Doctors here make $472,000

doctor salaries

Doctors make a much better living than most Americans.

But with student debt loads that can easily climb well into six figures, it makes a big difference whether you're earning $200,000 or closer to $500,000.

Turns out there's a big disparity in what primary care physicians and specialists can make depending on where they practice ... and their gender.

Doximity, a kind of LinkedIn for white coats, conducted an anonymous salary survey taken by 35,000 of its more than 500,000 members.

Here are some key takeaways:

Women make less than men

There's still a gender pay gap in medicine, even though a third of all physicians are now women and they make up half of this year's graduating medical students, according to Doximity.

Its survey found the biggest gaps in ophthalmology. Men earned 36% -- or about $95,000 a year -- more than their female counterparts. The story is similar among cardiologists: Men made 29% -- or about $97,000 a year -- more than women.

The reported pay gap was narrowest for anesthesiologists (12%), radiologists (13%) and family practitioners (14%).

Big-time cities don't always make for the biggest bucks

New York and Boston are meccas of world renowned medical schools and teaching hospitals. That may help explain why reported salaries there are less than many other areas of the country. For instance, in New York, physicians in internal medicine pull down $234,000 a year, or about $14,000 less than national average. One theory is that many doctors in those cities go into academic medicine, which typically pays less.

Meanwhile, the most desirable cities where doctors like to work -- Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. -- are also among the lowest paying. In fact, the average salary for primary care physicians in D.C. ranked last, coming in 17% below the national average.

There's money to be made in the Midwest

On average, states in the heartland pay handsomely relative to other places. Minnesota and Indiana, for instance, offer specialists average salaries that are 13% above the national average. And states like Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota are among the highest paying.

Here are the highest and lowest paying states for both primary care physicians (e.g. internal medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN) and for specialists:

Highest for primary care physicians:

1. Arkansas - $330,000

2. South Dakota - $305,000

3. Iowa - $305,000

Lowest for primary care physicians:

49. Delaware - $218,000

50. West Virginia - $205,000

51. District of Columbia - $192,000

Highest for specialists:

1. North Dakota - $472,000

2. Wyoming - $433,000

3. Idaho - $429,000

Lowest for specialists:

49. Vermont - $299,000

50. District of Columbia - $298,000

51. Rhode Island - $291,000

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