The 10 States with the Highest Physician Pay

Physician pay varies widely from state to state. Here's a look at the states that offer the highest compensation to their doctors.

A few things will always hold true regarding physician pay: Six-figure salaries mask the fact that the average physician enters the workforce with six-figure debt. Specialists make more than primary care doctors. And pay can be unsteady, with overall compensation dipping from year to year in some specialties.

Even with those caveats, physicians remain well-compensated. Although depending on where you live, the average compensation for a physician can swing dramatically. Adding to the disparities, many of the highest-paying states for physicians also have relatively low costs of living.

Each year Medscape releases a report on physician compensation, offering a snapshot of how physician pay has changed from year to year. This year’s report found the average specialist nationwide makes $284,000 per year. The average primary care doctor makes $195,000. Physicians in the Northwest tend to make the most ($288,000 on average). Doctors in the high-cost Northeast make the least ($253,000).

What follows is a list of the 10 states with the highest average physician pay, according to Medscape. To help illuminate the numbers, we’ve added a number of other economic factors to each capsule. A cost of living indicator is given, based on Sperling’s Best Places metric. Sperling sets the average cost of living at 100. Any state with a number higher than 100 is higher than average, states with sub-100 numbers are cheaper than average. We’ve also included the state’s median home value and the most recent statewide unemployment rates.

10. Indiana

Average Physician Pay: $286,000

Cost of Living: 86

Median Home Value: $113,300

Unemployment Rate: 4.5%

9. Washington

Average Physician Pay: $286,000

Cost of Living: 117

Median Home Value: $278,400

Unemployment Rate: 5.2%

8. West Virginia

Average Physician Pay: $287,000

Cost of Living: 86

Median Home Value: $88,900

Unemployment Rate: 7.3%

7. Minnesota

Average Physician Pay: $288,000

Cost of Living: 103

Median Home Value: $181,700

Unemployment Rate: 3.8%

6. New Hampshire

Average Physician Pay: $300,000

Cost of Living: 117

Median Home Value: $222,700

Unemployment Rate: 3.4%

5. Oklahoma

Average Physician Pay: $304,000

Cost of Living: 84

Median Home Value: $112,200

Unemployment Rate: 4.4%

4. Wisconsin

Average Physician Pay: $309,000

Cost of Living: 98

Median Home Value: $156,800

Unemployment Rate: 4.3%

3. Wyoming

Average Physician Pay: $312,000

Cost of Living: 104

Median Home Value: $148,600

Unemployment Rate: 4.0%

2. Alaska

Average Physician Pay: $330,000

Cost of Living: 135

Median Home Value: $260,900

Unemployment Rate: 6.4

1. North Dakota

Average Physician Pay: $330,000

Cost of Living: 105

Median Home Value: $260,900

Unemployment Rate: 6.4%

Sources: Medscape, Sperling’s Best Places, Zillow, Bureau of Labor Statistics