Here's the moment we've all been waiting for, the latest update on how much money anesthesiologists make. The numbers are courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Survey. The numbers are derived from data gathered in May 2011. The BLS has determined that anesthesiologists make the highest salary in America. The average anesthesiologist makes $234,950 a year. That works out to $112.96 per hour. The yearly salary is an increase of $15,000 over last year. For comparison, my previous post about the BLS survey conducted in May 2009 showed anesthesiologists averaged $211,750. The average hourly pay was $101.80.
The second highest paying job in America was general surgery. They averaged $231,550 per year, an increase of $6,000 from 2010. The hourly wage works out to $111.32. Filling out the top five are OB/GYN with $218,610; Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery with $217,380; and Orthodontists who made $204,670.
Looks like anesthesiologists are still doing pretty well in these tough economic times. Not only are we the highest paying profession in the country, we are pulling away from the number two surgeons. Plus we are among the happiest doctors you'll meet in the hospital. Meanwhile the sad sack surgeons are wallowing in self pity. In a Medscape poll, 29% of surgeons reported their incomes dropped in 2011, with 19% of them making less than $100,000 a year, twice the number who reported that income in 2010. It's no wonder 57% of them are unhappy with their compensation. Less than half of surgeons would choose medicine if they had to start all over again. More disheartening, less than one fifth said they would work in the same practice again. Is it any wonder more surgeons are turning to alcohol abuse to alleviate their suffering?
But we shouldn't dump on our surgical colleagues. We should just revel in our good fortune to be in one of the best jobs in the U.S. How much longer this good fortune will last is impossible to say. With all the changes in medicine coming, with or without Obamacare, the outlook for the medical profession is particularly cloudy. So let's just enjoy the moment while it lasts. Congratulations to all the hardworking anesthesiologists out there. You're doing good!