ACOEM: Compensation for Occupational Physicians Continues to Rise

The average annual total compensation for occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) physicians has increased 8 percent since 2002, rising from $188,000 to $204,857, according to the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) in its 2004 Compensation and Benefits Study.

Annual total compensation includes base salary, bonuses and additional earnings. Total reported compensation ranged from $17,000 to $900,000.

The study, conducted biennially, is a survey of 2,000 randomly selected ACOEM members. The 2004 Study reflects a 42.7-percent response rate.

The total median compensation for OEM physicians also reflects an increase rising from $169,000 in 2002 to $180,000 in 2004. This is approximately $30,000 more than the 2003 national median for primary care physicians (FPs, GPs, internists, ob/gyns and pediatricians) who earned a median total compensation of $150,000, as reported by the "Medical Economics Continuing Survey."

Males Still Earning More than Females

The college's "Compensation and Benefits Study: A Compilation of 2004 Data" also revealed the following:

  • As in many other medical specialties, males continue to earn more than females in average total compensation. Male OEM physicians earned $212,000 while average total compensation for female OEM physicians was $177,000. When comparing males and females working more than 60 hours per week, males earned 58 percent more than females ($301,000 compared to $190,000 on average).
  • Physicians with MBAs continued to earn the highest total compensation when compared to physicians with other degrees or certifications. Physicians holding an MBA averaged $223,000, while those with an M.D. alone received $199,000 and physicians with Ph.D.s received $164,000.
  • Physicians employed by corporations received a higher salary than those in other work settings, with an average total compensated salary of $222,000, compared to those in private practice ($206,000) and those employed by hospitals ($190,000) or universities ($163,000).
  • OEM physicians in the California/Hawaii region continued to earn more than their counterparts across the country, with an average total compensation of $207,000. However, while previous studies indicated this region had a considerable lead, the latest study shows several areas approaching their compensation level, with the Northeast at $203,000 and the Midwest at $202,000. Members in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands continue to receive the lowest average total compensation, at $130,000.
  • Overall, fringe benefits received by OEM physicians changed little from 2002. Notable exceptions include increases in members receiving pensions (from 40 to 53 percent), accidental death insurance (39 to 45 percent) and vision care insurance (52 to 59 percent).

The "ACOEM Compensation and Benefits Study: A Compilation of 2004 Data" was compiled from the college's ninth biennial member survey. The study compares salary and compensation packages categorized by job type, number of years practicing occupational medicine, primary work setting, geographic location and more.

Based in Chicago, ACOEM is an international medical society of more than 5,000 occupational and environmental health professionals.

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