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Where Do Doctors Earn The Most Internationally? Do U.S. Physicians Have It Best?

Where Do Doctors Earn The Most Internationally? Do U.S. Physicians Have It Best?
There are many good reasons to consider a job in healthcare. The sectors with the most robust hiring outlook for the foreseeable future continue to be in healthcare and technology. (And occupations that combine those two disciplines will be some of the hottest career paths of the next few decades.)
We summarized Medscape "International Physician Compensation Report 2019: Do US Physicians Have It Best?" below. Here's what you should know about international physician compensation and is it a rewarding career choice?

How much do physicians earn? 

For all countries, compensation for employed doctors included salary, bonus and profit sharing; and for self-employed physicians earnings after taxes and business expenses but before income taxes.

U.S physicians earn far more than doctors in other countries. Canada comes in close second. In the European countries shown here, medical school is either free (with minor administrative fees) or far less expensive than in the United States. Differences in cost of living also play a large role in salary. For example the average rent in Mexico is about 75% less than in the United States.

United States has the most expensive medical schools and the completion  of medical education takes longer here than in most other countries surveyed. Mexico requires graduates to work in a government service hospital or clinic for a set time after completing their public medical school education. In most European countries noted here, medical school is a 6 year program that can start immediately after school.


What is the most rewarding part of the job?

Both in the United States and abroad, gratitude for and relationships with patients, as well as being good at what they do and solving problems are very rewarding to physicians. German physicians however were most likely to cite being good at their jobs and solving problems, while Brazilian physicians were most likely to select making good money at a job they like. 


What are the biggest challenges faced by physicians?

French and German physicians were most likely to name rules and regulations as the biggest burdens of practicing medicine. United States, Canada and UK doctors also made know their frustrations in this area. Doctors in England specifically named dealing with NHS staffing levels and workloads as their greatest challenge. Other challenges cited in the UK: getting fair reimbursement from private insurers and having so many NHS rules and regulations. More physicians in France, Spain, Brazil and Mexico said that working long hours was a major challenge.


Would you choose medicine again as a career? 

Despite their challenges, overall, physicians would stick with their chosen field if they had to do it over. The United States and Germany had the highest  percentage of physicians who would choose medicine again as a career if they had to do it over, while the United Kingdom had the lowest.

Reference: Medscape International Physician Compensation Report 2019.


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Written by, Prasanthi Naidoo, Founder of