When considering a new physician job opportunity, it’s natural to be curious about the physician compensation package. With location, practicing setting, and compensation among the top concerns for many physicians, it’s tempting to ask for details early.
As a best practice, we recommend that you resist the urge to bring up the physician compensation conversation until your on-site interview, often the time when you and your potential employer have the opportunity to establish strong, mutual interest. Discussing compensation is a strong indicator that you’re interested in the position. Asking too early could leave employers feeling that compensation is your most important consideration, when in reality, finding a position that matches your personal and professional goals is priority.
Knowing what to ask regarding the compensation model is just as important as knowing when to ask. Your physician recruiter will likely give you a high-level overview of the compensation package, but compensation models can be complicated and confusing. Understanding the specific physician compensation model being used by the hiring organization will give you a much more realistic view of your total earning potential, and it will enable you to negotiate a package that is fair and aligned with your priorities.
Next time you find yourself seriously evaluating a job opportunity, consider the points below regarding physician compensation:
- Ask how the model works. Specifically, find out what production, quality, and patient satisfaction metrics you must achieve to earn an incentive bonus.
- Factor in the value of benefits, such as health insurance, PTO, CME allowance, disability and life insurance, retirement benefits, dues and subscriptions, licensure fees, and other reimbursable expenses.
- Understand the payor mix, which is important if your compensation will be based on charges, collections, or revenue.
- Malpractice insurance is expensive, so explore that topic, too. Employment agreements should state whether coverage is provided and who is paying for it.
- Ask about first-year incentives, such as signing bonuses, student loan repayments, and reimbursement for relocation, licensing, and board certification.
- Find out if there are bonuses related to achieving retention milestones or if ownership shares are an option down the road.
- You may also be compensated with an hourly or daily stipend for taking call or serving in a medical director capacity.
- Your prospective employer should be able to explain how the compensation models work and provide a worst and best-case scenario for your first and subsequent years.
- It is “fair game” to ask to review the practice’s financials. You may also ask how much current physicians are making and how long it took them to ramp-up to that level.
- To ensure clear expectations, decisions related to compensation and benefits should be written into your employment agreement.
How Location Affects Physician Compensation
Geographic region and market size significantly influence compensation and how far your income will stretch. Adjust for the cost of living in dollars and assess the location with your lifestyle expectations in mind. Work schedules, after-hours activities, vacation coverage, and weekend shifts influence work/life balance. It’s important to know what a future employer expects, and how they assist physicians in managing stress, avoiding burnout, and cultivating career satisfaction.
With all of the complicating factors contributing to compensation, physicians must do their homework to determine which opportunity offers a fair package, a satisfying work environment, a strong cultural fit with the organization, and a happy life outside of work.
Physicians who are ready to find their best, next opportunity should turn to a trusted leader in physician recruitment and placement, Jackson Physician Search. Our team of experienced healthcare industry professionals has the network and tools to help you take your physician career to the next level. Contact us today and learn how.
Reputable Physician Compensation Data Sources
Physician compensation data can be derived from various sources, some being more accurate and reliable than others. Overwhelmingly, compensation data found through MGMA is considered the “gold standard” as a data source. Many healthcare administrators utilize the information published by MGMA as their benchmark for compensation data.
It is wise to pay attention to other sources for a complete picture, including the annual surveys conducted by American Medical Group Association (AMGA). To focus on compensation for a specific metro area or location, it is helpful to cross-reference salary data found at Doximity.com. Be aware that the data found at Doximity is self-reported and may or may not include benefits. Regardless, it can be useful in determining what you might expect in an offer within specific localities.
Five Resources for Physician Salary Data
- Medical Group Management Association Data Reports
- American Medical Group Association® Compensation Survey
- American Association of Medical Colleges Data & Reports
- Medscape Annual Compensation Report
- U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics
Some of the resources listed above require you to purchase the data, while others are published free of charge. Another great tool is the Jackson Physician Search Salary Calculator, found here.