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Germany: How to Get Paid Well As A Physician?

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slight365

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I understand such things as the pay schedules that basically makes a physician earn little more here than many without professional qualifications, in addition to taxation and the Rentenversicherung costs and such charges.

So what does a physician need to do to earn a decent living in Germany, short of going to Switzerland or the US?

Which specialities have high earning potentials?

What are the good specialties to have in Germany? I would like to plan on how to do this, and don't know if private practice is for me just yet. IM-EM and different areas Surgery are among my choices.
 

Neuropathia

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The salery is pretty much set throughout the residency. There are little difference between the specialties and the hospitals. The privat (church owned) ones pay a bit better sometimes and have better benefits.

After the residency it depends on your career plans. If you stay at the hospital you make more money in an "Oberarzt" position. But you don't automatically get one. And it depends on the individual contracts with the departement (private patients etc..).

If you choose to go into a practice it doesn't so much depend on the specialty as so much on the practice: % of private patients, do you offer surgeries (out-patient/in-patient at a hospital), what diagnostics can you offer and bill the insurance companies (ultrasound, lab tests etc).

And of course anything cosmetic pays off...
But people may not be as willing to pay here as in the US.

Send me a PM if you have more questions
 

Marsupilami

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I understand such things as the pay schedules that basically makes a physician earn little more here than many without professional qualifications, in addition to taxation and the Rentenversicherung costs and such charges.

So what does a physician need to do to earn a decent living in Germany, short of going to Switzerland or the US?

Which specialities have high earning potentials?

What are the good specialties to have in Germany? I would like to plan on how to do this, and don't know if private practice is for me just yet. IM-EM and different areas Surgery are among my choices.


As a physician in Germany, you certainly won't starve. Salaries for residents start at roughly € 2k/month after taxes ( not married, no kids), calls and working overtime not included . Residents get a yearly raise.

The thing is, however, if you want to make a lot of money ( by US standards) forget about Germany. There are some specialties like radiology where you can still achieve a high income in private practice, but that is not guaranteed at all and is likely to change. Imho, the German system is shifting towards a model where more and more physicians will be employed instead of being self employed. Nowadays, there are residents that make more than board certified docs in their practices ! I know several docs who have "blown up" by investing hundreds of thousands in their private clinics ( ophthalmology, rads) and the way I see it, the days of the self employed physician in Germany will soon be over. Again, this doesn't mean that you will starve. But if you dream of those USD 200k+ salaries like in the US, don't come to Germany ;-), in fact, think twice about coming to Europe at all.

Btw., EM as a specialty doesn't exist in Germany ! Docs from IM, Anesthesiology, traumatologists etc. work in that field together.

I hope that helps.
 
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211498

Well, there are physcians in Germany that earn much more than the highest paid physicians in the US, these guys earn seven digits a year and their contracts can not be canceled. But these guys signed their contracts before the 2000s. Since then the maximum that you can earn as an employed physcian lies between 150,000 and 250,000. But the usual employed specialist (Facharzt) will earn between 60,000 and 80,000 p.a., as someone with your own private practice it depends on the specialty and the number of your patients that have private insurance instead of the so called insurance by law. If you live in an area with a large number of privately insured patients you can still earn a lot of money, but this is an exception.
 

slight365

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Gomer,

The numbers you stated, are they including the benefits package? I recently found the numbers many physicians stated for their pay is massively inflated by €20-30k because they're actually adding the worth of their benefits package, then going out and saying theymake more than US physicians or they make "only slightly less". I was shocked to find this pattern, coupled with simultaneous denouncing of US salaries.
 

Marsupilami

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Well, there are physcians in Germany that earn much more than the highest paid physicians in the US, these guys earn seven digits a year and their contracts can not be canceled. But these guys signed their contracts before the 2000s. Since then the maximum that you can earn as an employed physcian lies between 150,000 and 250,000. But the usual employed specialist (Facharzt) will earn between 60,000 and 80,000 p.a., as someone with your own private practice it depends on the specialty and the number of your patients that have private insurance instead of the so called insurance by law. If you live in an area with a large number of privately insured patients you can still earn a lot of money, but this is an exception.


Hi Gomer,

I assume you are referring to the position of a "Chefarzt" ( ~ head of department). They do pull in crazy salaries, but of course, this fact is of little relevance to 99%+ of the German physician workforce.

Like you say, the average income of both employed and self employed specialist doctors is not that bad. However, in the latter case, what one must not forget is that establishing one's own private practice requires serious financial investments. Depending on the specialty, starting a practice can put oneself into debt in the range of € 50 000 to € 300 000 and more.
Since remuneration for medical treatment is to a large extent capped to ridiculously tiny sums nowadays, some of the more "costly" specialties are facing a lot of trouble. It is not uncommon for banks to refuse any financing of practice start ups since the economic success of a private practice is becoming more and more questionable,
given the current developments in the German health care system.
 
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211498

Gomer,

The numbers you stated, are they including the benefits package? I recently found the numbers many physicians stated for their pay is massively inflated by €20-30k because they're actually adding the worth of their benefits package, then going out and saying theymake more than US physicians or they make "only slightly less". I was shocked to find this pattern, coupled with simultaneous denouncing of US salaries.

Sorry, obviously you misunderstood me. I wanted to express that most of all specialists (not residents) earn a lot less then physicians in the US, Canada and the rest of western Europe (don't know about salaries in OZ and NZ).

As a specialist who is employed at a hospital you will usually earn between 5000 and 7000 EUR gross per month.
 

slight365

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And as I've seen, the take home from that is well less than 40%, if one is lucky, then all sorts of adjustments and contributions creep up, like additional Rentenversicherung payments and otherwise. At the €5000 range, a physician is lucky if they can bring home €2000, then they have to pay the rent, car, utilities, etc.
 

slight365

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And as I've seen, the take home from that is well less than 40%, if one is lucky, then all sorts of adjustments and contributions creep up, like additional Rentenversicherung payments and otherwise. At the €5000 range, a physician is lucky if they can bring home €2000, then they have to pay the rent, car, utilities, etc.
 

Marsupilami

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And as I've seen, the take home from that is well less than 40%, if one is lucky, then all sorts of adjustments and contributions creep up, like additional Rentenversicherung payments and otherwise. At the €5000 range, a physician is lucky if they can bring home €2000, then they have to pay the rent, car, utilities, etc.


You do take home € 2000 monthly in your very first year of residency. In fact, it should be slightly more. But it should also be clear from the above posts that German docs on average do not earn nearly as much as their US counterparts.
However, the lifestlye in Germany is different...you do not need to think about $$$ 24/7 like you do in the US, imho.
 
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211498

And as I've seen, the take home from that is well less than 40%, if one is lucky, then all sorts of adjustments and contributions creep up, like additional Rentenversicherung payments and otherwise. At the €5000 range, a physician is lucky if they can bring home €2000, then they have to pay the rent, car, utilities, etc.

No, that is not true. Your expenses like taxes, insurance, social security sum up to approx. 40%. Anyways, still not a lot of money.
 

slight365

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Actually, it is true and I'm in a position to know, as I'm the one doing the bookwork, and having to deal with my SO's rentenversicherung and her institute to try and figure out the actual that comes home. It's well around 60% being deducted and there are always bills for something coming up that is part of the employment. There is a lot of corruption in Germany, while they claim the eastern European countries are beneath them and full of corruption. They need to look inward and find out why docs get paid so little and why do so many different deductions go all over the place and never come back.

This is not including the "exceptional" contracts where physicians don't get paid as physicians, but much less, along with such things as the delay in the East in the 100% salary raise from the Wiedervereiningung.

You will find that out when you are actually practicing.
 
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211498

Your SO earns 5k gross and brings home 2k? I don't belive that. With 60k per year and in case you are insured by law (Pflichtversicherung 15.5%), and no children, and paying church taxes you'd still make ~35k net.

And what does that have to do with corruption? And why do you think there is a lot of it in Germany?
 

slight365

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Because there is. You're crazy if you're acting like the typical passive German that accepts everything they're told by the government here. The government is just a few short steps from being the same as the East German government and the soviets, but with way more social problems.
 
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