Are doctors paid hourly or as a salary

Salary comparison of doctors: how much does a doctor earn?

It should be no secret that as a doctor you usually don't live on the poverty line. Is it possible to say in general how much you earn as a doctor? Here comes our big salary comparison.

The medical profession was in the portal's latest evaluation gehalt.deto be found again in the top positions one and two. There is no doubt that doctors are among the top earners in Germany. But how meaningful is the ranking? And how big is the gap between the individual specialist areas?

The medical profession in comparison: the best paid job in Germany?

The online portal evaluated more than 200,000 salary data in August 2017. The result: No one else earns more on average than the doctors. That's how it is Senior physician again in first place landed.

Last year, at around 117,000 euros, no other job without personnel responsibility brought in more than that of the senior physician. The specialists landed directly behind with an annual income of around 78,000 euros.

But the statistics should be treated with caution. As we shall see below, the doctors' salaries differ considerably. The reason for this are several factors that can be divided into three categories.

  1. The career ladder: Nobody will immediately take up the post of chief physician after their license to practice medicine. There is a long way from the student to the assistant doctor to the specialist and finally to the senior physician. The salaries of the individual doctors differ massively.

  2. Hospital or doctor's office: Anyone who is employed as a doctor in the hospital receives a fixed salary. It is completely different with general practitioners. If they are self-employed, they generate a more or less high annual turnover, from which they have to deduct considerable costs for the maintenance of the practice such as rent, ancillary costs, personnel costs, material costs, etc. Only then is there (hopefully) a profit left, from which you still have to bear all social security costs alone.
    Another possibility is that of the Honorary doctor, we will inform you in detail in this article.

  3. The subject: Depending on the specialization, different amounts of money can be expected for the doctor both in the hospital and in the doctor's office. The salary can vary widely between dermatologists, surgeons, and neurologists.

Also where you work, can be crucial for your salary. It can still be observed that doctors in western Germany earn significantly more than their colleagues in the new federal states.

From medical student to chief physician: The salary development in the hospital

Anyone who is interested in studying medicine and opting for the medical profession has a long way to go. Already the waiting periodto start studying, is between five and seven years.

With a Standard period of study of six years medicine is also one of the longest courses in Germany. So the first thing to do is to bridge a long period of time without a salary.

Then the licensed doctor is faced with what is probably the most important choice of his career: Doctor's office or hospital? No matter which path is taken, the Further training to become a specialist everyone has to go through. This can be done either in the hospital or in the practice of a general practitioner.

In the hospital, the career path after the license to practice medicine leads through the assistant doctor to the specialist, to the senior doctor and finally to the chief physician. How much the individual doctors earn also depends on the numerous collective agreements concluded in Germany. On average, however, the following values ​​can be determined:

Assistant doctor


Senior physician

chief doctor

65,000 - 68,000 euros gross p.a.

78,000 - 85,000 euros gross p.a.

114,000 - 120,000 euros gross p.a.

279,000 - 285,000 euros gross p.a.

A Hourly wages can only be determined very unreliably at these points. Even if the collective bargaining agreements only provide for weekly working hours of 40 hours, many doctors work significantly more, sometimes even up to 60 hours per week.

Sales and profit: how much do general practitioners earn?

It is much more difficult to calculate a salary for a general practitioner. They are faced with the demanding task of building a company after deducting expenses from their income Annual surplus to earn, which they often use to continue investing in the doctor's office.

The publishes reliable data on this Federal Statistical Office regularly in the Cost structure for medical and dental practices as well as practices of psychological psychotherapists.

This resulted in the following average cost structure for 2015:


Doctor's offices

Dental offices

Practices of psychological psychotherapists

annual income

507,000 euros

594,000 euros

93,000 euros

annual expenses

249,000 euros

380,000 euros

27,000 euros

Annual surplus

258,000 euros

214,000 euros

66,000 euros

(Source: Federal Statistical Office)

As already indicated above, the annual surpluses of medical practices are difficult to compare with the salary of an employed doctor. A general practitioner will usually use a substantial portion of his or her surplus reinvestto ensure the long-term success of the practice.

Also, running your own practice is usually a 24-hour job, which is also to a large extent entrepreneurial talent presupposes. Hence, the profession of general practitioner has one completely different requirement profile than that of the employed clinician.

The medical specialties: which doctor earns the most?

Probably the biggest difference between the salaries of different doctors of the same rank lies in the specialization. Depending on the department, the annual surplus in the established area can vary by several hundred thousand euros. We have summarized the differences for you in the following table:


Average annual surplus of general practitioners

General medicine

167,000 euros


174,000 euros


256,000 euros


209,000 euros


225,000 euros


173,000 euros

ENT medicine

183,000 euros

Internal Medicine

206,000 euros

Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine

166,000 euros

Neurology / Psychiatry

161,000 euros


214,000 euros

Psychosomatic medicine

96,000 euros


63,000 euros


373,000 euros


210,000 euros


175,000 euros


Conclusion on the salary comparison of the doctors: keep your eyes open when choosing the specialty

Anyone who wants to become a doctor has a long and arduous road ahead of them; not only professionally, but also financially. On average, prospective doctors have to have approx. 11 to 13 years without salary until you can start working as a resident doctor.

Anyone who has managed to do this is rewarded with a respectable salary as a resident or employed specialist, but usually has to work more than most Germans.

In the Choice of subject should certainly also pay attention to that Salary prospects be placed. However, this should not be the decisive selection criterion for you.

We advise you to choose which specialty you are most excited and where you believe your personal happiness to be able to find. This is the only way you will too successful in the long term stay. We are always at your side on your way there.

engelpunkt can look back on many years of experience in providing advice in the healthcare sector. We would be happy to accompany and support you in setting up your practice and your career. Simply arrange a personal consultation in our office.