Neonatologists are pediatricians who complete specialized training to care for the tiniest and most fragile newborn babies in advanced centers called neonatal intensive care units. A neonatologist must complete college, medical school and a pediatric residency, and then go on for an additional three years of training in neonatal-perinatal medicine, according to the Council of Pediatric Subspecialties. Salaries vary according to location, experience and other factors.
One big factor in a neonatologist’s income is experience. Like all newbies, a neonatologist fresh out of school typically earns less than an experienced practitioner in the same specialty. Profiles Database, a physician-employer match service, reported that neonatologists earned a median starting salary of $196,000 a year in 2013. MIMINC.org, which provides salary data for a variety of healthcare occupations, reports the starting salary for neonatologists in 2014 was $101,640. Demand can affect starting salaries, and neonatology appears to be a low-demand specialty. Merritt Hawkins, a nationwide physician recruiting firm, did not include neonatology among its 20 most-requested specialties for 2012.
MIMINC.org reports salaries for neonatologists ranged from $215,000 to $315,000 a year in 2014, with a median salary of $222,743. Profiles Database, on the other hand, reports neonatologists with six years’ experience earned a median annual salary of $278,400. According to MIMINC.org, neonatologists in the bottom 10 percent of the salary range earned $156,077 a year, while those in the top 25 percent of the range earned over $268,390 a year. At the very top of the salary range, however, are neonatologists who earned more than $309,000 a year in 2014, according to MIMMINC.org.
Location and Salary
Neonatology salaries varied by location in 2014, according to MIMMINC.org. In California, the average salary was $245,000 a year, while those in Texas averaged $266,380 a year. Salaries in New York and Illinois were similar, at $280,230 a year and $284,950 a year, respectively, as were salaries in Florida and Massachusetts, at $320,350 a year and $323,710 a year, respectively. Neonatologists in Arizona averaged $359,270 a year, while those in North Carolina averaged $395,350 a year. Annual salaries in Georgia and Indiana were on the high end, at $398,375 and $405,670, respectively.
Salary estimates for neonatologists vary by source, according to a July 2011 article in “Modern Healthcare.” The article reported salary data on various medical specialties from sources such as the Medical Group Management Association, Merritt Hawkins, consulting groups, human resource organizations and recruitment firms. Pinnacle Health Group reported the lowest annual salary of $160,000 for neonatologists, with data from 2010. The Hay Group reported an annual salary of $234,700 in 2010. Sullivan, Cottar and Associates reports that neonatologists earned a median salary of $226,750 in 2011. MGMA found neonatologists earned a median salary of $310,215 a year in 2011. Merritt Hawkins reported a starting salary of $480,000 in 2011, which might have included both salary and incentives such as a sign-on bonus.