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How Much Do Doctors Get Paid in Australia?


Jan 20, 2019


It’s common knowledge that doctors in Australia usually earn a good living. Whether you’re just entering the field of practice or an experienced doctor, it is important understand salary averages in your industry.

[Before you read on … Nitschke Nancarrow has recently launched DocWealth, a wealth, accounting and financial planning firm exclusively for doctors and medical practice owners. Get free resources, podcasts and insights here.]

Alternatively, you might even just be considering a career in medicine and are curious about how much you could expect to earn.

The average salary for a doctor here in Australia varies due to many different factors.

But this brief guide from the leading team at Australian medical accounting firm Nitschke Nancarrow can help you get an idea of what to expect.

The Average Salary of Doctors Across Australia

First of all, it helps to have a general idea of the figures that medical professionals can expect to earn. On average, that yearly amount can range from $100,000 to $400,000. Clearly, this is a wide range.

Is there any way to get a more specific figure?

We can refine this range by considering some of the factors that influence the size of a doctor’s salary.

Factors That Impact How Much You’ll Earn as a Doctor

No two doctors earn the same exact amount even if they work in the same field of expertise.

What you’ll earn depends on a variety of influencing factors.

Geographic location.

You may find a higher paying position in a metropolitan region such as Sydney or Melbourne as opposed to working in a rural city. It’s interesting to note, however, that the opposite can be true depending on your area of specialty.

A study conducted by the University of Melbourne found that specialists practicing in remote inner regions were earning more than their colleagues in major cities. This can be due to the amount of competition in a given area. If you’re the only specialist in the area for hundreds of kilometres in any direction, then you may be able to charge more for your work.

Years of experience.

It’s only reasonable to expect that patients will pay more to see someone with more experience. Hospitals also are likely to pay a higher salary to a doctor with more seniority in his or her field. If you’re starting out, you can expect your salary to reflect your limited experience in practice. Most senior physicians can claim a salary that’s twice the size of those of new doctors.

Employment status.

You may be able to charge more and pay yourself a more generous salary if you run your own medical practice as opposed to working for a hospital.

Area of specialty or focus.

General health physicians often earn a little less than those who choose to focus on treating specific conditions or body systems. For example, a paediatric cardiologist will likely have a higher salary than a paediatrician.

Number of hours worked.

Obviously, the more hours you put in at the clinic the more you can earn. Some medical professionals choose to only work part-time in order to spend more time raising their families or working on another project such as research, teaching or writing but they earn less from their jobs as they do so.

Patient population served.

If you serve a heavily-populated area, then you’re more likely to earn a large income than if you work in an area where business is slow due to having few patients.

The demographics of your patient population is another important aspect that influences your salary. You won’t earn much as a cosmetic plastic surgeon in a region where patients have low-income and little interest in cosmetic surgery. But in the booming city scene, you may find a larger patient base of individuals with greater wealth and an interest in spending it on enhancing their appearance.

Average Salaries By Area of Practice

Here are some of the most recent estimated average salaries of Australian physicians by area of specialty*:

Neurosurgeon – $288,000

Anaesthesiologist – $179,000

Psychiatrist – $126,000

General physician – $104,000

OB/GYN – $141,000

Paediatrician – $99,000

Dentist – $97,000

Optometrist – $86,000

Physiotherapist – $64,000

Podiatrist – $63,000

Bear in mind that these figures are all averages. The numbers do vary significantly according to influencing factors such as those discussed earlier in this post.

Get smart with your wealth

Irrespective of how much doctors get paid, sometimes a bigger wage creates a false sense of security. But the reality is, the more you earn the more important it is to seek expert advice and make sure you have a plan to manage and grow your wealth.

This includes both planning, budgeting and investing. This is particularly critical when you’re just starting out as a medical professional – the foundations you set at the start of your career will have a long term impact, good or bad.

With great wealth comes great responsibility. Doctors can be among the highest paid professionals in Australia, which comes with a higher tax bracket and greater risk. It is crucial to seek advice about tax strategies, business structures, wealth creation, investment, risk management and other associated financial planning challenges. We have written many blogs covering these issues.

Get advice

Want to maximise your earnings as a doctor and set up your own wealth strategy?

Contact Nitschke Nancarrow, experts in all aspects of medical accounting, financial planning and business. We operate in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and throughout Australia. Managing partner Kym Nitschke is available for a free initial discussion about your situation. Call us on (08) 8379 9950 or send me an email.

– Kym Nitschke

The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

Taxation, legal and other matters referred to on this website are of a general nature only and are based on Nitschke Nancarrow’s  interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Those laws may change from time to time.

Nitschke Nancarrow specialises in accounting, tax and financial advice for superannuation. Contact us now for a no obligations discussion about your needs.


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