The median average pulmonologist salary in the United States is reported to be about $235,000 per year or about $113 per hour. Compared to the salaries of other physicians, this is a very attractive salary although not one of the highest. Those in the top 10th percentile of the pulmonary medicine profession reported a salary of $330,000 or higher per year which works out to about $158 or higher an hour. Those in the lowest 10th percentile reported income of about $176,000 or less per year which is about $84 or less an hour. And the middle 50% of workers in this profession reported a salary between $203,000 and $285,000 per year or between $98 and $137 an hour.
As is the case with most other professions, a pulmonologist salary can be affected by several factors. Factors such as number of hours worked, years of experience, geographical location, education and type of place of employment can all play a big factor in determining a pulmonologist salary. Those working in large metropolitan areas typically earn higher than those working low population areas. Like most physicians, pulmonologists do not work fixed hours but are on call all the time.
The annual average salary of a pulmonologist can be boosted greatly by the addition of benefits. Most employers pay benefits such as social security, pension, 401K, healthcare benefits, bonuses and paid time off. When these benefits are added to their base salary, the total average annual compensation package for pulmonologists can be as high as $319,000 per year.
Job description of a pulmonologist
What do pulmonologists do? A pulmonologist is a specialist physician that has specialized in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions of the respiratory system. The respiratory system comprises of the lungs and bronchial tubes. Their work may sometimes also include the evaluation of the nose, throat and pharynx.
A pulmonologist treats such diseases as asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, tuberculosis and complex chest infections.
Although pulmonologists are physicians, major surgery on the respiratory system is normally performed by a thoracic surgeon. Pulmonologists however still perform some procedures to collect chest wall lining samples for examination and tests. They may also collect samples of the lining of the lungs.
How to become a pulmonologist
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Becoming a pulmonologist requires at least 8 years of post-high-school education followed by a few years of training in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions of the respiratory system.
After completing high school, the first step is to get into an accredited college program. You need to enroll in a four-year undergraduate degree program. Whiles in undergraduate school, you need to study hard and obtain excellent grades. You should also take science related subjects or pre-med. Getting into medical school does not require s specific major at the undergraduate level but there are pre-requisite subjects that you must take in college.
After obtaining your bachelor’s degree, the next step is to get into an accredited medical degree program. Admission into medical school is a very tough and competitive process. It requires excellent grades from your undergraduate studies, excellent scores on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), letters of recommendation and a tough admission interview.
After medical school, you will need to do 3 years of residency training in internal medicine. This involves gaining practical skills in a clinical environment under the supervision of qualified physicians. This needs to be followed by 2 years of fellowship training in pulmonology. Here you learn about the diseases and conditions specific to the respiratory system.
After that you will need to take and pass a string of licensing and certification examinations in other to get a license and become board certified. You are then qualified to practice medicine and can call yourself a physician.
Pulmonologist Salary in other countries (UK, Australia and Canada)
A pulmonologist working in Canada can expect an average salary of about C$161,000 per year.
For a pulmonologist working in the United Kingdom, the average salary is reported to be about £101,000 per year.
Those working in the UK with several years of experience can expect to earn in excess of £130,000 per year. For those working in Australia, the average pulmonologist salary is reported to be about AU$160,000 per year.
Verdict on pulmonologist salary
When you compare their salary to other physician specialists, they do not have the highest salaries but it is still a very rewarding career in terms of financial gains. Those in this field enjoy a lot of add-on benefits and with many years of experience, it is not uncommon to see some earning in excess of $400,000 per year.