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Want a Higher Salary? Become a Surgeon in North Carolina
New research shows medical wage disparities across the states

 

Click here to see an Excel spreadsheet that breaks down each doctor's salary per U.S. state.
Click here to see an Excel spreadsheet that breaks down each doctor's salary per U.S. state.


It’s little surprise that surgeons rank higher than their peers when it comes to medical salaries, but new research shows the massive differences between the states. While a general surgeon in North Carolina earns a mean average of $233,560, the same practitioner would earn $185,360 in New York – a massive difference of around $48k.

Yet that’s not to say that North Carolina is the best place for professionals across the board. Audiologists and nurses lose out in the state, earning 10.1% and 11.5% less respectively than the national average for their professions.

The Golden State earns its name

Based on figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, across the 11 medical sectors studied California seems to offer the best wages overall with a 10.5% increase on the national mean average. Registered nurses in particular see the biggest difference here, earning a huge 27.9% more than the average ($85,080 over $66,530). The only medical workers to lose out in California are doctors and optometrists, who both earn between 3-5% less than the national average.

Fewer winners in Vermont

Conversely, in Vermont there is an across the board drop of 14.6% against the national average for the professions surveyed. Out of the eleven, pharmacists are the only workers who earn above average – and only 1.9% more, at that. All other professions lose out in Vermont; doctors earn $133,020 which is just over a fifth less than the U.S. average. The news is worse for pediatricians and psychiatrists; they can expect to earn 26.1% and 28% less than average.

Dentists and Optometrists– location really matters

Dentists see the biggest difference between earnings across America – while the national mean average equates to $156,850, a dentist in Kentucky stands to earn an average of only $89,020, while those in New Hampshire earn almost three times more at $244,990. Those working in Georgia and Hawaii are also estimated to have salaries above the $200k mark (curiously, doctors, pharmacists, optometrists and psychiatrists are all worse off in these states).

Optometrists also experience a lot of variance across the states. With the national average standing at $106,960, an optometrist would suffer in Montana where the average works out at $61,380. The figures suggest Louisiana holds more prospects – at 33.3% above the national average, the average salary here is $142,550.

Surgeons fairly safe

Surgeons appear to have the most consistent salaries across the country in terms of percentage variance, but with the average salary for a general surgeon standing at $219,770, it’s needless to say that the small percentage changes make a large difference. Nevertheless, while dentists’ salaries can be as high as 40% above or below the national average depending on state, a surgeon’s wages drop no more than 15.7% below the average (in New York) and rise no more than 6.3% above the average in North Carolina.

Pharmacists come in at a close second in variance stability, as the difference between the best and worst states equates to $26,470.

U.S. National Mean Salaries by Profession

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Best and worst states – a breakdown

Doctor/physician

Best state (difference against U.S. mean):
Arkansas - $206,030 (22.2%)
Worst state (difference against U.S. mean):
Vermont - $133,020 (-21.5%)

General Surgeon

Best state (difference against U.S. mean):
North Carolina - $233,560 (6.3%)
Worst state (difference against U.S. mean):
New York - $185,360 (-15.7%)

Anesthesiologist

Best state (difference against U.S. mean):
Ohio - $228,800 (8.1%)
Worst state (difference against U.S. mean):
Nebraska - $151,810 (-28.3%)

Psychiatrist

Best state (difference against U.S. mean):
Oregon - $219,450 (34.1%)
Worst state (difference against U.S. mean):
Illinois – $97,400 (-40.5.8%)

Pediatrician

Best state (difference against U.S. mean):
Iowa- $206,390 (27.7%)
Worst state (difference against U.S. mean):
Vermont – $115,980 (-28%)

Registered Nurse

Best state (difference against U.S. mean):
California - $85,080 (27.9%)
Worst state (difference against U.S. mean):
West Virginia – $53,030 (-20.3%)

Physical Therapist

Best state (difference against U.S. mean):
Alaska - $87,410 (14.7 %)
Worst state (difference against U.S. mean):
Hawaii – $56,990 (-25.2%)

Pharmacist

Best state (difference against U.S. mean):
California - $117,080 (9.8%)
Worst state (difference against U.S. mean):
North Dakota – $90,610(-15%)

Dentist

Best state (difference against U.S. mean):
New Hampshire - $244,990 (56.2%)
Worst state (difference against U.S. mean):
Kentucky – $89,020 (-43.2%)

Optometrist

Best state (difference against U.S. mean):
Louisiana - $142,550 (33.3%)
Worst state (difference against U.S. mean):
Montana – $61,380 (-42.6%)

Audiologist

Best state (difference against U.S. mean):
New Jersey - $92,150 (37.8%)
Worst state (difference against U.S. mean):
Arizona – $52,060 (-22.1%)

 

Click here to see an Excel spreadsheet that breaks down each doctor's salary per U.S. state.

Click here to see an Excel spreadsheet that breaks down each doctor's salary per U.S. state.