Dan MillerBy Dan Miller, WCI Contributor

Depending on your medical specialty, there can be a wide range of physician incomes. Some physicians make significantly more than those in other specialties. While even doctors on the low end of the medical pay spectrum have a higher-than-average income, being a doctor also comes with higher-than-average costs, including malpractice insurance and paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans.

Medscape gathered data from more than 13,000 physicians in more than 29 different specialties and created a 2022 Compensation Report for Rheumatologists along with many other medical specialties. In this report, rheumatologists shared specifics about their compensation, bonuses, and incentives, and they answered questions about whether they felt adequately compensated. If you are considering rheumatology as a career, you'll want to be aware of this information so you can make an informed decision.


Rheumatologist Average Salary

According to the Medscape report, the average salary for rheumatologists is $289,000. While there are several medical specialties with lower average salaries, rheumatology was significantly behind the top-earning medical specialties such as plastic surgery and orthopedics in terms of average salary. Rheumatologists, like the vast majority of physicians, have an income that is significantly above the median US income. With solid financial planning and management, a rheumatologist should have plenty of money to live comfortably and retire at a traditional age.


how much do rheumatologists earn


Is Rheumatologist Income Rising?

In addition to having an income below many other medical specialties, on average, rheumatologists' income is not increasing as fast as that of other specialties. According to the Medscape survey, rheumatologists had a 4% average increase in their income in 2022. That was below average compared to the salary increases of other medical specialties.


rheumatologists income rising falling

The annual inflation rate during 2021 was 4.7%—so although the average rheumatologist had their stated income increase, their overall purchasing power dropped when compared to the previous year.


Do Rheumatologists Feel Fairly Compensated?

Although rheumatologists are on the low side in terms of overall earnings, that doesn't necessarily translate to feelings of being inadequately compensated. Sixty percent of rheumatologists say they feel fairly compensated, according to the Medscape survey. That is on the high side of the different medical specialties, and it's a higher percentage than many specialties that have a higher gross income.


rheumatologists fairly compensated


Other Sources

rheumatologist income average

The Medscape survey can be an important indicator of physician opinions and data for various specialties, but it's not the only source of data you can use to help make decisions when choosing your medical specialty. You can also use our recommended contract review firms to help make sure you are getting paid what you're worth. Here is a look at the average rheumatologist salary income from a few other sources:

  • MGMA: $300,508
  • AAMC: $239,000 (this survey only includes academics)
  • Doximity: $303,511


Increasing Your Physician Income

There is a wide range of salaries, even within rheumatology, so it's important that you negotiate your pay and the terms of your contract before you sign. If you don't adequately negotiate, you may end up with a contract that leaves you underpaid. Rheumatologists that don't sufficiently negotiate may be improperly compensated, an they may face 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 you can work with to help make sure you get a good deal.


Did you know our White Coat Investors Facebook Group has more than 89,000 members? Get social with us and join the conversation today!


The White Coat Investor is filled with posts like this, whether it’s increasing your financial literacy, showing you the best strategies on your path to financial success, or discussing the topic of mental wellness. To discover just how much The White Coat Investor can help you in your financial journey, start here to read some of our most popular posts and to see everything else WCI has to offer. And if you're inspired to build a sturdy financial foundation, make sure to sign up for our WCI 101 email series.