Evaluating Emergency Medicine Physician Job Salaries

After several years of medical school, school loans, internships and training, you can look forward to very good salaries for emergency medicine physician jobs.

It is typical for emergency physician jobs to command six-figure salaries relatively quickly. According to Salary.com , the median salary for an emergency physician is $247, 811. Some statistics show that entry-level emergency physician jobs typically pay $140,000 annually and the country’s top emergency room physicians earn just under $400,000 per year.

A 2009 CNNMoney survey listed emergency physician as one of the “Best Jobs in America” with a report card that gave A’s to personal satisfaction, job security, and benefit to society. (The report also gave a D for low stress, but the fact is that saving lives is going to be stressful.)

Reports also show that it’s a competitive market — for hospitals, that is — and this bides well for job seekers. There are more emergency medicine jobs than there are doctors to fill them—particularly board-certified ones. “It is really high competition to get emergency department certified folks, especially outside of urban areas,” said Dr. Ryan Stanton, a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians and Medical Director for the Emergency Department of Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky.

Dr. Stanton said that there is an “almost backwards” fact of emergency physician job salaries in that less desirable locations pay a lot better. “It boils down to supply and demand,” he said.

According to Dr. Stanton, emergency physician salaries are best in the southeast part of the country, and run lower in the west and northeast. What makes it backwards is the higher cost of living in the places that don’t pay as well where people have the amenities of big cities to enjoy, versus affordable real estate and living costs in small towns with higher pay.

When it comes to balancing the cost of medical school, the high stress of being an emergency physician, and the relatively short career span with the six-figure salary, Dr. Stanton is realistic. “You’re not going to starve, but you’re not going to get rich,” he said. “I have a comfortable career in which I take care of my family, but I’m not going to fly around in private jets.”

In the first year an emergency physician can expect to get paid hourly, Dr. Stanton, explained. “At first doctors get into the hero stuff,” he said. “It’s a natural progression.” In the second year a doctor will get benefits and increased pay with the third year bringing bonuses too. “After that it doesn’t change a whole bunch.”

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