How Much Is a Military Doctor Salary in 2024?

Military doctors earn an average compensation of $220,450 yearly. Some reports state that military physicians earn less than their civilian counterparts.

However, since they work in a military setting, they are considered officers and receive the same benefits as other military personnel according to their rank and specialty, which increases the total value of their earnings.

Learn more about the average compensation and explore the perks included in a military doctor’s salary.

Note that to become a military physician, you must be a United States citizen or a permanent resident with a valid Green Card.

You must also be attending or have already graduated from a medical school.

Key Takeaways

  • The average salary of a US military doctor is $220,450 per year, but some reports say it can also go lower.
  • At $254,112, Alaska offers the highest annual salary for a military doctor, while Florida offers the lowest, at $151,257.
  • There’s a minimal gender pay gap between physicians in the military.
  • Military doctors receive additional compensation and perks during their service commitment.

How Much Is a Military Doctor’s Salary in the USA?

According to, a military physician in the USA earns an average of $220,450. That’s higher than the average annual doctor income of $196,144.

However, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) pay table shows that military physicians earn lower monthly figures.

Based on the 2024 pay table, here is the monthly basic pay of a commissioned officer with less than two years of experience, from Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant Colonel:

  • Second Lieutenant (O-1): $3,826.20
  • First Lieutenant (O-2): $4,408.50
  • Captain (O-3): $5,102.10
  • Major (O-4): $5,803.20
  • Lieutenant Colonel (O-5): $6,725.70

As a commissioned officer, your rank will determine your pay, and your rank depends on your practice, specialty, and board status.

A physician still in medical school generally enters as a Second Lieutenant, while those who completed medical school join as a Captain.

Meanwhile, those with more experience can enlist as a Major or Lieutenant Colonel.

Overall, a military doctor’s compensation and additional benefits vary based on different factors, including rank, experience, location, and specialty.

The 10 Top-Paying States for Military Physicians

These are the top states where active-duty physicians are paid the highest salaries.

State Annual Salary Monthly Pay Hourly Wage
Alaska $254,112 $21,176 $122.17
Massachusetts $250,502 $20,875 $120.43
Washington $241,039 $20,086 $115.88
Nevada $240,262 $20,021 $115.51
Colorado $236,228 $19,685 $113.57
New York $222,743 $18,561 $107.09
Delaware $221,829 $18,485 $106.65
Illinois $218,877 $18,239 $105.23
Virginia $218,524 $18,210 $105.06
Vermont $217,608 $18,134 $104.62

The Five Lowest-Paying States for Military Physicians

Here are the five states offering lower salaries compared to the other states.

State Annual Salary Monthly Pay Hourly Wage
Kansas $174,988 $14,582 $84.13
Georgia $170,911 $14,242 $82.17
Louisiana $169,684 $14,140 $81.58
West Virginia $157,588 $13,132 $75.76
Florida $151,257 $12,604 $72.72

Source: ZipRecruiter

Is There a Gender Pay Gap between Military Doctors?

According to 2021 research, there’s a minimal gender pay gap for a military doctor since the compensation depends on rank, specialty, time in service, and incentive pay.

Moreover, research from 2022 found that more women are entering military medicine than men, specifically in General Surgery residency programs.

Having more women training and serving in military medicine will hopefully help close the gender gap among physicians.

What Salary Benefits Do Military Doctors Receive?

Here are some of the allowances and benefits included in a military doctor’s benefits package as a commissioned officer.

  • Annual Salary Increase: The 2024 National Defense Authorization Act declared a base pay increase of 5.2% for military personnel and civilian defense employees. Military doctors, regardless of their pay grade, receive the same incentive.
  • Basic Allowance for Sustenance (BAS): The BAS provides service members a meal allowance based on the current price of food. The 2024 BAS rate provides officers with $316.98 per month. Note that this doesn’t cover the cost of meals for family members.
  • Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH): Members who don’t receive government-provided housing receive a housing allowance, depending on the location, pay grade, and number of dependents.
  • Board Certification Pay (BCP): Medical officers receive a salary incentive when they attain board certification. They receive $2,500 to $6,000 per year, depending on the years of creditable service.
  • Student Loan Repayment or Scholarships: The Army, Air Force, Navy, and National Guard offer special programs to pay medical school debt. Each military branch has its eligibility requirements and terms, but those who qualify must serve a few years as active-duty staff physicians after graduating.

Examples of programs and schools include the Air Force Health Professionals Scholarship Program (HPSP), the Navy Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP), and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS).

Health Insurance

Active duty service members receive healthcare benefits through TRICARE, the Department of Defense’s health insurance program.

It covers doctor visits, hospital stays, tests, and prescriptions. The coverage also extends to registered dependents.

How Can Military Doctors Better Manage Their Salary?

Here are some tips on how you can maximize and multiply your earnings.

Make Smart Investments

Investing parts of your salary can help build your wealth and use it for your plans, future, or emergencies.

Explore financial planning companies like Physicians Thrive to assess your financial situation, get insight into the best investment opportunities, and eliminate risks in your investments.

Manage Your Taxes: Although military doctors are eligible for some tax-free allowances, they are still high-income earners, putting them in complex tax situations.

If you need help understanding and managing your taxes, consider seeking help from a financial advisor to pay the right fees and avoid late payments.

Start Your Private Practice: Some doctors want to start their private medicine practice after serving.

If this is your plan, a financial consultant can help you save time and money, set up your medical practice, and more.

Make the Most of Your Salary as a Military Doctor

Generally, military doctors earn a good amount of income annually.

Even if the government pays a lower base salary than some civilian physicians, the additional allowances and benefits make up for it.

As high-income earners, the best way to maximize your wealth is to plan and save properly.

But given your tight schedules, consider exploring financial planning services to help you manage your salary.

Talk to a Financial Advisor today, and explore how you can make the most of your money!

Comments (0)

About the Author