Earning potential in PP vs Academia

Discussion in 'Anesthesiology' started by soccerboy2288, May 13, 2018.

  1. soccerboy2288

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    Hi guys, I'm currently a resident at a metropolitan area. I'm midway through training and had some questions, as I am looking in to different career options. Though I know there are big differences between PP and academia, this thread primarily focuses on the pay. I always heard and thought that PP makes more than academia overall (works more but makes more), but is that really the case? For example, say a PP gig makes $450-500k/year working 50hrs/week vs academia makes $300-350 working 40hrs/wk with less call (I know this can vary a lot, but lets just say the difference is about $150k/year between the two). Say tax is roughly 40% (keep in mind I am located in a metropolitan area along the lines of NY, Boston, Chicago, LA, etc). This gap f what appears to be $150k is now about $90k/yr. Additionally, given that PP folks have to pay for their own malpractice, dental, and medical insurance, is the difference in pay really that significant?

    My questions is, approximately how much do PP folks pay for medical/dental/malpractice insurance in a metropolitan area? I have heard that people spend roughly $80k on everything combined (saw it somewhere on this forum), which really makes the total income about he same between PP and academia. Or do lots of PP gigs offer their own benefit packages? In addition many academic jobs offer pension/retirement plans.

    I am quite naive when it comes to post-residency stuff, so a lot of the assumptions above may sound ridiculous but I wanted to see what people have to say to this, thanks!
     
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  3. nimbus

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    Generally the reported income is after all those expenses are paid. It’s an apples to apples comparison.
     
  4. soccerboy2288

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    Oh wow, so you are telling me PP people pocket the entire $400k-450k that is reported?? That sounds like a lot of money all of a sudden
     
  5. Man o War

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    You can make 400k plus in anesthesia plus benefits without too much trouble if you are geographically flexible.
    The rest of it is highly variable- how much call, partnership track terms, vacation, supervision ratios, etc.
     
  6. ambiturner

    ambiturner ASA Member
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    I think assuming you will work only 40 hrs/wk in academics is probably incorrect - you might be in the ORs less but there are committees, teaching, research, etc. that can easily eat 10-20 hrs a week if you are heavily involved.

    It is a rare academic group where you will get paid more per hour starting out than you would in a fair PP. I would not recommend an academic gig if you do not enjoy teaching or research, although they often have good benefits, tuition programs, sometimes pensions, etc. There are some people that make a killing in academic anesthesia but these are typically people that a) work PP hours or more or b) are very senior in leadership roles.
     
  7. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass
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    Why would anybody even wonder about not going into a good PP partnership track, when academia is basically a management company nowadays? Run!

    Unless one is a research monkey, most academic jobs are not worth the headache. If you're a clinical person, you are nobody.

    Regarding "PP hours": it depends on the group. There are many academic places where one is expected to work 10 hours/day (nobody tells you this unless you ask), or the salary for 8 hours is a joke.

    Almost any good PP partnership track will pay similarly to academia or better (on an hourly basis), and much-much better once you make partner.
     
    #6 FFP, May 13, 2018
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  8. aneftp

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    Depends on your goals. Young academic attendings are essentially worker bees in the academic system. With senior attending getting more dedicated non clinical days.

    Private practice will usually pay more.

    If you are in major metro area and can find a pp place paying 450-500k working 50 hours. (If that includes calls). Than it’s a no brainer to take the 50 hour private practice job. Are you sure those are the working hours?? Those jobs are few and far to be had.
     
  9. T-burglar

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    There are so many hidden timesinks in academics. Anytime you get s second to relax you can be sure you’ll suddenly remember you have to prepare a lecture for the netxt day or something. This all eats up time and is guaranteed to keep you working more hours outside of the OR, and you don’t get paid for it.

    In terms of hourly compensation , PP beats academics into the ground. In my neck of the woods I make 3 times as much yearly doing private Cardiothoracic than I would at the ivory tower in town, AND I only work half the hours . Not exaggerating.
     
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  10. soccerboy2288

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    Thanks for the response, it sounds like the overwhelming majority agrees that PP does make more per hour. The hours and pay I listed were just examples to show the math. In my area, I hear that fresh grads going into PP making more along the lines $300-$400k likely working 50-55 hour weeks, which I think is probably the norm in a desirable location. What makes me concerned about PP is that several of them don't offer a clear partnership track, and more importantly the fact that a lot of PP gigs may not be stable in the long run (i.e. getting bought out later on).

    My institution is also tied to a nearby VA where I heard attendings work strict 40hour weeks, very light call (home call), and probably makes high-200s (just starting) to low 300s (more senior), with benefits obviously. Given the hours and stability, this gig sounds attractive too. For those of you out practicing, what are your thoughts on this type of gig?

    Appreciate everyone's input!
     
  11. B-Bone

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    I would also keep in mind that the very small sample size of both academic and PP jobs you'll read about in this thread don't mean s**t if you don't plan on working in those specific locations. I'd concentrate on the geographic area you want/need to be in. If you're tied to a particular city, there may be no academic or VA option, or there might be no real PP groups (only AMCs, etc). For example, where I trained the academic docs are making $425k for ~50 hr weeks. Where I live now (90 minutes away), the academic docs make way less and work much more. PP doesn't exist in my training city, nor does VA. In my current city, PP docs are making $500k-700k for 40-50 hour weeks with 8-14 weeks of vacation. There's also a VA here with similar setup to what you describe above.

    Of course, if you are willing to move anywhere and simply want the best job available (whatever that means to you) then have at it. I have several friends making a killing in places like South Dakota, rural Illinois, Bumblef**k Missouri, etc.
     
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  12. OutRun

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    Solid numbers!
     

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