How Much Salary Should You Earn as a Hospitalist?

While hospitalists make less than the highest paid physician specialties, they still bring in a respectable salary.

You have many choices for specializing when you become a physician. If you dream about working in a hospital for your career, you could become a hospitalist. This is a specialized kind of physician who diagnoses and treats people who have been hospitalized. The role can include different types of care, as you might continue to be a person’s physician as they go through a continuum of care within different parts of the hospital. For instance, you may treat someone in the intensive care unit as well as when they leave the unit and switch to post-acute care. You might also work with other types of physicians to get a patient the care they need in each situation.

In general, hospitalists go through medical school and then may receive specialization in internal medicine or another relevant subspecialty. Medical school takes four years and then an internal medicine residency that leads to board certification takes an additional three years. This is on top of the four years of schooling for an initial bachelor’s degree. Hospitalists achieve licensing and board certification for this role. These physicians always need to keep their knowledge fresh regarding cutting-edge equipment, treatments and technology that is used within hospitals.

This article shows you average salary expectations for a hospitalist physician and breaks down salary ranges and how a variety of factors impact this professional’s salary. It also shows you how to make a higher salary within this role and other tips for using your money well.

Average Hospitalist Salary

First, let’s consider what you could expect to make on average as a hospitalist physician. gives the median salary for this profession as $243,162, which is the base salary. Fifty percent come in below and 50 percent come in above the median. For further salary information, this site shows that the salary ranges from $187,129 in the 10th percentile to $304,835 in the 90th percentile. Nonetheless, the most common hospitalist salary range is between $213,832 in the 25th percentile and $275,444 in the 75th percentile. says the average base salary for a hospitalist per year is $224,924. ZipRecruiter shows the national average hospitalist salary as $272,531 per year, while Payscale gives an average base salary of $238,818.

These sites show fairly comparable results for the average salary of a hospitalist physician. Nonetheless, the average does differ from site to site. Reasons for the discrepancy include the method of gathering salary data—for instance, some sites go by salaries reported to the site while others collect broader salary information—and factors that can influence salary. Some sites may show base salary, while others include additional compensation. The time period of the data used may also differ. These are factors to keep in mind when you compare salary information across different sources.

Factors That Affect a Hospitalist Salary

There is a range of salaries in this field, as numerous factors impact your pay level. Let’s take a closer look at what the top factors are.

Experience Level

In any career, you can generally expect to make less when you start out and then increase your salary over time as you gain skills and years of experience. This is the same for a hospitalist physician. You would make less during your residency than you would once you have completed it and become board certified. Then, an entry level hospitalist makes 16 percent less than average, according to Payscale. At this experience level, hospitalist salaries have a total compensation with tips, bonuses and overtime that comes to $200,687. After gaining years of experience, these professionals make about $216,000 to $245,000. In their late careers, they make 13 percent higher than the average, with a total compensation of $270,000.

Where You Work

The state, region and local area where you work play a role in your salary. ZipRecruiter shows that the following states have higher salaries than the national average for hospitalists:

  • New York: $323,189
  • New Hampshire: $305,821
  • Montana: $286,993
  • Arizona: $284,436
  • Wyoming: $282,158
  • New Jersey: $282,020
  • Massachusetts: $275,399
  • West Virginia: $273,460
  • Indiana: $273,364
  • Hawaii: $272,868
  • Tennessee: $272,678

Nonetheless, it’s important to keep in mind that different areas within a state may pay varying amounts, which may be impacted by the population of the area. Also, it’s always best to weigh the cost of living of an area with the pay ranges to get an idea of how far your salary would go.

Willing to relocate? Read this: How Moving Can Help Physicians Pay Off Student Loans

It may also be possible to increase income by changing from one employer to another and by switching to a different type of workplace, such as a for-profit hospital from a non-profit one or a hospital system compared to a standalone hospital.


Skills and education may vary from one hospital physician to another, which can impact salary. Hospitalists may have different board certifications, fellowship training, amounts of schooling and so on. They may have also specialized in certain skills and areas over others. All of these factors play a role in salary considerations.


The type of subspecialization you’re trained in impacts your overall salary within this field. Many hospitalists are specialized in internal medicine. Nonetheless, others may have subspecialties in pediatrics, neurology or OBGYN. Payscale shows some of the differences in salary, as hospitalists specialized in internal medicine make $237,640. Some subspecialties make less than that, with pediatrics hospitalists making $190,000; hospitalists with electronic medical records (EMR) experience making $226,951 and training hospitalists making $230,000. On the other hand, intensive care unit hospitalists make a higher salary of $266,000.

Total Compensation

Physicians tend to make money beyond their base salaries, and a hospitalist is no exception. This role can generally expect add-ons like benefits and bonuses that increase yearly pay. Payscale shows that hospitalist physicians make bonuses that range from $3,000 on the low end up to $51,000 on the high end. This can add a significant sum to the overall salary. shows that the salary can go from $243,162 at the base salary to $323,332 in total compensation. The increase reflects bonuses and the value of benefits, which includes paid time off, a pension plan, social security and other benefits. This is a significant jump in overall pay. Plus, includes a bonus amount of $3,427 within this figure, while Payscale shows that bonuses have the potential to go much higher for this type of physician. There may be other types of additional income as well, such as overtime pay and profit sharing.

Hospitalists who are in the midst of signing a new employment contract shouldn’t forgo asking for a signing bonus. Read more about negotiating a signing bonus.

Average Loan Debt for Physicians in This Field

The average amount of debt for going through medical school is about $200,000, according to Student Loan Planner. This is typical of any kind of physician specialty, including a hospitalist, and then you start to make a small income as you go through a residency and possibly fellowship training within your field. Nonetheless, the total repayment amount of a medical school loan tends to be far more than the $200,000 amount, as you pay the added interest on the loan over an extended period of time.

One way to extend your hospitalist salary once you become a physician is to change your student loan debt situation. By refinancing, you have the opportunity to reduce the interest rate and therefore the total amount you owe on your loan debt.

We offer special discount rates for re-financing. Compare these to your current rate to see if you can save.

At Physician’s Thrive, we believe that the best debt repayment strategy starts with the right loans before you even start medical school.

Get in touch with our team of student loan advisors to learn more about this tactic so you don’t spend the rest of your professional days paying off a massive debt.

Ways to Increase Hospitalist Salary

How can you look to increase your salary once you become a hospitalist? In general, you can expect to make more over time as you complete your residency and become a full-fledged physician and then after you gain years of experience. Nonetheless, you can take strategic steps beyond this passive and natural way of increasing your income.

The above factors that impact hospitalist salary ranges show important ways to increase income. For instance, you could consider moving to a state that has a higher income level for this profession. New York, New Hampshire and Montana are the top three highest paying states for hospitalists, while others may also pay higher than the state you’re currently in. Keep in mind the added cost of inflation in certain states because inflation alone could neutralize the increase or potentially wipe out the difference so that way you were actually netting a lower amount due to the cost of living adjustment. You may be able to increase your salary by gaining certain skills or a higher level of education. Subspecialization is an important way to increase income in this field, as hospitalists with intensive care unit subspecialization make the highest amounts.

How to Negotiate Your Hospitalist Salary

Beyond the previous ways to increase salary, negotiating your salary smartly is one of the best ways to ensure you’re making the highest amount you can be during every stage of your career. Good salary negotiations from the start get your career off on the right foot and can help you make more during all of your working years.

It’s important to negotiate a salary based on your qualifications at the beginning of your career and at any stage when your qualifications change. For example, if you gain a new certification, you should renegotiate your salary so it reflects the added qualification. Salary negotiations also have an important part to play in the compensation beyond your base salary. During negotiations, you can work out things like a malpractice benefits including who pays for tail insurance in the event you leave, bonus structure, profit sharing, benefits and overtime pay. Any one of these can greatly increase your total compensation per year.

Negotiating is essential to gaining maximum salary as a hospitalist, yet negotiating is not everyone’s strong suit. When your strength lies in science and medicine, and even in providing the highest level of patient care, you may not be skilled at salary negotiations. Just as other people look to you to provide your expertise in medicine, you can look to experts in contract review and negotiation to handle this aspect of your career.

Reach out to us for a contract review and expert assistance.

Additional Benefits for Hospitalists

It’s important to consider all types of benefits that may add to your salary and also protect the income you have earned. This means making smart decisions regarding retirement plans and disability insurance.

Making a good choice between retirement plan options for physicians helps you set yourself up for the years when you’re done working. You can use some of your money well throughout your career by putting a portion of it into a retirement plan to grow the money within an account. Smart financial planning allows you to use your hard-earned salary well during your sunset years.

It also makes sense to protect your salary with disability insurance. This is a smart move to protect your income and ensure the financial wellness of yourself and your family if anything happens to impact your career as a hospitalist. After all of the time and effort you exerted to get to where you are, your best plan is to protect it.

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