Salaries for physicians vary a lot - not only between specialties but it changes from region to region in the US, the type of practice someone has - private practice, employed by a hospital, academic practice, etc. It varies by the full time or part time status and amount of patients people see. There will be more and more of a focus on tying the payment received to the 'quality' of care (and a lot of discussion on how to define what that means). There are many changes in healthcare right now, and the way physicians are reimbursed in the future has the potential to change more than it has in the past. It is a long process to become a physician and specialist. I would recommend doing something that you like doing, there are no guarantees that the salary or that the job you are looking at right now will be the same when you finish your training and start work, but there will always be jobs for people who like what they are doing and have the energy to make it fit into the system as it changes. Although the cost of medical school is incredible, I think any physicians salary will enable one to pay off their loans at some point.
Michelle Stevens Jones, M.D.
Pediatrician at Tri-City Health Center
A pediatrician can make anywhere from $100,000 to $180,000 in the Bay Area. Other locations in the country could garnish $250K or higher.