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How Much Do Doctors Make?

The medical profession is one of the most highly regarded professions all over the world. People highly value doctors and their contribution to society. For this, and many reasons, doctors earn a lot of money compared to the average population. In this article, we will discuss the reasons why this is, as well as give light on exactly how much medical doctors make in Australia.

What Are the Different Types of Doctors?

With the constantly evolving field of medicine, there are now many types of doctors who work together to attend to patients’ needs in the best way possible.

General practitioners are doctors who did not undergo any specialty training. Despite this, they are more than capable of diagnosing and handling the treatment of a wide array of diseases. Often, people seek them to consult in the primary care setting. If they deem that a patient’s condition is beyond their expertise, they usually refer them to specialists.

Specialists can be internists, pediatricians, dermatologists, ophthalmologists, obstetricians and gynecologists, family medicine doctors, pathologists, radiologists, urologists, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and psychiatrists.

Surprisingly, these specialists can even further subspecialize. For example, an internist or a pediatrician can specialize in oncology, gastroenterology, cardiology, or pulmonology. Meanwhile, ophthalmologists can subspecialize in retinal diseases or oculoplastic surgery. An obstetrician & gynecologist may further specialize in infertility or endocrine diseases.

Knowing that there are these different types of doctors will help you understand how much a doctor can make in Australia. Moreover, it can give you a good grasp of the wide range of salaries they can get.

What Factors Influence a Doctor’s Salary?

There are a few factors that dictate how much a doctor can make. It’s obvious that a doctor’s specialization significantly affects how much he or she makes. For instance, a cardiologist will earn significantly more than a general practitioner. Cardiologists who have decades of experience will surely earn more than mid-career cardiologists or those who are just beginning their practice.

How Long and Often They Work

Whether a doctor works full-time or just part-time significantly affects his or her earning potential. Let’s take a look at an example. The typical number of hours per week in Victoria is 38 hours. Meanwhile, for New South Wales, it is 40 hours. However, South Australia has no fixed hours of work.

For example, if an anesthesiologist takes up a lot of cases per week, he or she may boost his or her earning potential.

Number of Consultations

Obviously, the more patients a doctor sees, the more money he or she makes. However, it still differs as different patients have different needs and concerns. This will still affect a doctor’s salary overall. However, in some cases, this may not affect a doctor’s earning potential.

Type of Consultation

When we talk about health insurance, doctors can get varying consulting fees depending on the type of consultation. Some things that will be considered are the complexity of the case, time spent during the consultation, or if any procedure was done. 

How Much Exactly Do Doctors Make?

In general, a full-time general practitioner in Australia can make anywhere from $100,000 to 200,000. Neurosurgeons are topping the list, with an estimated earning of $577,674. Next are ophthalmologists who are reported to earn $552,947. Cardiologists, plastic surgeons, obstetricians & gynecologists, as well as orthopedic surgeons have a salary that reaches above the $400,000 mark.

How much a doctor can make in Australia also heavily depends on the state. Typically, salary ranges have steps. For Victoria, there are nine steps with the salary ranging from $228,850 to $312,800. Meanwhile, in New South Wales, there are only six steps, with the salary range being $240,419 to $324,812.

For South Australia, doctors have nine steps, with a range of $271,964 to $358,352. They also receive attraction and retention allowance. In Queensland, there are a whopping 12 steps of salary range, from $269,555 to $375,455. Western Australia has the highest starting and top salary among all the states at $295,757 to $384,515.

These varying number of steps also show how much longer it can take to get a higher salary for some Australian states than others. Some states also offer compensation for working in remote locations. This compensation ranges around $6,900 to $48,000 per year. Moreover, in some states, heading a department also entitles a doctor for additional allowance. This ranges from $9,245 to $48,786 per year.

Take note that we are talking about doctors who have finished their training and are part of a medical practice. Salaries of doctors in training such as resident doctors are significantly lower than an established doctor. On average, resident doctors in Australia make about $60,000 – 80,000 per year. It’s not too bad but certainly lower than the salaries of full-time doctors.

Why Do Doctors Make a Lot of Money?

Some people might argue that doctors make way more money than they should. That issue is still up for debate. But why exactly do they earn a lot? The most basic answer is the level of education it requires to become a doctor. With education comes hefty expenses and a lot of years of your life spent studying instead of working. In Australia, you can either go the undergraduate bachelor’s degree route which will take 5 or 6 years; or you can go the four-year graduate entry.

Your studying and training don’t stop there if you want to specialize. A doctor’s residency training will take at least 3 more years. Surprisingly, doctors still subspecialize and undergo a few more years of training on top of their residency. All of these training influences how much doctors are paid.


All doctors generally have a higher take-home salary compared to other professions. However, a lot of factors come into play in determining how much money they make. To sum it all up, doctors in Australia earn from $60,000 up to $500,000, and perhaps even more.

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