By Phil West, WCI Contributor
Though the pandemic brought about challenges up and down the US economy, including for doctors, indications are that physicians are faring well in this landscape. Physician salaries have been increasing, and more recent data that looked at how some specialties, including neurologists, are faring show additional encouraging signs.
In its survey, Medscape collected data from more than 13,000 physicians in more than 29 different specialties. If you're in medical school and are thinking about a career in neurology, this can provide helpful data to understand what you can expect. Here's what the data for neurologist salaries says.
Neurologist Average Salary
A 2022 Medscape report, reviewing how much neurologists make, shows modest gains in average salary from the year prior—placing it above the $300,000 per year mark. But just barely. Overall, neurologists saw a 4% uptick in what they made from the previous year, and though COVID-19 had its continuing impact on the profession as a whole, Medscape also reported that doctors experienced a “180” from the fall of 2021, reflecting the general trend toward less trepidation about interaction.
Here's what the Medscape salary chart looks like.
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Is Neurologist Income Rising?
Though the salaries for neurologists are in the lower half of the specialties listed in the chart above, their income is rising. And the prognosis for neurology as a career moving into the future is strong. Several job recruiting resource sites, including Zippia.com and Recruiter.com, project appreciable growth and demand for neurologist positions between now and the end of the decade.
While you can see that neurology salaries increased, the actual percentage increase, much like the overall salary, is in the lower half of the specialties that were studied. Plus, the annual inflation rate during the surveyed period was 4.7%, meaning that with higher-than-normal inflation, the average purchasing power for neurologists actually decreased as compared to the previous year.
Do Neurologists Have Incentive Bonuses?
Like many of the other specialties, neurologists do, in fact, have incentive bonuses. But in what has become a theme of this survey, neurologists are still making less than many of their colleagues in other lines of work. In even more discouraging news, neurologists made smaller bonuses than they did in 2021 when they averaged about $39,000.
Meanwhile, about 40% of neurologists take on extra work to make more money. The overall physician average for those who do extra work is 36%.
Do Neurologists Feel Fairly Compensated?
Knowing what you now know about how neurologists stack up salary-wise with their colleagues, the answer to that question isn't difficult to ascertain. According to Medscape, only about 50% of neurologists feel fairly compensated.
Here's something to think about, though. Even the lowest-paid neurologist still makes much more money than the average US worker. But it'll still be tough for the average neurologist to have the kind of lavish life that a plastic surgeon or a cardiologist could afford to live. You don't get a pass on math. The less you make and the more of your income that you spend, the longer it will take to reach your financial goals.
But remember that a neurologist family still will have enough income that, if managed well, will provide a wonderful life during their career and still allow for retirement at traditional retirement age without ever feeling financially deprived.
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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 neurology salary numbers you can find from surveys done about the same time as the Medscape survey include:
- MGMA: $355,599
- AAMC: $263,000 (this survey only includes academics)
- Doximity: $303,000
- Merritt Hawkins: $332,000
- AMGA: $325,278
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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