Otolaryngologist Salary

What is an Otolaryngologist?

Otolaryngology salaryThis is a physician who treats patients with ear, nose, and throat disorders and diseases along with the related structures of the head and neck and voice box. They are often referred to as ENT physicians (Ear, Nose, and Throat). An otolaryngologist treats children and adults. They are trained in both surgery and medicine. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, in the United States one of the oldest medical specializations was otolaryngology. In 1820, the first hospital of otolaryngology was founded and it was The New York Eye & Ear Infirmary. An interesting fact is that 50% of all visits to a physician are for ear, throat, and nose problems and many of them will either be referred to an otolaryngologist or make an appointment to see them without a referral.

Job description of an otolaryngologist

When treating a patient’s medical problem an otolaryngologist will use non-surgical and/or surgical techniques and interventions. They see patients for a variety of medical conditions that relate to the ear, nose, throat, voice box, neck, and head. An otolaryngologist may see patients for chronic ear infections, reconstruction surgery of the face to treat birth defects, hearing loss, treating malignant and benign tumors of the neck and face, treat sleep disorders, and more. In the United States approximately 35 million people each year develop chronic sinusitis, making it a medical condition that otolaryngologist see often, especially during the winter or allergy season. Because they are trained in medicine and surgery there is no need to refer their patient to other medical professionals. If the medical disorder or disease can be treated by medicine, needs surgery, or both an otolaryngologist can do it. Although they can do surgery sometimes an otolaryngologist works with a team of physicians in other surgical and medical specialties when treating certain medical diseases and disorders that is part of another medical field. Some examples of this can include working with:

  • Neurosurgeons in treating skull base disorders
  • Plastic surgeons in correcting traumatic and cosmetic deformities
  • Ophthalmology surgeons in treating structural abnormalities near your eyes
  • Oral surgeons in treating dental and jaw trauma
  • Allergists in managing your sinus disease
  • Dermatology surgeons in caring for different types of skin cancers
  • Oncology surgeons in managing neck and head cancers

How to become an otolaryngologist?

As with all fields of medicine to become an otolaryngologist you will need a bachelor’s degree, go to medical school, and residency. This will take approximately 13 years. It is advisable that you start in high school by taking science classes especially chemistry and biology and advanced math classes like calculus and trigonometry. Have a good GPA will also help get you not only into a good college of your choice but also medical school and they all look back at your high school grades and classes you took.

Although when you attend college to get your bachelor’s degree it does not have to be in pre-med but should be a science based major like chemistry, microbiology, biology, or biochemistry major. The reason that your major should be in science is that it will help you to prepare to take the Medical College Admission Test. After being accepted into medical school you will have 3 years of intense study of medicine in classroom and laboratory work. The last year is an internship where you will get to practice medicine more in dept doing clinical rotations in different areas of medicine.   During this last year is when you would start to apply for a residency position. Before choosing a otolaryngologist residency you need to make sure that you have precision and steady hands because you will be doing surgery and you need both to succeed in this field.

In order to begin your residency you must first pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination. An otolaryngologist residency will typically take five years to complete but can take longer if you decided to major in a subspecialty.

The specialties that are offered for otolaryngologist to choose from include:

  • Allergy—in this field they would treat perennial and seasonal rhinitis, otitis media, chronic sinusitis, laryngitis
  • Head and neck—in this field they would treat lumps in the throat or neck and cancer of the voice box.
  • Neurology and ontology—in this field they would treat ear infections, hearing loss, pain in the ears, neck, or face, swimmer’s ear, ringing in the ears, dizziness.
  • Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery—in this field they would treat cleft palates, hair loss, ear deformities, face lifts, drooping eyelids
  • Pediatric otolaryngology—in this field they would treat children with ear infections, airway problems, asthma, removing tonsils and adenoids, neck tumors
  • Rhinology—in this field they would treat nose bleeds, stuffy noses, polyps, sinus disorders, loss of smell, tumors.
  • Sleep disorders—in this field they would deal with sleep apnea, problems with not sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Laryngology—in this field they would deal with swallowing disorders, GERD, tumors, infections in the throat.

Most of these subspecialty fellowships can take 2 years to complete. One year of their residency is in general surgery with the other 4 years of specialization in otolaryngology. After completing their residency they can become a board certified otolaryngologist unless they are going to specialize and once you complete your specialty you can apply to become board certified. To become board certified you will have to make an application for this certification, take a written and oral exam, and show proof of training. The certification is done by The American Board of Otolaryngology. One important thing to know is that for each specialty fellowship you complete you have to have been licensed for each one.

Some of the medical schools that offer that offer otolaryngology programs include:

  • Tufts University located in Medford, Massachusetts
  • John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Georgetown University in Washington D.C.
  • Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri

Work environment/schedule

When you become an otolaryngologist you will have the opportunity to open your own practice, work in a group practice, at a clinic, or hospital. Being a surgeon also many find themselves working long abnormal hours and having on-call situations, especially if they work for a hospital. As with many fields of medicine you need to be able to sometimes work under stressful conditions and you need to be adaptable. They also need to be able to provide comprehensive care to the patient when they are a part of a team of other physicians, nurses, and technicians, have good communication skills and managerial skills.

An otolaryngologist sees patients for a variety of reasons with many of their patients being referrals from their primary care physician. They may see patients who are having hearing problems, having sinusitis that just does not seem to want to clear up, various diseases like Bell’s palsy, strokes, chronic ear infections, ringing in the ears, nerve disorders, trouble with dizziness from inner ear problems, losing their sense of smell, having trouble with swallowing or with speech etc. If a patient has a tumor in their neck or head they would be the one that would do the surgery.

When a patient comes to see the otolaryngologist, whether they are a new patient or a referral, they will have to fill out paperwork in regards to their health insurance, their family history, and more. When the otolaryngologist sees the patient they will ask what their symptoms are and how long they have had them. They will then do a physical exam and order any diagnostic tests and blood tests that are needed to get a correct diagnosis. Usually the patient will schedule a follow-up visit to get the tests results and what treatment plan they will need to follow. The otolaryngologist can treat any problem with medicines and therapies. If the problem cannot be taken care of by these two types of treatment then the patient may have to have surgery.

If a patient has been in a horrific accident or had a horrific injury that is going to require reconstructive surgery they would call an otolaryngologist. If they work at the hospital this is just one of the types of emergency surgery they might be called to do.

Pros and cons of being an Otolaryngologist

As an Otolaryngologist, you’ll get the chance to care for patients of different age categories and sustain their healthy lives. You will treat patients from newborn to the geriatric age you’ll be the mainly face that they will see when are in need of your help.

You’ll get the chance to discover a fascinating range of surgeries, and you’ll encounter various types of cases that will maintain your constant growing and development in this career. With other words, you’ll never get bored, and you’ll never lack practice. If you like anatomy a lot, then you’ve arrived at the right place since this specialization has plenty of the intricate anatomy.

The cons are linked with the educational path and the training years. A surgical residency of 5 years must be added in order to become an otolaryngologist that is many times stressful, demanding and difficult not to mention the fellowship that will add 1 or two years alongside.

This career field has become very competitive and the demanding is very high. You should really focus on your training years, and be always in fit since there will be financial challenges. This job is also mentally and physically demanding, with other words the applicants, who are interested in this medical branch, are more than the number of positions that are available.

The earnings in otolaryngology are very good, and the field has very good career opportunities, not to mention the fact that this career field salary is various according to influential factors. The work is very rewarding but at the same time working with people will many times take you to some situation in which you’ll have to show a huge amount of professionals and maintain your calm.

A great pro is that this job are highly on demand, and you’ll get a good balance between the medical and the surgical care. Also, your cases will vary allowing you to develop and grow in this area.

Otolaryngologist job growth

The Bureau of Labor Statistics presents some of the growth facts that will put over the next decade specialties for physicians and surgeries on a boost path. Otolaryngologists are among those that can expect at a significant increase in the job opportunities. They are in special request due to the number of cases that yearly affect the Americans. Many of them suffer each year from sinus related conditions. Moreover, as the aging population is increasing, there will be many elderly individuals that will suffer from hearing loss and will need these types of professionals.

There is expected as well a shortage of physicians this leading to many opportunities for employment. Otolaryngologists are among the specialists there are much searched due to the nature of their job that involves treating and managing hearing loss, nose, throat, ear and respiratory system diseases and disorders. With other words, the job outlook for these professionals is excellent even at the extent of cultural trend due to an expansion in the number of demands for plastic surgery.

Otolaryngology salary

US Bureau of Labor Statistics have placed otolaryngologists in the occupational category of surgeons and physicians which puts them among the medical professional as highly-paid. There are many factors that go into figuring out what an otolaryngologist should make. Where they work, their geographical location, the number of years experience they have, and any specialties they may have majored in. Some otolaryngologist may earn a bonus 1 or 2 times a year which can range from $5,000 – $55,000 per year.

On average in the United States an otolaryngologist salary per year is $296,000 in 2016, but ranges between $102,556 – $365,872. In addition to the salary most otolaryngologists receive a great benefit package but what is included depends on their workplace. Most receive vacation days, sick days, personal days, profit sharing, social security, pension, paid holidays, etc. If you are on-call your employer may pay for a cell phone for you to use when on-call so you can be reached easier in case of an emergency.

The work place of an otolaryngologist and the average yearly salary they might receive.

  • $150,000 – $450,000 working in health care
  • $99,158 – $300,028 working in a hospital
  • $185,947- $305,028 working in a medical office, private or group practice
  • $160,000 – $450,000 working in a general medical and surgical hospital
  • $170,000 – $450,000 working in outpatient surgery

Some of the highest paying states can include:

  • $335,000 in New York
  • $320,000 in California
  • $310,000 in Washington
  • $295,000 in Texas
  • $210,000 in Massachusetts

Some of the lowest paying states can include:

  • $125,000 in Hawaii
  • $135,000 in Idaho
  • $140,000 in both Nebraska and South Dakota

Breaking down the United States into the north, south, east, and west regions the average yearly otolaryngologist salary would be:

  • $370,000 in the north region
  • $338,019 in the south region
  • $335,000 in the east region
  • $405,370 in the west region

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the growth of otolaryngologist is expected to grow faster due to the aging population that will require increased medical care.

Salary of an Otolaryngologist in 2015

In the US, the salary of an otolaryngologist is estimated to reach at $367,173 per year. With the demanding still growing this type of salary depends on several factors such as specialization, the education that one of these professional has accomplished. Wages also depend on the experience in the field, the type of practice, and the geographical area.

In a private practice, the annual average for an otolaryngologist is estimated from $185,956 to $305,210 per year. Those, who work in a school, can receive a salary that will vary from $152,607 and $346,932 per year.

For 2015, with an average of $256,000 per year, this career path is not only very searched but the salaries of this field are good compared with many other medical fields. The salary is still influenced according to the factors already mentioned but also due to each state economic background and the number of demanding that play an important part in this job.

The best-paying states in US for an average Otolaryngologist remain New York with an average salary of $335,010 followed by Los Angeles, Seattle and Huston where the lifestyle of this professional is pretty good.

Otolaryngologist Salary in 2016

The earning potential for the year 2016, in the US, for those working as otolaryngologists is affected and impacted based on several economic and demographic factors. For instance, you can quickly add to this field the gathered years of experience, the type of employment as well as the geographical location and the specialty that one chooses to follow.

There is also a difference between the public and the private system, between various practices. For instance, otolaryngologists that are working in private practices usually tend to earn more than those who found work in other different types of facilities.

When it comes to the demographic factor, the salary factor of these professionals is influenced based on the area of work, such as rural or urban area, metropolitan areas, states, and cities. Those that pay otolaryngologists with a higher incomes are to be found in Oregon and Illinois.

The income of an Otolaryngologist can also be seen according to the lowest and highest points. The lowest earning that one Otolaryngologist can take home is usually estimated to be at around $194,050 per year while the highest that one specialist can accomplish reaches usually at around $516,050 annually. The percentage of your earnings also varies depending on the type of facility in which you found work.

As mentioned earlier, the years of experience also have a word to say. Those who are new in the field with up to 2 years can expect at an income that usually reaches at around $194,050 per year while those who are working for 3 years, or having even more years you can expect to receive at around $311,100 per year. The maximum scale that one professional can each working as an otolaryngologist is usually estimated at around $516,050 per year.

An otolaryngologist salary is based on the living expenses and the costs of living in every state and geographical location. The increase is also due to the number of demanding for these professionals for the next ten years.

Otolaryngologist salary in Canada, Australia and UK

The average yearly otolaryngologist salary in Canada is C$366,341 according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. This amount in the United States is $336,587 so an otolaryngologist earns approximately $30,000 less than one in Canada but you should check out the benefit packages to see which one offers the best one.

In the UK the people in the medical field are paid based on their age. In their 20’s the average yearly salary can be up to 56,250 ($94,458 United States), in their 30’s the average yearly salary is 73,500 ($123,426 United States), and in their 40’s and 50’s the average yearly salary is 87,000 ($146,096 United States). Doing a comparison you can see that the pay for an otolaryngologist in the United States is much higher.

In Australia figuring an otolaryngologist salary they also take into consideration many of the same things that the United States does such as geographical location, years of experience, etc. In Australia the average yearly salary for an otolaryngologist ranges from AU$79,150 – $99,254. In the United States the same range of pay would be $74,069 – $92,882.

Conclusion on otolaryngologist salary

When looking at the number of years you would have to go plus the residency and if you specialize there is 2 more years which totals to 15 years. If you go to college and start your journey to become an otolaryngologist you would be in your 30’s when you can start practicing. Looking at their average yearly salary is shows that it is very lucrative and can only go higher. You also have to look at the benefit package which can add several thousand more dollars to the average yearly salary. On average for an otolaryngologist just graduating his salary would be around $90,000 – $100,000.

If you want to earn a higher salary you should look for a job in the western region of the United States. In fact, California is the state with the second highest average yearly salary for an otolaryngologist. You should also invest in the extra two years and specialize in one of the medical fields of otolaryngologist.

Post Revisions
  • First Published Date: 11 June, 2014
  • Last Updated Date: 12 June, 2016