D.O. Doctor Salary

D.O.s are licensed to prescribe medications and treat a variety of medical conditions.
D.O.s are licensed to prescribe medications and treat a variety of medical conditions. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, commonly known as "D.O.s," are physicians who are licensed to prescribe medications and treat a variety of medical conditions. Like allopathic medical doctors or "M.D.s," osteopathic doctors must complete a demanding educational program that involves more than eight years of study. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, physicians are some of the highest-paid professionals in the United States. The exact salary for a D.O. varies depending on the medical specialty and level of experience.

Pediatric Speciality

The job of a D.O. specializing in pediatrics is to provide health care for children and infants. Like other types of doctors, pediatric D.O.s are able to diagnose a variety of conditions and prescribe medication for treatment. Pediatricians also use medication in the form of immunizations to prevent children from being affected by common diseases such as hepatitis and influenza. Osteopathic pediatricians commonly work with other medical professionals including pediatric nurses and nutritionists, and must be able to deal effectively with children and adults alike.

According to the career website Salary.com, for 2011 the expected median salary for a pediatric D.O. physician is $166,076. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that as of 2007, 9.6 percent of all physicians were pediatricians. The Allied Physicians Survey indicates that beginning pediatricians earned approximately $135,000 per year as of 2006. This salary rises to an average of $175,000 after a pediatrician has three or more years of experience.

Oncology Specialty

D.O.s with a specialty in oncology are responsible for diagnosing, researching and treating tumors caused by cancer. Oncologists work directly with cancer patients in locations such as hospitals and cancer research centers. Physicians in this specialty use a variety of techniques to detect cancerous tumors, including X-ray and magnetic imaging, blood tests, and biopsies. Once oncologists find tumors, they prescribe and oversee treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. In some cases, oncologists use surgery to directly remove tumors.

According to Salary.com, as of 2011 the median salary for D.O. physicians specializing in oncology is $257,918 per year. According to the 2006 Allied Physicians Survey, new oncologists earned around $181,348 annually, while oncologists with at least three years of experience made approximately $245,000.

Radiology Specialty

D.O. radiology specialists, also called radiologists, use radiation such as X-rays to create images of the human body. These images are used to detect and diagnose a variety of diseases. Some radiologists focus on creating images of a specific part of the body, such as the breasts or heart, while others are generalists. Although their jobs are similar, radiology specialists are not the same as oncology specialists; radiologists use radiation to detect problems, while oncologists focus on using radiation to directly fight tumors.

The median salary for D.O. physicians specializing in radiology is $403,488 per year as of 2011, according to Salary.com. The 2006 Physician Survey indicated that the starting salary for a radiology specialist was approximately $201,000, while D.O. radiologists with more than three years of experience earned around $354,000 annually.

Internal Medicine Speciality

D.O. physicians who specialize in internal medicine, sometimes called internists, focus on treating adults. Internists are experts on internal organs, and use medicine to treat organs affected by injury or disease. Some internal medicine physicians are generalists, while others specialize further and focus on one specific organ such as the heart or kidney.

As of 2011, the average salary for a D.O. internal medicine specialist is $182,237 per year, according to Salary.com. Internal medicine physicians who specialize in a specific organ often make more than this average amount. For example, as of 2006 internal medicine physicians with a sub-specialty in non-invasive cardiology earned $403,000 after three years of experience.

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