When you think about doctors, more often than not, a picture of a person in scrubs working in a hospital comes to mind. However, they’re not the only doctors around. There are Doctors of Philosophy, Juris Doctors, Medical Doctors, and so much more.

Doctorates are classified into two different types, the Doctor of Philosophy degrees and the professional or clinical doctorates. Doctor of Philosophy degrees, also known as PhDs, are postgraduate academic degrees made for people who plan to advance their research careers in their chosen field of study. Professional or clinical doctorates, on the other hand, give people knowledge and train them on the required skills they need to become recognized in industries like business, medicine, law, and psychology.

It’s a common belief that the higher level of education you attain, the bigger the potential for you to earn more. So, aiming to get that doctorate may not be such a bad idea, since it’s the highest level of academic attainment. But before you decide on a doctorate and get your hopes up on becoming one of the World’s Richest Doctors, you may want to know first how much doctors earn in a year.

Medical Doctors

This type of doctor is what comes to mind when we first think of the word “doctor.” It’s already common knowledge that they make good money from their job, but how much they earn also depends on what their specialties are. So, before you decide on a career in the healthcare industry, do some research on possible fields of specialization if you plan to take up medicine. The top-paid specializations in this field include:


Any illnesses or conditions in your spine, nervous system, and brain are all diagnosed and treated by a neurosurgeon. They perform surgical and non-surgical treatments depending on their diagnosis of your injury or illness. The brain is one of the most vital organs in your body, so it’s only fair that the doctor tasked to treat it is one of the highest-paid individuals in their field. They earn an average of $616,823 annually.

On average, the neurologist’s salary is $616,823 annually.

Thoracic Surgery

This type of surgery focuses on the organs in your chest. These include your trachea, esophagus, heart, and lungs. Doctors in this specialization help treat common illnesses like heart disease and lung cancer. They earn up to $584,287 per year.

Orthopedic Surgery

If you’ve ever broken a bone in your body, you may have seen an orthopedic surgeon before. They specialize in treating broken bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Most people would experience pain and damage in those areas, so it’s quite fitting that an orthopedic surgeon earns about $526,385 annually.

You can expect most medical doctors to earn 6-digit salaries but do remember that it’s not always about the money. This high compensation is the result of working long hours and almost little to no work-life balance.

Doctor Of Philosophy Degrees

The first option for you, especially if your undergraduate degree doesn’t have a corresponding professional degree, is to get a Doctor of Philosophy degree or a PhD. There are a wide variety of studies that fall in this category, but the top paid ones are related to the field of sciences. These include:

PhD in Computer Science

With the advances in technology, it’s no wonder that holders of a PhD in Computer Science are well-compensated. If you have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in this field, you should opt to get a PhD so you can venture into research work, where you can earn up to $118,000 – $145,000 annually.

PhD in Organic Chemistry

A PhD in Organic Chemistry can land you a job in the research field, or teaching at a university. As a newcomer, you can start earning around $83,400 per year and can grow and reach $146,000 annually in the middle of your career.

PhD in Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers work in offices, laboratories, and sometimes visit industrial plants and other locations. You can earn $96,100 to $146,000 with a PhD in Chemical Engineering.

Juris Doctors

If you’re someone who has always dreamed of a career in the legal field, getting a Juris Doctor may be just for you. The jobs you can get with the title include:


Lawyers serve as counsels and represent individuals, businesses, private companies, and government or public sectors in legal cases. If you want to practice law, you need to have a Juris Doctor. Depending on where you choose to practice law and what sector you find yourself in, you can earn anywhere from $74,000 to $200,000. It could be higher, depending on your years of experience.

Judges and Hearing Officers

Judges are the ones who preside over hearings and trials in local, state, and federal courts. Depending on where you become a judge, the salary also differs. Judges in federal courts tend to be the highest-paid ones. The median pay for judges ranges from $66,000 to $148,000. While it may seem like they have a lower salary compared to lawyers, judges also enjoy several benefits and are well-compensated.


If you get a doctorate, there’s a good chance that you’ll be more knowledgeable and more compensated in your chosen field. Keep in mind that you also have to weigh in the overall cost of getting the degree, challenges, and added years of study before you can earn as much as these doctors.

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