young physician at the latest after the conclusion of studies on the agenda. So you don't have to fear any financial consequences of unplanned events and can reap the fruits of your hard work. Taking over your own practice at a later date can also be sensible and effective. For this you need as much equity as possible. Without a professional approach and independent advice, you will find it difficult to achieve the optimal investment result with your doctor salary. Building up a fortune over a long period of time requires patience, expertise and a decent income.

If you have questions about professional and financial decisions, the experienced and independent specialists of our medical consulting service are at your side with advice and support. For years, we have been advising and assisting physicians at the beginning of their careers as well as physicians at the end of their working lives. We guide you through wealth accumulation and protection with physician insurance policies. Arrange your consultation appointment online or in person.