It is no surprise that doctors are remunerated for their hard work and dedication, but what is the average doctor’s salary you may be wondering?
With more than 340,000 UK-registered doctors recorded in 2021, it is clearly still a popular profession not just in the UK but worldwide. Whilst the higher salaries are likely to be an influential factor for many, there are also many other reasons why people look to qualify as a doctor. These include having a desire to help patients, satisfying a high drive for learning, and having a guaranteed variety within work.
At The Future Medic, we support students looking to secure places to study medicine. This means we also get asked frequently about the associated salary and benefits of choosing this fast-paced profession. Carry on reading to learn some of our insights into what you can expect to get paid as a doctor.
Why Do Doctors Commend a High Salary?
Did you know that specialist doctors are amongst the highest earning salaries in the world? The average salary for an Anaesthesiologist is $331,190, which is thought to be the highest-paid professional job. With such a high worth comes huge amounts of responsibilities, so it is important to mention that becoming a doctor is not an easy task. These points should also be considered when people are wondering why doctors are paid so highly.
Depending on the area of speciality that is chosen, it can take as long as six years to complete medical training, which doesn’t include the time spent working towards getting into medical school in the first place. The quickest route to becoming a doctor is to train as a general practitioner (GP) which will still take at least four years of training and medical placements. That is one of the reasons that salaries are high is because it can take a fair few years of effort to start reaping the financial benefits of having studied so hard.
Being a doctor also brings long shifts and unsociable working hours, with patients needing care 24/7, 365 days a year. The European Working Time Directive states that the average working week for doctors should be no longer than 48 hours with at least one day off per week. In the UK, the average number of hours worked outside the medical professional is currently 36.4 hours. This means doctors are working longer than most other professions which is an image echoed around the rest of the world.
Finally, even though the profession is gratifying, it can, of course, be stressful. A study by the British Medical Journal found that one-third of doctors reported being ill or stressed at some point because of workplace demands. Given their position of authority, constant need to make decisions, difficult patient ethical choices, and the general mental strength needed to carry out everyday demands, we can understand why.
These reasons don’t mean it is bad being a doctor. In fact, it is a hugely rewarding career that offers an amazing way of life and many further opportunities for the right people. This is why the UCAT exam is included with the application process for medical schools, as it helps ensure that anyone successful has the right skills and strengths to make it in such a demanding career.
What Is the Average Doctor’s Salary Based on Experience and Qualification Level in the UK?
The NHS offers clear pay bands for all staff, making it easy to see how much you can expect to be paid when you are a UK-based doctor. This system allows a clear indication of entry salary and what individuals stand to earn from being a long-serving professional. For most, additional hours are not paid in extra and are instead used as time in lieu. However, junior doctors who are still in training are paid a basic salary which covers 40 hours per week, with any additional hours worked being subject to other enhancements. Additional pay will also depend on the individual practices.
The Average Doctor’s Salary With the NHS as of 2022
Junior Doctor’s Average Salary – £29,384 – £34,012 for foundation training levels or £40,257 – £53,398 for doctors who are starting speciality training. This covers all forms of training and often requires several places to take place within different locations to ensure that all study needs have been met.
Speciality Doctor’s Average Salary – The basic salary for a speciality doctor is £50,373 to £78,759. This covers professionals such as psychologists, Gynaecologists, and Paediatricians.
A&E Doctor’s Average Salary – A&E doctors are made up of a mix of specialists and assigned doctors to the ward and they command an average salary of £70,000. The highest-paid city in the UK for A&E doctors is London where professionals can earn as much as 12% more than the national average.
Speciality Grade Doctor’s Average Salary – A new form of speciality doctor payments was announced in 2021 as a way to provide better-defined pay for more senior specialists. This banding commands a basic salary of £80,693 to £91,584, which of course, rises the longer that a professional has been qualified.
Consultant – The basic salary for an NHS consultant is £88,364 to £119,133, which also depends on the length of service. This pay is relevant to anyone who has been given a contract since 2003, with the highest salary available for professionals who have completed more than nineteens years of service.
GPs – Salaried NHS GPs can earn £65,070 to £98,194 if employed after the 1st of April 2022. Going down this medical route offers lots of different opportunities as GPs have the option to run multiple surgeries meaning they can earn as much as £200,000 per year. This balance of both private and NHS is often adopted by surgeries that choose to employ professionals as paying partners who also have a share in the practice.
Do UK Private Doctors Earn More?
You may be surprised to learn that private doctors within the UK have a basic salary that is very close to that of their NHS counterparts. The UK is unique in having the NHS, meaning our opportunities for doctors differ from other countries.
The reason that a UK doctor may choose to work within a private field instead of an NHS one could be any:
- To provide them with access to higher budgets and fewer decision-making processes.
- To expand their skills in past medical procedures in the cosmetic surgery industry.
- If they want to manage their own private practice.
Whichever route you decide to go down, the basis of your academic studies remains the same so it is important to ensure you are doing things right now to make for more opportunities in your future!
Which Countries Pay the Most and Least for Doctors?
Salaries for doctors differ all over the world. The highest-paid country to work in is Luxembourg, which offers average salaries of £248,000 for GPs and £314,000 for specialists. This is closely followed by the USA, Belgium, and Germany, which also pay higher salaries for medical professionals. The lowest paid salary for doctors is said to be in Cuba, in which doctors only make around $50 per week. The UK does offer some of the best-paid roles and is also desirable for doctors as it offers the benefit of being one of the quickest routes to being a fully trained doctor out of all educational processes.
How Can You Elevate Your Earnings as a Doctor in the UK?
Whilst we have covered what salaries you can expect to earn as a UK-based doctor, the profession offers lots of progressions, so it is up to you how high your earnings are. At The Future Medic, we think a strong foundation in your career is key to achieving greatness!
Our top tips for managing your path to earning the salary that you wish to command as a doctor as the following:
- Ensure you pass your UCAT exam the first time so as not to delay your entry to medical school. As we have covered, the process for qualifying is lengthy, so every delay you incur during your training will affect how quickly you can start earning the highest salaries.
- When you are choosing where to study, take into account which country you wish to train in. It is not the case that training is the same across the board, so if you choose to train for your medical qualifications somewhere different to where you intended to practice, you may run into issues. We believe that the UK offers the best training opportunities for medical professionals, which the USA and Germany closely follow.
- You will be able to earn more money if you specialise in certain areas of medicine, so if you are salary-led, you should use this to make your study choices. The top paying medical fields that you can specialise in are Cardiology, Anaesthesia, Neurology, Urology, and Dermatology.
Are you ready to start your journey to commanding a high doctor’s salary? If so, we can help you secure a spot at the medical school of your choice to start your career the right way! Contact us today to find out more.