Working in the medical profession means doing one of the most gruelling and high-pressure jobs in the world, often with long hours and testing situations as a standard part of the day.
But because of its challenges and the level of expertise required to become a medical professional, the field is also one of the highest paid, with many specialists earning generous six-figure annual salaries and enjoying a luxury lifestyle to match.
The global pandemic has highlighted an increased need for highly-skilled doctors, surgeons and other high-level medics, and due to the pressures the Covid-19 outbreak has put on health services around the world, people to fill such roles are more highly sought-after than ever.
Medical school typically takes around seven years to complete, and getting in in the first place, of course, is no mean feat. In the UK, you must have passed all science A Levels at A grade, while in Canada and the US, passing the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is essential to be eligible to apply for a graduate course in medicine. MCAT prep courses are a helpful way to ensure you are up to speed if you live or plan to work in one of these countries.
So, whether you’re on your way to medical school or considering a career change, the good news is that this is one area where the jobs market remains strong. Fancy earning yourself a salary fit for a king? Then look no further – because these four positions are the best paid in the field.
Neurosurgery is the highest paid specialism in the medical profession due to the delicate nature of the work required and the in-depth knowledge and expertise needed to get it right.
To become a neurosurgeon and work with patients who are suffering from brain-related illness or injury, expertise on the spinal cord, nervous system – and of course, the brain – is essential. The role includes performing all manner of potentially risky surgeries, including tumour removal, back surgery and treatment for strokes, degenerative diseases, epilepsy and seizures.
It’s not an easy job, but someone has to do it – and those who do are rewarded handsomely. The average salary for a neurosurgeon in the UK is around £100k, and in Canada, that rises to $112k, but in the US, you could be looking at an immensely generous salary of circa $610k.
Ever heard the expression about holding a life in your hands? For nobody is this truer than an invasive cardiologist. Specialising in heart health, they complete open or minimally-invasive surgery to identify or treat structural or electrical abnormalities within the heart structure, including angioplasties – where a balloon is inserted into a tiny vein to push plaque build-up against artery walls and increase blood flow – and stenting.
If you think you can handle the pressure and responsibility of a role like this, then in the UK, you can earn over £230k annually in the UK. In Canada, you can expect to bring in around $230k, while in the US, this rises to an average of $525k.
Specialising in the treatment of the musculoskeletal system, an orthopaedic surgeon works on the spine, extremities and related structures. This includes treating patients who have suffered injuries in trauma or who are dealing with congenital conditions and infections, as well as the likes of progressive degenerative conditions and cancer.
There are numerous sub-specialities within orthopaedic surgery, which allow professionals to focus on particular sets of conditions – from broken bones to joint replacements, tendon repair and tumour removal.
In the UK, salaries for orthopaedic surgeons average around £92k, while in Canada, it’s $230k. In the US, this climbs significantly to $497k.
Ranked within the top five highest paying jobs in the medical profession by both Medscape and Forbes, gastroenterologists make a tidy sum for their complex yet interesting work.
Focusing on disorders related to the digestive system, their area of expertise spans all elements, including from the oesophagus through to the stomach, and all the way down to the bowels. Other organs within the abdominal cavity – such as the liver, gallbladder and pancreas – may also sometimes fall under a gastroenterologist’s remit, depending on the condition concerned.
This specialism includes the diagnosis and treatment of conditions including heartburn and acid reflux, peptic ulcers and pain, as well as cancers of the digestive organs. They also carry out minimally invasive procedures like endoscopies, which allow doctors to see the gastrointestinal organs.
The average UK and Canadian salaries for a gastroenterologist stands at around £75k and $242k respectively, while specialists in the US can rake in close to $455k.
One thing is for certain; the medical field is not for the faint-hearted – but those who are willing to devote their life to healthcare can expect to be rewarded generously for their time, knowledge and highly south-after skill set. It may take many years to become qualified for one of these positions, but the job satisfaction and six-figure salary you’ll enjoy will no doubt be worth the effort.