Neonatologist Salary Ranges and The Factors That Impact It

Neonatologists are some of the most important people in the medical discipline. They specialize in caring for newborns, especially those who are premature and are at risk of developing certain conditions and problems. They also help in routine aspects as well, counseling mothers and new parents on what to do before and after the child arrives. New parents are a nervous mess and will ask many different questions. In this, neonatologists must not only be specialists in their field but also have incredible interpersonal skills and serviceable attitudes.

In this blog post, we will explore the average neonatologist salary and the factors that affect it. Ultimately, we will offer a comprehensive guide on the best way to both increase your salary, and preserve it for the future.

Average Neonatologist Salary

The average neonatologist’s salary can be difficult to ascertain, as many different factors affect and skew the data. The most important way you can approach this is to look at several reputable salary providers with great surveys and up-to-date data. is the largest domain dedicated to demonstrating the compensation available based on HR-reported data across the United States. reports the average neonatologist salary is $268.700, with the range between the 25th and 75th percentile being $226,700 and $323,900. The bottom 10% of neonatologists’ salaries are still around $180,000, which still represents a very high wage when compared to the median salary of other professions. Neonatologists often work in hospitals as well, so they are sometimes compensated highly because they are rarely able to start their independent practice due to the nature of their work. offers a similar range. They report the minimum and maximum salary as $96,900 to $335,000. Although the bottom may seem lower than the above estimate, the range was given for the 10th percentile and did not show the absolute lowest-paid position in the country. The median salary is $228,000 per year, which is similar to the salary range given above. Taking a look at the 25th and 75th percentile, those who are below the 25th percentile mark are mostly earning less than $146,000 per year, and those who are above the 75th percentile mark are earning mostly $304,000 annually.

Finally, provides a similar range to salary explorer, where the average salary is $226,098. The 10th percentile is much like’s report, where neonatologists are earning around $180,000. The total range for base salary is between $180K-$313K.

With the above data, it can sometimes be obscure as to what exactly affects your Neonatologist salary. Below, we will detail the factors that greatly influence the amount of compensation that is provided to you. Keep in mind that base salary does not always mean that this will be your total compensation, as many physicians often earn bonuses, benefits, and other methods of recompense from their employer

Other OBGYN Specialty Salary Articles:

OBGYN General  |  Urogynecologist  |  Reproductive Endocrinologist

Factors That Affect Salary

Of course, reading the ranges above does not paint the best picture for those who are just entering the field. Employers will often compensate far greater than not neonatologists who have many years of experience. They can bring professionalism or even lead the team in the neonatal unit. This can also include many different packages, which include insurance, retirement, and other forward-looking advantages. While we will look at different ways that you can increase your salary further in the article, let’s talk about the key factors that will affect your starting base compensation.

Please keep in mind that although education plays a critical factor in the earnings of anyone in the field, we are assuming a salary for a licensed neonatologist who is not specializing in any other field. This means that experience would be the sole domestic indicator of having more knowledge and practice, assuming that every facility is properly training its staff.


In the above examples, and offer a breakdown of how experience can affect your salary.

In the first report, they took years of experience into consideration. This showed the largest jump was from the first 2 years of experience, and again from the first 5 years of experience. This is not surprising, as most physicians who are new to the field will quickly get up to speed with their mentors and self-study. The nature of the field is very competitive and mistakes are extremely costly. After all, all physicians who have entered the field in any sort of discipline will be ready to tackle challenges with morality and a sense of leadership. In the first 2-5 years, neonatologists can expect a 34% increase, to a median of $147,000. After the first 5 years, to 10 years of experience, there is a 48% jump to $217,000 as the median. Finally, the last increase came after 10 years, which is a 22% median increase.

Those with 20 years of experience or more can expect to earn above 300K salary per year in base compensation.

In the second report, experience is also the driving factor in pay increases. However, it seems to start higher and jump in a more docile way. Those with less than a year of experience can typically expect to earn between $180,000 and $207,000. Once the physician has around 2-4 years of experience, the median is around $220K, matching the report above. Finally, the report also states the median salary of 5-9 years of experience is $230,000, and 10-19 years of experience is $246,000. Physicians with greater than 20 years of experience have a median salary of $273,000. This is a number that is much lower than the salary provided above. However, does mention that $313,000 is the upper end of the scale in base compensation, which many physicians receive once they pass the 20-year mark.

Related: Going From Hospital Employment to Self-Employment In Your Job Search?


Location within the United States has a great impact on your ability to earn work as a neonatologist. Remember that salary providers can often only report accurately on the base compensation. This is because bonuses are extremely difficult to calculate because they fluctuate every year or quarter. Additionally, it is hard to price benefits since they cover only the claims that have been made by the subscriber. Some physicians may have larger packages than others, regardless of experience or location.

The geographical jobs throughout the United States vary greatly, and not just within the neonatal field. This affects all physicians, as well as those in different industries. Some states can be more focused on healthcare, while others have a more traditional economy. Furthermore, the various sites take the cost of living into consideration.

According to, which took a recent report from popular, average neonatologist salaries per state and city are as follows:

  • New York City: $308,596
  • Buffalo, NY: $243,898
  • Chicago, IL: $270,340
  • Peoria, IL: $246,341
  • Los Angeles, CA: $287,096
  • Washington DC: $282,250
  • Tallahassee, FL: $231,317

Of course, the neonatal field is best compensated in higher cost of living areas, and/or a robust metropolitan area. New York City is the most populous city in the United States. This attracts the country’s top talent, as, with more births per year, there is a higher chance that further premature issues occur with the infant. Generally, the South and Midwest regions have lower average salaries. In contrast, the West coast and the Northeast regions provide higher salaries.

Average Loan Debts

Of course, attending medical school and graduating as a resident is not cheap or easy. According to a recent study, greater than 80% of medical school graduates have outstanding loans, with 43% of graduates taking out loans before attending medical school (for undergraduate studies). The average loan debt was $200,000 in 2020 and grew to $241,600 in 2021. This symbolizes a near 25% increase, and will only be increasing every year due to inflation, economic factors, and greater demand for higher education amongst physicians. The mental and financial toll that this can take on someone that is just starting their career can be daunting. You should tackle this at the source as soon as possible to negate the effects of negative compounding.

Physicians Thrive offers various resources to help you reduce the loan, as well as re-negotiate its terms. We provide specialized discount rates for students and current practitioners alike

Read more: Talking About Money Before & After You Marry.

Ways To Increase Salary


When considering your neonatologist salary, a primary course of action that can be taken right away is relocation. It is impossible to earn more years of experience in a shorter amount of time, and changing between facilities may only offer a few thousand dollars more in your immediate area. With the research posted above, relocation can be a lucrative way to further increase your salary with your current experience.

With this being said, it can be extremely challenging to relocate. Packing everything up and moving to a foreign state brings a lot of unfamiliarity. It can also require that you receive specialized licensing. Furthermore, lifestyle creep could rear its ugly head and eat at the salary increase that you worked so hard for. For some, it may be worth it as moving may be able to help you pay off your student loans.


Neonatologists are unique in their field, as they are already considered sub specialized. However, this presents a unique approach to your income potential. While neonatologists cannot further specialize in another field within their own, they can cross-specialize. Or more likely, focus on their concentration. The difference between a neonatologist that is only trained in the aftercare of the mother in maternal-fetal medicine, may have lower earning potential than those who specialize in premature births, chromosomal abnormalities, and congenital abnormalities.

Many hospitals may not have that specific concentration in their workforce and will look elsewhere to provide urgent care to a premature fetus. Those who have received proper training can find themselves with unlimited consulting potential. This training could come from either the American Board of Pediatrics, continuing education, or learning from their current workplace


One of the largest financial threats to a physician’s career is inadequate compensation at their current facility. This should be the first consideration when seeking higher pay. You can do it very quickly and not affect the extremities of your life – including moving, family health, or a large relocation throughout the country. Almost 50% of physicians leave their employers due to low compensation and contract loopholes, making them feel less than human at times.

Negotiation has to be handled with extreme care. If you do it improperly, you can paint a target on your back. Luckily, our experienced advisors and attorneys at Physicians Thrive has a very high chance of success through their contract review process.

Related reading: Physician Contract Review: Professional Counsel

Protecting Your Earnings

Investments and Retirement Planning

Retirement planning should be approached as early on in your career as possible, to increase the effects of compounding on your plan and investments. Employers offer a retirement plan that should be attractive but must be negotiated. Doctors make the ultimate sacrifice early on in their lives by delaying their earning potential further on to match their lifestyle. Often, physicians find themselves in debt.

That said, you could take multiple other avenues outside solely relying on your employee’s investment vehicle and returned payout. The large cash flow that physicians make is attractive to mortgage lenders, giving them one of the highest approval rates. Investment properties should be a focus in your retirement portfolio.


If your employer does not offer it, this can be a red flag. Malpractice insurance is one of the most essential things that a physician can have, especially if they are in a very demanding field where mistakes are costly and open up yourself to liability. Physicians Thrive details a full guide on Claims-made and Occurrence-based malpractice insurance coverage so that you can be sure that the protection you have is more than necessary. Even if your employer already offers insurance, it is often not enough to protect yourself now or in the future.

Finally, disability insurance is the most important tool to add to your repertoire to protect your neonatologist salary. Physicians have the highest earning potential as individual professionals in the country. Therefore you should safeguard your earnings to ensure a better quality of life if an accident were to occur. Read our full guide to disability insurance, which answers questions regarding claims, best providers, group vs individual policies, and short-term and long-term coverage.

Watch this: Real-life Physician, Feranmi Okanlami’s Story


The neonatal market is projected to explode by 2027. Because of that, the average neonatologist’s salary has been steadily increasing. Demand for professionals has also increased in the post-pandemic world. Physicians and surgeons from all walks of life realized that they are one of the most essential services out there. Contact us if you would like help to prepare financially for your career, especially now that the world has shifted its values.

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