Urologists, also known as genitourinary surgeons, are specialists who diagnose and treat urinary tract disorders in male and female patients of all ages. They also treat problems in the male reproductive system. They perform surgery for cancers, treat incontinence and infertility, assist with gender reassignment and more. After finishing medical school, future urologists complete a five-year residency training, and pediatric urologists complete one additional year. Urologists are among the top earners overall in medicine.
Urologists earned mean incomes of $309,000 in 2011, according to Medscape, a medical information clearinghouse, which found urologists, as surgeons, near to the top earners in medicine. Those higher-paid specialists, radiologists and orthopedists, earned mean incomes of $315,000 in 2011. In comparison, at the lower end of the medical doctor salary scale are internists, who earned a mean income of approximately $166,000, slightly more than family physicians made, according to Medscape. Beginning urologists can expect a median annual starting salary of $250,000, according to Profiles, a physician recruitment service. And, at six years in the field with increased experience, urologists earn average salaries of $400,000.
Besides experience, salary differences are due to factors such as location, practice type, reputation and how many hours a urologist works. Approximately 15 percent of urologists earned $500,000 or more in 2011, while 19 percent earned $100,000 or less, Medscape reports. A change in location could boost a urologist's salary. California and Hawaii are where urologists overall had the highest mean income in 2011 of $343,000. Urologists in the Northwest were in second placed and earned mean incomes of $340,000. Urologists in the Mid-Atlantic states earned the least, $272,000.
Practice type should also be a consideration for a urologist's salary. Medscape's study found that urologists in multi-specialty group practices earned the most, with a mean income of $397,000, while those in solo practice earned $361,000, followed by those in single-specialty groups at $355,000. At the bottom of the pay scale were those employed in academic settings at $168,000, hospitals at $192,000 and outpatient clinics, $110,000.
Although women physicians overall earn less than males, the gap in earning between male and female urologists is one of the widest. Male urologists reported a mean compensation of $313,000 in 2011, while women had $253,000 mean annual earnings. Medscape explains that the difference is due to woman urologists working fewer hours to balance career and family. However, a study published in the June 2012 issue of the "Journal of the American Medical Association" found lower salaries might also be due to a subtle bias in medicine against female physicians or that, as with many female professionals, female physicians are less aggressive then males in seeking raises and promotions.
The job outlook for urologists was good as of 2012. Although it doesn't track urologists as a single group, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that it expects employment of physicians and surgeons in general to increase by 24 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the 14 percent average for all U.S. occupations. One factor for the increased job growth is the aging baby-boomer population, which will want the latest technologies, diagnostic tests and therapies to treat ailments related to aging.