Otolaryngologists, sometimes referred to as ENT doctors, are physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of ailments and conditions of the ears, nose and throat. They may also treat related conditions of the head and neck. Otolaryngology is one of the oldest medical specialties practiced in the United States, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Otolaryngologists are part of the physicians and surgeons occupational category, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, so are among the most highly paid professionals in the United States.
The median annual salary for an otolaryngologist practicing in the United States was $306,715 as of May 2011, according to the Salary.com website. The middle 50 percent of U.S.-based otolaryngologists earned between $263,019 and $354,944 per year. The top 10 percent earned annual wages in excess of $398,855 per year, while the bottom 10 percent of otolaryngologists earned annual wages of $223,237 or less.
An otolaryngologist's wages can be significantly impacted by the geographic region of the country where she practices. As of May 2011, the median annual salary for otolaryngologists who practiced in Fayetteville, Arkansas, was $260,401, while those who practiced in Chicago, Illinois, earned median annual wages of $325,424, according to Salary.com. The median annual income for otolaryngologists who practiced in Bridgeport, Connecticut, was $346,281.
Base pay only represents 76.5 percent of an otolaryngologist's total compensation, according to Salary.com. Otolaryngologists typically receive $10,470 per year in bonuses and $9,310 in contributions to their qualified retirement plans. Paid time off accounted for 9.7 percent of an otolaryngologist's total compensation. Additional benefits typically include employer contributions to government retirement programs, health and disability insurance, and pension plans.
Otolaryngologists are highly compensated medical professionals, but they must undergo extensive education and training before they are certified to practice, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology. An otolaryngologist must typically complete 15 years of college and post-graduation training before being certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology. An otolaryngologist may specialize in allergy, pediatric otolaryngology, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, head and neck, otology and neurotology, laryngology, rhinology, or sleep disorders.