Physicians of every speciality have salaries well above the national average. Their salary ranges from £55,250 for chiropractors to over £390,000 for top neurosurgeons. The more specialised and difficult the medical practice, the longer the training period, and the more it's in demand in the doctor's location, the higher the salary.
Surgeons of almost every sub-speciality rank among the highest paid physicians in the world, with close competition from anaesthesiologists. General surgeons average salary is around £162,500, with oral surgeons on the low end and heart and brain specialists on the high end.
Cardiovascular surgeons operate on the heart, veins, and arteries. Because heart disease is such a common ailment, this speciality is in tremendous demand. Heart surgeons can expect the highest salaries, at around £357,500 per year.
Neurosurgeons operate on people's brains. Understandably, this requires not only an encyclopaedic knowledge of the human brain, but incredible manual dexterity and absolute attention to detail. These doctors can expect approximately £260,000 per year, depending on their location.
Anaesthesiologists must accompany every surgery, as they're the doctors responsible for "putting you under." They're experts in the fine art of administering medications that will render patients unconscious without killing them. Their annual salaries average £195,000.
Oral surgeons are responsible for root canals, wisdom teeth extraction, and injury repair. They can expect roughly £130,000 per year.
While all medical specialists work with other doctors, some are more likely to work one-on-one with patients. Doctors of internal medicine, and those who must work heavily with technology occupy the top pay echelons. These specialists are paid slightly less than surgeons.
Radiologists are responsible for reading and interpreting results from various medical imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRIs. This is both a science and an art, and requires an expert knowledge of not just medicine, but medical technology. They're compensated at about £227,500 per year.
Oncologists are specialists in cancer. Some sub-specialise into types of cancer, such as lymphoma or leukaemia, or types of patients such as children or AIDS sufferers. They can expect £175,500 per year on average.
Obstetrics and gynaecology, or OB-GYN, is specific to women's reproductive health and child-bearing. They perform routine primary care, as well as attending births and dealing with childbirth emergencies. £162,500 is their average salary.
Dermatologists are skin specialists. They treat conditions that range from infectious disease to disfiguring acne, and may perform minor surgeries. Their salary averages £149,500.
Doctors must spend over twelve years in university, plus several years of underpaid, overworked internship as their "residency." They can expect to be over thirty by the time they begin their careers, and to start with student loans well into the six-figure range. In addition, most work 60 to 80 hours per week.