10 highest paying countries for doctors

We explore in more depth, the financial remuneration that you can expect to receive in some of the highest paying countries for doctors.

highest paying countries for doctors

Doctors may not have chosen medicine for purely financial reasons. However, earning a decent salary certainly can help to give you (and your family) a good quality of life! After all those years of study, exams and on calls, wouldn’t you like to be compensated fairly? In this article we take a closer look at the financial remuneration that you can expect to receive in some of the highest paying countries for doctors.

There are wonderful benefits to working abroad (aside from financial reasons). These include :

  • Improved professional skills
  • Renewing your passion for medicine
  • Personal Development
  • Learning new non-medical skills

All salaries are shown in dollars and purchasing power parity (PPP) for comparative purposes.  PPP is a theoretical exchange rate that permits the comparison of the purchasing power of different currencies, and allows us to directly compare the following salaries from multiple different countries.

The following salaries are the average remuneration for specialists and GPs, with the ranking based on an average of the two combined. Salaries have primarily been compiled from the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health and the Doximity Report on Physician Compensation, with all numbers being up to date as of May 2020.

Highest Paying Countries for Doctors

10 Highest Paying Countries for Doctors

No. 10: Australia

 Specialists: $210,800 

 GPs: $104,300

A perennial favourite of doctors going to work overseas and it’s easy to see why!

Great weather, high salaries, opportunities to travel and a real focus on work-life balance.

No. 9: Netherlands

Specialists: $200,300 

GPs: $137,500

Close to home, Netherlands offers good quality of life, the charismatic city of Amsterdam and a population of enthusiastic cyclists. In fact, according to a report by the European Commission, 36% of the population reports the bicycle as their most frequent mode of transportation!

No. 8: Austria

Specialists: $213,200

GPs: $141,500 

Mountains, lakes, metropolitan cities and classical music. You name it – Austria has it! A central European gem not to be overlooked for doctors who are looking to improve their German language skills.

No. 7: Ireland

Specialists: $209,000

GPs: $164,700

Ireland scores consistently highly on best paying countries for both specialists and GPs.

Close to home and full of natural beauty – but bring your rain gear!

No. 6: Switzerland

Specialists: $228,000

GPs: $172,800

Switzerland is a country that offers breathtaking landscapes, amazing opportunities for outdoor sports and umm… chocolate!

Divided into German, French, Italian and Romansh speaking parts, Switzerland is great for those with language skills or for those looking to improve them. 

Beware though, it is very expensive! According to eurostat, Switzerland has the highest cost of living in Europe.

No. 5: Canada

Specialists: $249,000

GPs: $158,200

Dramatic landscapes, cultural cities, clean air, great work-life balance. Probably not for the faint hearted during winter.

Canada is consistently ranked as one of the best countries in the world to live in. It is recognized worldwide for its exceptionally high quality of life, progressive political environment and one of the healthiest economies in the world.

No. 4: Germany

Specialists: $222,700

GPs: $214,700

Another German-speaking country making the top 10 of highest paying countries for doctors! 

Germany is known for its affordable cost of living, wonderful and hearty cuisine and welcoming culture. And if beer is your thing, you’ll feel right at home here! 

No. 3: Belgium

Specialists: $331,200

GPs: $138,700

Another close to home option that offers amazing salary opportunities for both specialists and GPs!

Belgium is divided into French, Flemish and a few German speaking parts, and offers  local delicacies such as mussels, fries and waffles. No lack of cultural experiences and a much cheaper alternative to London!

No. 2: USA

Specialists: $350,300

GPs: $242,400

The United States offers great professional development opportunities and pay for their doctors. A country of great diversity, there are many options to travel both within the US and to Central & South America. If you are planning on practicing in the United States keep in mind that you will have to sit the three-step USMLE exam before you can do so. Check out our Guide to Working in the USA.

No. 1: Luxembourg

Specialists: $352,300

GPs: $278,900 

A surprise winner – Luxembourg tops the list! 

A small nation with just above six-hundred-thousand, Luxembourg offers a cultural mix between its neighbours Germany and France. This is reflected in the three official languages; German, French and the national language of Luxembourgish. 

This often overlooked gem in western Europe offers exceptionally high pay for both GPs and specialists and a fantastically central location within Europe for travel outside of working hours!

Did you know there is quite a discrepancy between the salary levels of GPs and specialists in the different countries? Check out our blog post on the pay gap between GPs and specialists for more information.


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Original article by Sara Sabin.

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Rebecca Mortensen

Rebecca Mortensen

Rebecca is a graduate entry medical student in Ireland. She is passionate about medical students’ wellbeing, encouraging people to find their unique career paths and enjoys every opportunity to be creative.

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