By Joe Dyton, WCI Contributor
Physicians fared better financially in 2022 than they did during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic but were not as fortunate when it came to avoiding long hours, demanding workloads, and tough situations, according to the 2022 Medscape Dermatologist Compensation Report.
In 2022, Medscape surveyed more than 13,000 employed physicians in more than 29 specialties. They shared information such as their 2021 compensation from patient care services, including their salary, bonuses, and profit sharing. Only full-time physicians’ compensation was analyzed for the survey. Respondents also shared how they felt about their respective medical specialties, factors that impacted their income, and more. Keep reading to learn more about the income of dermatologists and how they answered Medscape’s 2022 survey.
Dermatologists Average Salary
Dermatologists earned $438,000 on average last year—seventh among the medical specialist categories that were surveyed. While dermatologists earned a good salary, perhaps the better news was their most recent average annual income was up from Medscape’s prior report where dermatologists reported earning an average annual income of $394,000.
“Compensation for most physicians is trending back up as demand for physicians accelerates,” James Taylor, group president and chief operating officer of AMN Healthcare’s Physician and Leadership Solutions division, said. “The market for physicians has done a complete 180 over just seven or eight months.”
Is Dermatologists’ Income Rising?
Dermatologists saw an 11% jump in their average salaries from the year prior—good for third among the specialties that took part in the survey. The survey increase was much needed as inflation in the U.S. went up 4.7% last year, impacting physicians’ purchasing power across the board.
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What Competition Affects Dermatologists’ Income?
A little more than 40% of the dermatology survey respondents pointed to non-physician practitioners as the competitors that affect their income the most. Such practitioners include:
- Physician assistants
- Nurse practitioners
Other competitors who cut into dermatologists’ bottom line included physicians or insurers that conduct telemedicine (18%), “minute clinics,” and big box store medical clinics such as Walgreens and CVS. More than half of the respondents (52%) said that these noted competitors had not affected their income.
Do Dermatologists Feel Fairly Compensated?
Great news for aspiring dermatologists: a majority of those who took part in Medscape’s survey said they felt they were fairly compensated for their work (64%). This was the fifth-highest satisfaction rate among the medical specialties surveyed. Public health and preventative medicine topped this category with 72% of respondents saying they were happy with their compensation.
“For physicians, the dollar figure may influence job satisfaction less than the methods used to calculate it,” Taylor said. “Production bonuses that effectively penalize physicians for seeing relatively sick patients or that track quality measures that don’t seem relevant or meaningful can backfire. That’s one reason we’re seeing a decline in salary plus production bonus and an increase in straight salary.”
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What Is the Most Rewarding Part of a Dermatologist’s Job?
Not surprisingly, being good at their job was what most respondents found to be the most rewarding part of their profession (36%). Gratitude/relationships with patients was next closest at 26%, but the thought of making the world a better place (12%) continues to move up physicians’ priority list, according to Medscape.
The Medscape survey is not the end-all and be-all of physician salary data. There are other sources out there, and our recommended contract review firms use them to help ensure you are getting paid what you're worth. Other average salary numbers you can find from surveys done about the same time as the Medscape survey include:
- MGMA: $522,983
- AAMC: $366,000 (this survey only includes academics)
- Doximity: $476,263
- Merritt Hawkins: $378,000
- AMGA: $498,381
Increasing Your Physician Income
One of the most important things that you can do to earn more for your work is to negotiate your pay and the terms of your contract. Many doctors wind up with bad contracts that leave them improperly compensated, facing high costs and non-compete agreements that restrict their future opportunities.
If you’re negotiating a new contract, The White Coat Investor has a list of vetted attorneys and law firms to work with to make sure you get a good deal.
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