Stroke Doctor Salary Guide for Vascular Neurologists

Stroke doctors, formally called vascular neurologists, are an invaluable resource in the preventative care and treatment of those at risk of experiencing a stroke or those who have already suffered one.

Vascular neurologists have to undergo at least 12 years of training and education in order to finally realize their vision, and they should expect their compensation to match that degree of dedication.

But how much can you expect to make? What factors are in play that determine your salary? How can you ensure that you receive fair compensation for your expertise and hard work?

This article will examine the average salary for those seeking to become a stroke doctor (and those in similar fields), information on how to navigate salary, and more helpful tips that you’ll need as you start to put your degrees and experience to use.

Average Stroke Doctor Salary

According to 2022 data from the 2023 MGMA Compensation & Production Report, the Median salary for those in stroke medicine nationwide was $373, 289.

However, some resources report lower national averages. reports that the U.S. average for vascular neurologists hovers around $177,827, although the middle 57% of stroke doctors make anywhere between $165,125 and $368,114.

Meanwhile, reports that the average U.S. base salary for a vascular neurologist is $289,583, stating that the salary range falls between $235,533 and $360,920.

It’s important to know that when comparing  salary across various different websites, each one takes different things into consideration. For example, MGMA includes all sources of income that are included on a physician’s tax records, whilc Comparably and are looking at base salary only.

While vascular neurology is a subspecialty in its own right, it’s important to remember that you might be interested in going into a field closely related to stroke medicine, for which the average salaries might include:

  • Rehabilitation Medicine: $255,740, according to
  • Geriatric Medicine: $217,076, according to
  • Cardiology: $424,700, according to

With all this in mind, it’s important to be mindful of the various factors that will ultimately impact your pay. Knowing this will allow you to navigate topics like pay with greater ease. Here’s what you need to know.

Factors That Affect Stroke Medicine Salary

One factor that can play a role in compensation is the gender wage gap. The 2018 Medscape Physician Compensation report highlighted that male doctors earned approximately 18% more than female doctors, a gap that widens for specialists. This persisting issue is largely due to implicit biases, double standards, and a lack of transparency in compensation. Women in medicine should strategically time their requests, gather data from colleagues for transparency, and keep a record of their accomplishments to help them negotiate more effectively so that they’re compensated fairly.

However, one factor working in the favor of aspiring vascular neurologists is the current shortage of these specialists. Reports of a growing shortage of neurologists in general (but especially vascular neurologists) stretch back as far as 2013, echoing the sentiment that there won’t be enough specialists in stroke medicine to address the concerns and health problems of an aging population. Today, not much has changed, with Neurology Live reporting the same issue in 2022. If this is your field, you have much more sway over how much you’re compensated as a stroke doctor.

Another factor that will undoubtedly play a role in how much you’re looking to earn is student loan debt. While precise data for stroke doctors is scarce, estimates that the average medical school graduate leaves with approximately $203,062 in total education debt. While high salaries can serve to reduce some of this burden, medical students can also consider pursuing avenues like loan forgiveness and refinancing. We offer special rates for refinancing that you can take advantage of as well.

But if you’re looking to boost your salary in the face of all this, how do you make sure you’re earning what you’re worth?

How To Increase Stroke Medicine Salary

As an in-demand specialist, there are multiple ways for stroke doctors to increase their salary and start making more money immediately. One report published in 2002 found that many students in stroke medicine found two ways to boost their salaries: developing a private practice or going the one-year fellowship route. Those who choose a private practice can engage in strategies like investing directly in real estate and hiring NPs and PAs to manage less essential tasks. Meanwhile, the fellowship route helps aspiring physicians learn their craft far more quickly and effectively.

Of course, there are other methods that might be more suited to your needs, such as looking for signing bonuses, relocating to a state that pays substantially more, or getting additional certifications and education that enhance your value as a neurologist.

Read this: How Moving Can Help Physicians Pay Off Student Loans

How to Build a Retirement From Your Annual Salary

Planning for the future as a vascular neurologist involves more than just considering your salary. It also means thinking about how you will leverage said salary to help you work towards major life milestones like retirement. Learning how to build a retirement from your annual salary begins with understanding the many options at your disposal.

Employer-Offered Retirement Plans:

If you’re working for someone else, a retirement account is likely a part of your contract. Here are some of the retirement plans you might encounter or be able to negotiate as a vascular neurologist:

  • 401(k) Plan: A contribution plan where physicians can contribute pre-tax dollars from their salary. Employers may offer a matching contribution up to a certain percentage.
  • 403(b) Plan: Similar to a 401(k) but for employees of tax-exempt organizations like public schools, non-profits, and certain hospitals.
  • 457 Plan: Offered by many public-sector employers and some non-profits. It’s similar to a 401(k) or 403(b) but with differences in contribution limits and withdrawal rules.
  • SEP IRA (Simplified Employee Pension): Suitable for self-employed doctors or those with few employees. Employers make contributions to traditional IRAs set up for employees, with limits that are typically than standard IRAs.
  • SIMPLE IRA (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees): Allows both employer and employee contributions but has lower contribution limits than a SEP IRA.
  • Defined Benefit Plan or Pension Plan: A traditional pension plan that promises the employee a specified monthly benefit at retirement. The benefit might be an exact dollar amount or one that’s calculated by salary or years spent working.
  • Profit-Sharing Plan: Employers make discretionary contributions based on the company’s profits. These contributions are usually spread out among qualified physicians (based on their compensation).
  • Cash Balance Plan: A type of defined benefit plan that shares characteristics of a defined contribution plan. The benefit is determined based on a hypothetical account balance, which consists of employer contributions and a set interest rate.
  • Roth 401(k) or Roth 403(b): Similar to traditional 401(k) or 403(b) plans but contributions are made with after-tax dollars. Withdrawals in retirement, including gains, are tax-free.

Other Retirement Plan Options

Having a larger-than-average salary may mean that you will feel limited in how much you can save, especially in regard to retirement plans with set contribution limits. Fortunately, there are other ways to plan for the future. Here are a few additional options at your disposal.

  • Health Savings Account (HSA): HSAs can also function as a retirement savings tool when leveraged correctly. Funds in an HSA grow tax-free, and withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are tax-free. After age 65, one can withdraw funds for any reason without penalty, though income tax would apply to non-medical withdrawals.
  • Solo 401(k): For physicians who are self-employed or own their own practice without any employees. It allows for contributions both as an employer and an employee, potentially allowing larger annual contributions than a traditional 401(k).
  • Individual Stocks: Buying shares in individual companies with the intent of being able to sell or earn dividends. This method requires a deeper understanding of the stock market and individual company performance.
  • Bonds: Debt securities that pay periodic interest and return the principal at maturity. They can be government, municipal, or corporate bonds.
  • Mutual Funds: Pools of funds collected from many investors for the purpose of investing in stocks, bonds, or other assets.
  • Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs): Similar to mutual funds but they trade on stock exchanges much like individual stocks.

The more research you do, the more secure you’ll feel when it comes time to work toward retirement.

Tax Planning for Stroke Doctors

New vascular neurologists enjoy a substantial salary increase, but they also face new tax concerns. Navigating these means looking for tax-efficient ways to save, such as leveraging 529 plans to cope with future educational costs (which offers tax-free withdrawals and potential state tax benefits), taking advantage of HSAs to experience growth tax-free, and maxing out your employer-offered retirement plans. You should also take advantage of charitable deductions to optimize your tax savings. If all this sounds daunting, working with a professional tax planner will give you the support you need to ensure you’re taking all the right steps with your new salary.

Read our Book Review of Tax Free Wealth by Tom Wheelwright

How to Negotiate Your Salary As a Vascular Neurologist

Negotiating a contract can be daunting, but, as a specialist, you do have the ability to ask for more if you feel as though you’re not being paid what you’re worth.

Negotiating your salary is critical to getting what you deserve while you’re helping others. But how exactly do you negotiate your salary?

Stroke doctors can successfully negotiate their salary by:

  • Preparing for the Initial Job Search: Before negotiations happen, you need to be informed about how much people in your field are earning, especially when it comes to the average pay in your city or state. Know how much you bring to the table, and pad your resume with accomplishments and certifications to use as leverage when it comes time to negotiate.
  • Using the Right Tactics: Sitting at the bargaining table and getting the contract you want depends entirely on the strategy you employ. You can make this happen by starting with a range rather than providing a hyper-specific number that doesn’t leave room for negotiation, giving yourself space to really think about a contract and also pressure the hospital into re-thinking their strategy to get you onboard faster, and knowing what you won’t accept so you can seek out better pay and benefits elsewhere.

With all this in mind, not all stroke doctors are willing to negotiate their contracts. This is why it’s never a bad idea to reach out to an experienced attorney that can help you negotiate with confidence. Reach out to Physicians Thrive for a contract review – we can give you the support you need before you sign anything. A good contract review will include unlimited consultations, a benefits review, compensation audits, and fast assistance, all of which we offer.

The Importance of Disability Insurance for Stroke Doctors

You’ve done an immense amount of work to get up to this point in your medical career, and you don’t want to lose it all at once. But it’s, unfortunately, always a risk that comes with the job.

The reality of a higher income is that there’s a lot more to lose if you’re suddenly cut off from the money you should be earning, such as is the case when you become injured or sick on the job. This is why all aspiring stroke doctors should be focused on getting the right disability insurance to protect their income.

Considering that, when you start shopping around for a policy, you will need to consider several factors. One of the biggest considerations is between choosing group disability policies and individual policies. Here’s a breakdown of the two to help you better understand your options.

Group Disability Insurance Advantages

  • Employers subsidize group plans, often making them more affordable.
  • Plans typically do not require medical examinations for coverage

Group Disability Insurance Disadvantages

  • Coverage is not portable; leaving a job means losing the insurance.
  • Plans are not customizable and the employer determines the plan
  • Costs can change at any time, potentially leading to surprise premium hikes or reduced coverage.
  • Payouts usually only consider the base salary, ignoring other potential income sources.
  • There is no partial disability coverage.
  • The definition of disability is often strict, making claim eligibility challenging and potentially excluding certain disabilities from coverage.
  • If an employer pays the premium, the benefits received are taxable.

Individual Disability Insurance Advantages

  • Policies are portable and provide coverage across jobs or during job gaps.
  • Policies are customizable, allowing tailored coverage levels, definitions, and exclusions.
  • Additional riders can extend coverage in specific circumstances.
  • It covers all income types, not just the base salary, ensuring higher payouts during disabilities.
  • Benefits received are tax-free.
  • Premiums are consistent throughout the policy term.
  • All offsets, including those from group policies and Social Security Disability Insurance, are negotiable.

Individual Disability Insurance Disadvantages

  • Individual policies are more expensive than group policies due to the comprehensive protection they offer.

Overall, individual disability insurance policies are often the best. Even though group policies may be more convenient, individual policies offer far more benefits and protection throughout the duration of your career.


Stroke doctors undergo a host of training and education to provide the value that they do, and they deserve fair compensation as a result.

Use the stroke doctor salary data above and salary strategies to make sure you have what you need to receive the compensation you deserve, and subscribe to our email newsletter for expert tips about finances, insurance, employment contracts, and more!

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