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Which Medical Jobs are Paying the Most in 2021?

Written by: Dr. Nisha Cooch
Published on: Mar 4, 2021

High paying medical jobs 2021

Medical jobs run the gamut in terms of income associated with the jobs, but each year, there appear to be some changes in terms of which jobs are the most lucrative. Some jobs, such as surgeon jobs, tend to always be at the top of the list. What about in 2021, as the world enters its second year of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Here are some of the jobs in healthcare that are likely to pay the most this year:

  1. Surgeons. As usual, surgeons likely make more money than anyone else in healthcare. Given the extensive training they go through to be licensed to perform the procedures they perform - and the overall stress and demand of their jobs - their earnings are not surprising, nor are they likely to decrease significantly over time. Certain surgical specialties, however, are more lucrative than others. Plastic surgeons, neurosurgeons, and orthopedic surgeons traditionally earn more than those in other surgical specialties.
  1. Non-Surgical Physicians. Physician salaries vary extensively, but on average, physician salaries are one of the higher salaries amongst healthcare workers. Dermatologists are known for earning relatively high salaries, whereas family medicine doctors tend to be on the lower end of physician salaries.
  1. Pharmacists. The range of salaries for pharmacists tends to be smaller than that for physicians (surgical and otherwise). Some pharmacists earn more than some physicians and generally command robust salaries. For those who are interested in medicine and a high paying job but do not want to strictly practice clinical medicine, pursuing a career in pharmacy is something to consider.
  1. Nurse Anesthetists. Nurse anesthetists tend to be the highest paid nurses, with starting salaries in the six figures. People with these jobs are certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) who work with other high earners involved in surgeries - such as surgeons and anesthesiologists - to help ensure the safety and proper sedation of patients undergoing procedures.
  1. Physician Assistants. The role of physician assistant (PA) has been growing in popularity for several years, especially for those who are interested in pursuing a career as a physician but want to practice medicine sooner or don’t want to take on the exorbitant insurance that physicians must carry. PAs have a great deal of autonomy in practicing medicine and can pursue different specialties.

Medical Salary Chart

Takeaway: Most of the highest earning medical jobs today are those that involve caring for patients and being accountable - at least to some extent - for their outcomes. The biggest exception to this rule is the role of pharmacist. Pharmacists tend to earn less than physicians but more than other workers in clinical medicine.

Top paying medical jobs for 2021:

  • Surgeon
  • Non-Surgical Physicians
  • Pharmacists
  • Nurse Anesthetists
  • Physician Assistants