Rheumatologist Salary Guide and Career Outlook

Rheumatology is the treatment of arthritis, back pain, lupus, and other autoimmune diseases affecting joints, muscles, and bones. If you’re considering rheumatology as a career, you may be curious on what a rheumatologist salary is.

rheumatologist salary

Rheumatologist Salary

According to PayScale, the average rheumatologist salary is $205,219. As you can see, you can make some big bucks as a rheumatologist.

The rheumatologist salary ranges from $144,000 to $259,000. It will all depend on experience and skill level.

Additionally, rheumatologists have the potential to earn an extra $2,000 to $96,000 a year in bonus pay, and $0 to $50,000 a year in profit sharing. This bumps the rheumatologist salary range up to $144,000 to $259,000 per year.

Rheumatologist Salary Influencing Factors

Where a rheumatologist practices can play a significant role in salary. Other factors influencing pay and benefits includes the type of practice setting and experience. Generally, more years in practice translates to greater pay.

1. Location

The pay for rheumatologists varies by region and city.

According to Medscape, rheumatologists in the “North Central” region of the U.S. are the highest paid as a group, at $290,000. In the “West” region, pay stands at $253,000 on average. The lowest-paid by group practice in the Southwest, at $211,000.

SalaryExpert says that rheumatologists in Auckland, New Zealand’s most populous city, earn on average NZD$255,384. In Christchurch, New Zealand, the mean stands at NZD$252,254.

According to Neuvoo, rheumatologists who practice in London, United Kingdom earn on a mean basis £55,079, while those in Liverpool make £35,237.

How Much Does a Rheumatologist Make in the US?

Rheumatologist Salary US Per Year Per Hour
Minimum $145,814 $70.10
Maximum $264,474 $127.15
Bonus $103 to $96,354 $0.05 to $46.32
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay $145,814 to $264,474

How Much Does a Rheumatologist Make in Canada?

Rheumatologist Salary Canada Per Year Per Hour
Minimum C$128,000 C$61.54
Maximum C$256,000 C$123.08
Bonus N/A N/A
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay C$128,000 to C$256,000

How Much Does a Rheumatologist Make in the UK?

Rheumatologist Salary UK Per Year Per Hour
Minimum £41,000 £19.71
Maximum £82,000 £39.42
Bonus N/A N/A
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay £41,000 to £82,000

How Much Does a Rheumatologist Make in Australia?

Rheumatologist Salary Australia Per Year Per Hour
Minimum AU$205,318 AU$98.71
Maximum AU$395,152 AU$189.98
Bonus AU$13,555 AU$6.52
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay AU$205,318 to AU$408,707

How Much Does a Rheumatologist Make in New Zealand?

Rheumatologist Salary New Zealand Per Year Per Hour
Minimum NZD$172,999 NZD$83.17
Maximum NZD$331,604 NZD$159.43
Bonus NZD$11,384 NZD$5.47
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay NZD$172,999 to NZD$342,992

How Much Does a Rheumatologist Make in India?

Rheumatologist Salary India Per Year Per Hour
Minimum INR9,16,621 INR440.68
Maximum INR17,64,116 INR848.13
Bonus INR59,690 INR28.70
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay INR9,16,621 to INR18,23,806

How Much Does a Rheumatologist Make in South Africa?

Rheumatologist Salary South Africa Per Year Per Hour
Minimum R907,137 R436.12
Maximum R1,745,863 R839.36
Bonus R59,472 R28.59
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay R907,137 to R1,805,345

2. Experience

In the United States, rheumatologists with up to five years of experience earn on average $196,000. Those with between five and ten years of experience garnered a mean salary of $177,000. At ten years of experience, mean pay spikes to $233,000. The mean levels off at $228,000 at the late-career stage.

For entry-level Canadian rheumatologists, the mean pay as reported by Neuvoo stands at C$128,000. More seasoned practitioners fetch on average $256,000. Entry-level rheumatologists in the United Kingdom bank £56,000. At the highest levels of experience, pay can reach £112,000.

According to SalaryExpert, Australian medical rheumatologists earn AU$205,318 at entry into practice. The mean goes to AU$395,152 for senior-level medical rehumatologists. In New Zealand, new rheumatologists average NZD$172,999 and those with eight or more years in practice fetch NZD$331,604 on a mean basis.

For rheumatologists in India, earnings range from INR9,16,621 for entry-level practitioners to INR17,64,116 for more seasoned ones. South Africa’ entry-level medical rheumatologists make on a mean basis R903,137, while practice of eight or more years results in a mean pay of R1,745,863.

3. Industry

Rheumatology pays at a high level overall. Salaries of male rheumatologists in Australia ranked 33rd among all occupations for males, at AU$256,993. Female rheumatologists were the fourth highest paid among female employees overall, earning AU$169,409.

In some regions, the specialty rests in the lower end of medical disciplines. Medscape ranks rheumatologist pay among the lowest of specialist physicians in the United States, at $235,000. By contrast, mean salaries for orthopedic practitioners rank the highest at $489,000.

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service sets pay for rheumatologists in its employ. Specifically, these practitioners have the designation of “specialty doctors” in the National Health Service. For these rheumatologists, pay runs between £37,923 and £70,718. Those who achieve consultant status earn from £76,761 to £103,490 in base salary. Self-employed rheumatologists can garner above these levels.

Sub-specialties in the rheumatology field also help distinguish pay. According to Neuvoo, consultant paediatric rheumatologists receive on a mean basis £76,761, which is below the overall consultant rheumatologist average of £83,955. For locum consultant rheumatologists, the mean stands at £73,795.

Schedule & Working Hours

The majority of rheumatologists work full-time. According to Medscape, 97 percent of male rheumatologists in the United States were full-time, while 85 percent of female practitioners were full-time. Roughly two-third spend 30 to 45 hours per week seeing patients, says Medscape.

The Canadian Medical Association reports that rheumatologists in the country log on average nearly 55 hours per week on the job. Approximately 29 hours per month are devoted to on-call duty.

Normal daytime and weekday hours characterize typical rheumatologist work periods. This is especially the case for clinicians and those with private practices. Those in hospital settings may experience longer shifts and evenings or weekends.

Bonuses & Benefits

Employers may afford signing bonuses for rheumatologists. For instance, the U.S. Army offers enlistees of qualifying “Military Occupational Specialties” cash bonuses up to $40,000. Other incentives may include loan repayment assistance, relocation help and performance bonuses.

PayScale reports that 92 percent of rheumatologists in the United States have medical benefits. Dental benefits are enjoyed by 69 percent of these professionals, while 58 percent receive vision care as a job benefit.

Career Outlook

As populations in general get older, the need for rheumatology practice to treat arthritis and other bone and joint conditions will become pronounced.

Overall shortages in rheumatologists highlight the demand and opportunity for qualified rheumatologists. According to a study published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Australia had 307 rheumatologists for an estimated population of 23 million. In India, the field numbered (in 2014) around 200 for a population of approximately 1.25 billion residents.

In England, the rheumatology specialty numbered 572 consultants and 277 medical registrars. The ratio of applicants to available spots for rheumatology trainees registered 3.34 percent.

According to the Canadian Medical Association, Canada had 398 rheumatologists in 2015. This translates to just over one for every 100,000 residents in Canada.

The pediatric rheumatology field especially faces considerable shortages. According to a report published in the National Institutes of Health, the African continent has only two practitioners. Sixty practiced in this field in the United Kingdom and the United States had 325 pediatric rheumatologists. Less than half of 1.3 million patients in India with juvenile idiopathic arthritis received a diagnosis in the first year with the condition.

Urban areas overall have higher numbers of rheumatologists than rural areas. In Canada, most practice in Quebec (106) and Ontario (158).

Becoming a Rheumatologist

Rheumatologists have skills in over 100 types of arthritis. They have a special interest in the following conditions:

  • Spondylitis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Still’s Disease
  • Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome
  • Sjögren’s Syndrome
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
  • Vasculitis, Scleroderma
  • Lyme Disease
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Gout
  • Back Pain
  • Relapsing Polychondritis
  • Pseudogout
  • Serum Sickness
  • Henoch- Schönlein Purpura
  • Kawasaki Disease
  • Reactive Arthritis
  • Erythromelalgia
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Growing Pains
  • Raynaud’s Disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Iritis
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Additionally, Rheumatologists do not perform any surgeries. Their services offered include:

  • Outpatient specialty care for patients with chronic rheumatic diseases
  • Outpatient consultations
  • Diagnostic and therapeutic intra-articular and soft tissue injections and aspirations
  • Hospital consultations
  • Education on rheumatologic diseases and treatments
  • Outpatient diagnostic arthroscopy
  • Clinical trials

Becoming a rheumatologist

To become a rheumatologist, you first need to complete the requirements of becoming a physician.

That includes a bachelor’s degree, preferably in pre-med or another science, plus four years of graduate school in an accredited medical school to obtain an M.D. or D.O. degree.

Because rheumatology is a sub-specialty of internal medicine, rheumatologists first need to complete all of the requirements to become internists, which includes three years of internal medicine salary.

After residency training, you need to complete fellowship training in rheumatology, which is typically a two-year clinical program.

Rheumatologists are generally board-certified in both internal medicine and rheumatology.

Like all physicians, rheumatologists also need to obtain a state license to practice in the state they work.

A pediatric rheumatologist is a pediatrician who has completed an additional two to three years of specialized training in pediatric rheumatology. They are also board-certified in pediatric rheumatology.

Is Rheumatology the Right Career For You?

While it generally falls in the lower levels among medical specialties, rheumatology affords rewarding work and healthy compensation for practitioners. Pay prospects rise by accumulating years of practice and locating in certain communities. With qualifications and training will come opportunities for employment as many areas suffer shortages of rheumatologists.

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