Top 5 highest paid medical specialists in France

31 March 2020 | Medical career

Are you a medical student wondering which domain to specialize in? Are you a doctor looking to change jobs? No easy choice given the number of specialties out there. We looked at all the different specializations and put together the numbers on which are best remunerated, whether private or public.

Private physician salaries

Average income of private (“libéral”) physicians

For some years now, the top spot has been taken by orthodontists, though their average salary decreased from 220K of annual reported income in 2017 to 196K in 2018. They are followed (from afar) by anesthetists, whose average salary increased from 167K in 2017 to 182K in 2018. Ophthalmologists moved up from 4th place in 2017, to 3rd place in 2018, with an income of 151K. General surgeons climbed two spots, going from 6th to 4th in 2018 with 150K, while orthopedic surgeons dropped two spots to take 5th place with annual income of 147K.

Medical consultation sectors

In France, private (“libéral”) doctors are categorized according to three sectors (“secteur”), which determines how their consultation fees are calculated. Sector 1 sets specific consultation fees which are fully reimbursed by Social Security. Sector 2 allows doctors to set their own consultation fees, which are only partially reimbursed by Social Security. Sector 3 does not impose any consultation fee rates nor provide any reimbursement by Social Security.

Salaries of hospital-based doctors

While the salaries of private doctors depend on their sector and specialty, the same is not true of doctors working at public hospitals who receive roughly similar levels of income depending on their status. Regulatory compensation of doctors is made up of a fixed salary, plus bonuses and allowances. The amount of the bonus increases depending on the doctor’s status. As such, a doctor under contract (“contractuel”) will only receive the off-time duty bonus of €250 (gross) per night, a consulting physician (“attaché”) will receive an additional €415 (gross) per month, while an assistant will receive, in addition to the above, a bonus of €5329 (gross) if he or she commits to two years. Hospital doctors also have the right to a monthly compensation of €415 (gross) if they work at several different institutions or as part of their sectoral and liaison work. While the numbers are likely to change from year to year, you now have a bit of an idea of the medical specialties who earn the most. It’s now up to you to define your career plan based on your status and your sector.

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