Salary Guide for Pediatrics and Pediatric Subspecialties

In almost all medical specialties, if your title is preceded by “pediatric,” you take a significant pay cut.

However, there is a measure of nobility earned with this pay cut.

Children need medical attention, and someone has to do it.

Although you may not earn as much as your non-pediatrics peers, there are some ways you can increase your income.

This article will divulge a few steps you can take to achieve a higher salary.

We will also dig into how the numbers look for the various subspecialties of pediatric medicine.



Average Pediatrician Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the national average salary of a pediatrician in 2020 as $184,570.

This number is incredibly low compared to all other sources.

Doximity’s 2020 Physician Compensation Report lists a much higher number for the average pediatrician salary. According to their data, $243,253 is the correct amount.

The Economic Research Institute also lists a higher income for the average pediatrician, with $231,081 as their annual salary.

According to Medscape’s 2021 Compensation Survey, the average salary for pediatricians is $221,000 per year.

This compensation data also shows that the base salary is boosted by incentives in the amount of $26,000 on average.

Of the pediatricians who participated in this salary survey, 55% felt fairly compensated for their hard work. Unfortunately, that leaves 45% unhappy with their income.

This begs the question:

How much more can a pediatrician make?

These unhappy pediatricians could increase their salary potential by leveraging the contributing factors below in their favor.


Factors That Affect a Pediatric Salary

When a physician is trying to determine where and when to look for a new position, they should always consider the following three factors:

Years of Experience

Before a pediatrician begins to practice, they earn money as a resident. According to Medscape, the average resident annual salary is $64,000 in 2021.

Medscape also shows that a resident’s salary increases every year of residency, even if just slightly.

After residency, pediatricians can expect to earn more as they accumulate years of experience.

SalaryExplorer.com shares a helpful graph showing the average salary increase rate that a pediatrician can earn as their years of experience increase.

The most significant hike in annual salary is between 5-10 years of experience, when a pediatrician can see as much as a 38% increase in pay.

Location

Another factor that can significantly affect the average pediatrician’s income is location.

The area’s cost of living and demand for your specialty always come into play regarding the expected average salary.

Top-Paying States

The highest-paying states for pediatrician jobs are different depending on which source you check. However, some states show up on everyone’s list.

ZipRecruiter lists New York, New Hampshire, California, and Vermont as the states where pediatric physicians earn the most. Full-time pediatricians’ average income is listed above $335,000 per year in all these states.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, pediatricians make the most in Montana, Alaska, Utah, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin.

Forbes published an article listing the ten states where pediatricians earn the most money and the ten states where pediatricians make the least amount of money.

Their list includes all the states listed on the BLS list, but they also mention Alabama, Mississippi, and Minnesota.

Type of Practice

Pediatricians’ salary range is also dependent on the type of practice they choose.

Medscape’s pediatrician compensation survey showed that self-employed pediatricians earn $36,000 more per year than their employed peers.

Most new pediatricians don’t have a large enough client base to start their own practice. Yet, they can still find a well-paying position working for a healthcare organization or as a hospitalist.

According to Doctor-Salaries.com, pediatricians employed by hospitals make between $51,544 and $189,696 a year.

This same source states that pediatricians working for a healthcare company, whether for-profit or non-profit, make more than a private practice pediatrician.

Strangely enough, this source also claims that pediatricians working in the academic field are not those earning the lowest salary (which is the case in most medical fields). So if you like the idea of teaching medicine, this may be a good route.

One employment model that can improve a pediatrician’s income is locum tenens. When hospitals or companies are having a hard time staffing a permanent pediatrician, they hire locum tenens in the meantime.

According to Staffcare.com, the average hourly wage for this position is around $215 per hour.

We can help you get the compensation and benefits package you want. Learn about our contract review and negotiation services today.

Pediatric Subspecialties

Physician's hands wearing blue rubber gloves and handling heart rate reading paper against an orange background

General pediatricians can complete a fellowship to further specialize and move away from primary care. The subspecialty they choose can affect how much they earn.

Here are some of the top pediatric subspecialties and their correlating compensation data:

Pediatric Cardiology

Pediatric cardiology is likely one of the highest-earning subspecialties that a pediatrician can pursue.

According to SalaryExpert.com, the average salary for a pediatric cardiologist is $385,479 per year.

Salary.com reports a smaller salary for this subspecialty, with $285,437 as the average. However, they also report that physicians in the 90th percentile of earners in pediatric cardiology can earn up to $434,313.

According to ZipRecruiter, the highest-paying states for pediatric cardiologists are California, North Dakota, Massachusetts, and New York.

Pediatric Emergency Medicine

Another high-earning subspecialty of pediatrics is pediatric emergency medicine.

According to Salary.com, this subspecialty earns an average of $366,779.

Comparably reports a significantly lower average salary for pediatric emergency medicine. Their data lists the average annual income for this specialty as $231,667.

ZipRecruiter lists Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut as the highest-paying states for pediatric emergency medicine.

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

Closely related to emergency medicine but earning slightly less is the field of pediatric critical care medicine.

Comparably actually lists the annual salary for this subspecialty slightly higher than emergency medicine at $236,466.

Salary.com supports that finding by reporting a very similar average. The median pediatrician salary from this source is $238,248.

According to ZipRecruiter, the highest-paying states for pediatric critical care medicine are Massachusetts, Hawaii, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Pediatric Endocrinology

Doximity’s 2019 Physician Compensation Report lists pediatric endocrinology as one of the five lowest-paid medical specialties. In fact, the only medical specialty earning less was pediatric infectious disease.

This report lists the average annual income for pediatric endocrinology for that year as $201,033.

Other sources show even lower numbers. For example, Comparably’s reported annual income for pediatric endocrinology is $172,332.

However, Comparably does share that pediatric endocrinologists in San Francisco make $258,906 on average, almost twice as much as the national average.

Glassdoor.com lists a similar annual salary, with $181,612 being the reported income for pediatric endocrinologists. If you look at the posted jobs, however, many job opportunities are offering much higher pay.

According to ZipRecruiter, the highest-paying for pediatric endocrinology are Massachusetts, Hawaii, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Pediatric Gastroenterology

One pediatric subspecialty that sees slightly higher annual salaries from most sources is pediatric gastroenterology.

According to Salary.com, pediatric gastroenterology has an average annual salary of $213,488.

Glassdoor lists a higher annual salary of $242,584 for pediatric gastroenterology.

According to ZipRecruiter, the states where pediatric gastroenterologists currently earn the most are Massachusetts, Washington, Maryland, and New York.

Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

Doximity’s 2019 Physician Compensation Report lists pediatric hematology-oncology as one of the lowest-paying specialties in the medical field.

This subspecialty holds the number-four position of lowest-paid, with an average annual salary of $222,953.

Comparably reports income for pediatric hematology-oncology very close to that number, with $225,000 per year as their average.

Glassdoor reports the average annual salary for this job title as $178,792.

According to ZipRecruiter, the states that pay the most for physicians in this subspecialty are California, North Dakota, New York, and Massachusetts.

Pediatric Nephrology

One subspecialty of pediatrics with an abnormally low average salary is pediatric nephrology.

Comparably claims that pediatric nephrologists make only $161,407 per year on average. You can earn significantly more money each year practicing in San Francisco, where the average annual salary is $242,528.

Glassdoor also lists a lower average, with $182,904 as their estimate.

If San Francisco isn’t your favorite spot, you can always choose from the top-paying states for pediatric nephrology according to ZipRecruiter: Massachusetts, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Pediatric Pulmonology

A mid-range subspecialty that makes your extra training worthwhile with a slight pay increase is pediatric pulmonology.

Comparably lists the average annual salary for this specialty as $182,208, but again, you can earn much more in San Francisco ($273,906).

Glassdoor reports more promising numbers nationwide with $226,169 as the listed average annual salary of a pediatric pulmonologist.

ZipRecruiter’s highest-paying states for this subspecialty include Massachusetts, Washington, Maryland, and New York.

Pediatric Rheumatology

Another subspecialty on the low end of the salary spectrum is pediatric rheumatology.

The average annual salary reported by Comparably for this job title is $159,000.

Washington, D.C. is Comparably’s choice for the best-paying city in this field. However, it only offers a 4% increase in pay, with $165,000 being the average salary in that city for pediatric rheumatology.

Glassdoor doesn’t offer much higher numbers for the salary possibilities in this subspecialty — their data shows that $170,652 is the average annual salary for a pediatric rheumatologist.

Even so, you can always choose your location of practice wisely. 

ZipRecruiter lists the four highest-paying states for pediatric rheumatology as New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Wyoming.

Pediatric Urology

Our sources offer conflicting data about compensation in the field of pediatric urology.

Glassdoor lists the average annual compensation for a pediatric urologist at $164,786. Comparably backs up this data with their own number for the average income of pediatric urologists: $163,450.

However, ZipRecruiter tells a different story.

This website has the average annual salary of a pediatric urologist much higher, at $272,335 per year.

ZipRecruiter also lists the states that pay the most for these physicians. They include New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Wyoming, and Maine.

Related: The Top 10 States to Practice Medicine


Other Financial Factors for Pediatricians to Consider

Along with the three main factors — experience, location, and type of employment — pediatricians need to consider how to care for their salary once they are happy with the outcome.

Disability Insurance

Woman with leg cast sitting on couch and reading a sheet of paper

Every physician should look into purchasing comprehensive disability insurance to avert a financial disaster that would compound an already traumatic situation.

The best policy will cover a pediatrician with an “own-occ” rider and possibly residual disability coverage.

To learn more about disability insurance and get free quotes from the top insurance companies in the nation, visit our information page about physician disability insurance.

Student Loan Debt Management

Of course, true financial freedom comes when you no longer owe money to anyone. Unfortunately, as all physicians know, medical school debt can haunt them for decades.

Pediatricians can pay down these debts faster with the right loans and the best repayment options.

We have some great information on that, too. Read all about it on our page dedicated to med school loan repayment info.

Retirement Planning

Lastly, pediatricians need to start preparing for retirement as early as possible. There are many options open to physicians. Different savings accounts become available depending on your type of employment.

Yes, you guessed it. We have all that information at your fingertips, too. Better yet, we can help make a tailored retirement plan just for you.


As stated, pediatricians can position themselves to earn a higher income by taking advantage of the factors above.

Well-chosen pediatric subspecialties can also help physicians increase their annual salaries.

Of course, there are other things to consider when it comes to finances, like getting the proper insurance, paying down medical school debt, and saving for retirement.

Our professional team of advisors can help you with all of these financial challenges.

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