From the busybodies over at Medscape, here's their latest survey for salaries of anesthesiologists. (Registration required) According to this report, the average anesthesiologist reported an income of $337,000 in 2012. That is pretty darn good. We are ranked 6th out of all medical fields. The only docs who make more money are orthopedists, cardiologists, radiologists, gastroenterologists, and urologists. However, the relative position is trending down from previous years when anesthesiologists were ranked third in 2010 and fourth in 2011. About 11% of all anesthesiologists made over $500,000 while 6% earned less than $100,000.
The study said that 46% of anesthesiologists reported making the same income as the year before while 21% made more and 33% made less. As usual, male physicians made more money, with the guys earning $347,000 while the gals made $300,000. But we've already gone over the reasons why women make less money in medicine than men. And it has nothing to do with discrimination.
Where you live is also a factor in how much money you will make. If you want to make the most money possible, start thinking about living in the north plains states like the Dakotas, Nebraska, and down to Kansas and Missouri. The anesthesiologists there on average make $383,000. It is thought that they make the most money because there are fewer doctors and less managed care in the region. Plus that high income will go much further with their lower cost of living. By contrast, if you want to live in the Golden State of California, you will earn the least income in the entire country, $318,000. And you'll face the highest income taxes, the highest sales taxes, the most expensive real estate, and the worst traffic in the country. But hey, you can always go to the beach and order a few mojitos to drown out your sorrows.
Anesthesiologists in general feel good about their field. Fifty-five percent say they are fairly compensated while only 45% say they are not. If you want to look at a disgruntled group of doctors, just take a peek over the ether screen. Fully 58% of general surgeons feel they are not fairly compensated. But with an average income of "only" $279,000, nearly $60,000 less than anesthesiologists, who could blame them.
One nice perk about being an anesthesiologist is that we don't have too much paperwork to deal with. We usually need to fill out only three forms on each patient: the preop note and orders, the anesthesia record, and the postop note and orders. We are far less burdened than other specialties. Over a third of all anesthesiologists spend only 1-4 hours per week on paperwork. On the other hand, primary care fields like Family Medicine report only 17% of their colleagues devote 1-4 hours per week. About one third of surgeons spend 10-14 hours per week on papers.
Why do anesthesiologists like their jobs? About 35% report that they like being very good at what they do. Another 20% like the feeling of gratitude from their patients. That is low compared to all other doctors who report feeling the love from patients 31% of the time. Of course since anesthesiologists only meet their patients for about five minutes before a procedure, it's no wonder we don't get some of that recognition.
So there you go, the latest reminder of why anesthesiology is such a great field. We already know what most people suspect, that anesthesiologists lead a great lifestyle. Our income, while dropping relative to a few others, is still great. And if you work in the right location, can be astronomical. There isn't much to complain about this year. May all of you have another prosperous year to report to Medscape when they come soliciting for information again next year.