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How Much Do Oncologists Make?

According to Doximity, In 2023, Oncologists ranked as the 17 highest-paid physician specialties with an average annual salary of approximately $447,000 per year. This data is supported by separate data from the MedscapeAnnual Compensation Report, which found that the average salary for an oncologist was approximately $463,000 in 2023.

When reading these numbers, it’s vital to recognize that Oncologist compensation can vary significantly due to different factors such as specialties, sub-specialties, and geographic location.

For instance, Radiation Oncology ranked as the 7th highest-paying physician specialty, with an average salary of $547,000 per year. Which is about a $100,000 difference from the average Oncologist’s salary.

 

Are Oncologists’ Average Salary Increasing or Decreasing?

Oncologists’ salaries had the largest increase from previous years, according to the latest 2023 Medscape compensation report. The salary for physicians in oncology increased by 13% from 2022, when the average salary was approximately $411,000 compared to $463,000 in 2023. 

To put that into perspective, Oncology only had a 2% increase in average salary between 2022 and 2021. The only other specialty to experience a salary increase larger than 10% was gastroenterology.

 

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Do Oncologists Receive Incentives or Bonuses?

Like many physician specialties, Oncologists receive bonuses or incentive compensation. Unfortunately, the compensation data on bonuses for oncologists is not well documented, but in a survey by Comparably, 100% of oncologists reported receiving bonus compensation. 

In addition, oncologists are one of the most heavily recruited due to their high demand in all workplaces. AMN Healthcare reported that in 2022 and 2023, due to the high demand for oncologists, they could receive a sign-on bonus between $50,000 and $100,000. 

 

Do Oncologists take extra work for additional income?

Based on the 2023 Medscape report, only 35% of oncologists reported taking on additional work to supplement their income. In fact, 27% of oncologists reported performing other medical-related work for supplemental income. On the other hand, only 5% of oncologists reported moonlighting for additional income. 

Compared to 2022, the number has increased slightly, with only 32% of oncologists reporting taking on additional work to supplement their income. In 2022, only 17% reported performing other medical-related work, while 11% reported performing non-medical-related work, compared to only 3% in 2023. 

 

Do Oncologists feel fairly compensated?


Overall, 57% of oncologists feel fairly compensated in 2023. This is 5% higher than physicians on average, who only report 52% feeling fairly compensated. Oncologists have one of the highest rates of compensation satisfaction, coming in with the ninth-highest rating out of the 29 specialties surveyed. 

Unfortunately, this figure is down from the 2022 report figures, where 67% of physicians felt fairly compensated. 

 

Factors Affecting Oncologist’s Salary

 

Experience Level 

As with any position, an oncologist’s experience influences their salary.

An entry-level cardiologist will earn less than someone with more training, experience, and skills.


There isn’t much data to show how the salary of a cardiologist evolves as they gain more experience. However, if we use Salary Experts database report, we can come up with the following median annual salary at different levels of experience:

Entry Level – $282,000

Mid-Career – $425,000

Experienced  – $568,000

As an entry-level Oncologist, your starting pay is about 60% of the national average. But as oncologists gain experience from entry-level to mid-career, they can expect to reach the national average and earn nearly $200,000 more. Finally, by the time an oncologist is fully experienced and in a senior role, they can expect to earn nearly $600,000 annually or nearly an additional $200,000 from their mid-career salary levels. 

 

Location

Where you decide to practice radiology will influence your salary. This is not a phenomenon unique to radiologists but to all physicians.

A recent study by Doximity found that the average physician salary in the highest earnings metro area was approximately $431,000, and the lowest metro area was $342,000. This is nearly a $100,000 difference in average salary based on location. 

To analyze pay differences by location, we used ZipRecruiter salary reporting. While ZipRecruiter’s numbers are slightly different than those of Doximity and Medscape numbers, we can use ZipRecruiter as a proxy to show which states pay higher salaries compared to others.

 

StateAnnual Salary
Washington$452,680
Colorado$451,460
Delaware$422,145
Virginia$415,122
New York$411,983
Maryland$408,607
Vermont$403,228
Nebraska$399,229
Missouri$398,485
South Carolina$395,401
California$388,046
North Carolina$387,239
Massachusetts$386,959
Oklahoma$386,625
Alaska$383,357
Maine$378,202
Oregon$377,956
North Dakota$377,837
Pennsylvania$377,375
New Jersey$373,903
Michigan$373,541
Idaho$371,790
Hawaii$370,799
Texas$369,816
Wisconsin$369,578
New Hampshire$367,403
Nevada$362,480
Wyoming$360,822
South Dakota$357,097
Minnesota$356,146
Indiana$355,503
New Mexico$355,014
Rhode Island$350,081
Arizona$348,152
Ohio$346,421
Montana$342,906
Illinois$342,493
Connecticut$342,006
Iowa$339,937
Mississippi$339,159
Alabama$338,624
Tennessee$330,735
Utah$330,594
Kansas$319,328
Georgia$315,456
Louisiana$310,946
Kentucky$307,370
Arkansas$292,261
West Virginia$291,452
Florida$279,178

 

 

The table above shows that Washington has the highest annual salary compared to Florida, which has the lowest average salary for an oncologist. The salary for an oncologist in Washington was 64% higher or $156,000 more than that of an oncologist in Florida. 

Some factors that influence the salary differences between states are the supply of oncologists, the demand for cardiologists, the cost of living, and the number of opportunities available.

That said, it’s essential to recognize that these states also vary in cost of living. The cost of living dramatically varies across the country, with metropolitan areas generally being more expensive. This means that while some states offer higher compensation for cardiologists, the buying power of that salary may be severely diminished by higher basic living expenses.

 

Specialization

As with most physicians, your specialization within your specialty can significantly impact your salary.

Some of the most common oncology specialties include:

  • Medical Oncology 
  • Radiation Oncology 
  • Surgical Oncology
  • Hematology / Oncology
  • Pediatric Oncology

From the latest 2023 Doximity report, we can see drastic differences between the sub-specialties within oncology. For example, Medical Oncology and Radiation Oncology are among the top 20 highest-paying specialties, while pediatric oncology is among the top 20 lowest-paying specialties. 

Radiation oncologists earn an average salary of approximately $547,000 annually, while pediatric oncologists earn an average annual salary of approximately $237,000. This means that radiation oncologists earn approximately $310,000 more each year, or 131% higher than pediatric oncologists. 

 

Type of Workplace

The type of hospital or medical facility where you work can also affect your salary as an oncologist. Working at a large, well-known healthcare institution or private hospital often comes with a higher wage than smaller hospitals or clinics.


Unfortunately, no data shows the differences in salaries between the types of workplaces for oncologists. However, these salary differences are very clear for all physician specialties and have been documented by the BLS for cardiologists and neurologists. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

 

How much do oncologists make per hour? 

Oncologists earn approximately $447,000 per year, and the standard number of working hours in one single year for a full-time employee is 2,080 hours per year. Based on these numbers, oncologists earn, on average, $215 per hour. 

But like many physicians, oncologists are often asked to work more than 40 hours per week. Based on a study of Oncologist burnout, they found that, on average, oncologists worked nearly 58 hours per week.  Using the average number of working hours per week, oncologists are more likely to work approximately 3,016 hours per year. This means that oncologists earn approximately $148 per hour on average. 

 

How much do oncologists make per month?

Oncologists earn approximately $447,000 per year, which would result in earning approximately $37,000 per month. Likewise, at $37,000 per month, oncologists make approximately $9,500 or $19,000 bi-weekly. 

 

How much do oncologists make in California?

According to ZipRecruiter salary reporting, oncologists earn approximately $388,000 per year in California. This figure is significantly lower than the national average reported by Doximity and Medscape 2023 reports. While the national average reported by those agencies is more reliable, you can use ZipRecruiter as a proxy. 

According to ZipRecruiter, California was the 11th highest-paying state for oncologists. The reported salary for an oncologist in California was only 14% lower than the highest-paying state of Washington at $453,000 per year. 

 

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