International Physician Salaries & Benefits

Physician salaries vary widely in different countries.
Physician salaries vary widely in different countries. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

While physicians in the U.S. typically earn excellent salaries, the typical wages for physicians vary greatly from country to country. Of course, the cost of living varies widely from country to country, as well--so although physicians earn less money in some countries, they may be able to live quite well on what they earn.

General Practitioner Salaries

General practitioners in the U.S. earn more than general practitioners in any other country, with an average of $161,000 annually according to a 2011 article in the New York Times. General practitioner salaries vary widely among other countries, from $118,000 in the United Kingdom to $91,000 in Australia to $66,000 in Sweden to only $21,000 in Mexico. The average salary for general practitioners worldwide is $83,000, considerably less than the average in the U.S.

Specialist Salaries

Specialists earn more, of course. Those in the Netherlands earn the most at $253,000, while specialists in the U.S. earn an average of $230,000. Averages vary from country to country, from $150,000 in the United Kingdom to $91,000 in Denmark to $67,000 in Greece to only $25,000 in Mexico. The average salary for specialist physicians worldwide is $113,000. Note that some types of specialists earn more than others even in the some country. For instance, reports that anesthesiologists in the U.S. earn more than dermatologists, and dermatologists earn more than gynecologists.


Employees in most countries, including physicians, earn benefits as well as salaries, but those benefits vary from country to country. For instance, in the U.S., employment benefits typically include health insurance but in many other countries health insurance is provided through the government, not through employers. In some countries, physicians get much longer paid vacations than in others. Some doctors work much longer hours than others and some must work weekends and nights, while others benefit from regular schedules and lighter workloads.

Other Factors to Consider

While physicians in the U.S. earn some of the highest salaries in the world, they typically begin their careers with the highest amount of debt in the form of student loans. It’s also noteworthy that in some countries, non-physician health care professionals provide some of the health care services typically provided by physicians in the United States. For instance, midwives treat pregnant women and attend births in Europe much more frequently than doctors.

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