Radiologists remain as top-paid physicians of the year 2012 with $315,000, according to Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2012.  They were the highest paid physicians of the year 2011. That compared to what pediatricians earned, a humble $156,000.

Best paid doctors included:

- Orthopedic surgeons: $315,000 - Cardiologists: $314,000 - Anesthesiologists: $309,000 - Urologists: $309,000 - Gastroenterologists: $303,000 - Oncologists: $295,000 - Dermatologists: $283,000 - Plastic surgeons: $270,000 - Ophthalmologists: $270,000

Low paid doctors:

- Family medicine doctors: $158,000- Internal medicine doctors: $165,000- Diabeticians/Endocrinologists: $168,000- Psychiatrists: $170,000- HIV/infectious disease specialists: $170,000- Rheumatologists: $180,000- Neurologists: $184,000- Nephrologists: $209,000

The report also mentions that job satisfaction among doctors has drastically decreased. Almost half of physicians said that they wouldn’t, if given a chance, choose medicine as a career. However, the lowest paid of the lot, the pediatricians, reported that they would choose the same field (46 percent).

Plastic surgeons were found to be more dissatisfied with their work with less than half saying that they like their specialty.

Higher incomes higher debts

Despite the high incomes, many physicians do not consider themselves as “rich”. Many feel that their debts are so high that they don’t feel rich. 45 percent felt that their income is no better than a non-physician’s. Only 11 percent said that they considered themselves rich.

Gender plays an important role in deciding how fat your pay check would be, as male physicians earn more than females by a gap of 40 percent. This trend was similar irrespective of the field. The reasons cited for this difference is that females tend to spend more time with the patients compared to males.  

North and South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska are few of the places where the top-paid physicians practice.

A majority of the physicians in the survey said they did not agree with the health care reforms and thought of them as “cost-cutting” ideas. The physicians also said that they wouldn’t want to cut down on the procedures or the tests they perform on patients.

According to World Health Organization, the poorer countries have physicians who earn less than non-physicians jobs like engineers whereas the trend is the opposite in developed economies where physicians earn more than engineers.

The survey covered 25 specialty areas. More than 24,000 physicians from U.S answered the online survey.