What Is the Salary of a Doctor in Germany?

Doctors are some of the most sought-after jobs in Germany. Are you wondering how much they make? Well, working as a physician is also one of the highest-paying jobs in Germany. Yet, German doctors aren’t on the same level as American colleagues but enjoy a very decent income.

On average, doctors in Germany earn between 71,600 EUR and 101,696 EUR annually before taxes. This translates to a monthly gross wage of 5,774 EUR and 8,201 EUR. The salary highly depends on specialization, seniority, and region.

Many people dream of becoming a doctor due to the prestige of the job, high pay, and recognition. Not many achieve this goal, but if they do, the rewards are huge. They get to live a decent life in Germany will a well above average income.

However, several factors impact a doctor’s salary in Germany, but don’t worry – we will discuss all of them. Learn about the salary of physicians in this article.

You can also read about wages in Germany in this guide.

Average salary for doctors in Germany

According to the largest database of salaries in Germany, doctors earn on average between 71,600 and 101,696 EUR annually before taxes. The most common average salary is 85,331 EUR per year (gross).

There is a wide range of medical specializations to work in. The salary varies significantly between fields and areas of expertise.

An average salary for doctors ranges between 65,000 EUR gross for the assistant doctor (Assistenzarzt)(assistant doctor) to 85,000 EUR for a specialist (Facharzt). Working as a doctor is one of the highest-paying jobs in Germany. With experience, physicians’ salaries and responsibilities tend to grow quite rapidly.

If you want to become a doctor in Germany, you will have to go a long way. Starting from scratch and studying in Germany is the best option, but medical education is only available in the German language.

Moreover, only those with perfect high school diploma marks are admitted to medical school in Germany. If you study abroad, you will need to go through long and bureaucracy-heavy accreditations processes in Germany.

Nonetheless, the medical career definitely worth it. The Stepstone salary report 2021 has announced the average annual salary of German physicians for 2021 – is 89,539 EUR gross. This corresponds to 7,462 EUR per month before tax. In 2020, this number was even higher – 92,316 EUR gross per year.

Generally, salary highly depends on the area you work as a doctor and seniority. For instance, chief physicians are in charge of all doctors and earn an average of 278,000 EUR per year. Yet, with high salaries come high responsibilities and expectations. German doctors often work overtime.

In addition to the medical work, a doctor has to do some administrative tasks, such as reporting and documentation.


Most important factors in the salary of doctors in Germany

In addition to specialization, there are many other factors impacting a physician’s salary, e.g., regional differences. Here are some of them:

1. Self-employed vs Employee

Not surprisingly, self-employed doctors earn more on average than their employed colleagues. Well, taking the leap and becoming an entrepreneur is always worth it!

2. Seniority of position

The higher the rank, the better the salary. Chief physicians earn above 200,000 EUR per year!

3. Collective work contract or non-tariff payment

If a doctor works in a public organization or classic hospital, his salary is regulated by the company’s collective agreement. The numbers are strictly regulated and aren’t negotiable. However, the salary level gets upgraded with the work experience.

After three years of work, a physician gets a salary raise of about 500 EUR per month.

On the other hand, chief physicians are hired on non-tariff payment contracts, which means their wage isn’t limited or regulated by any agreement.

4. Experience

As with any profession, experienced workers get paid better. The salary gap is particularly high for doctors, where the more years you work, the higher your income. In contrast, fresh graduates earn just an average wage.

1. Doctor’s salary and experience

The salary of physicians is directly correlated with their experience. Here are some statistics about the average wage of German doctors and their experience:

ExperienceAnnual salary (gross) EUR
less than 3 years59,864
between 3 years and 6 years64,806
between 7 years and 9 years71,415 
over 9 years90,087 
Source: gehalt.de

2. Doctor’s salary in German hospitals

Employed doctors usually work in hospitals. They get paid according to the collective agreements, their professional experience, and their position. Those contracts include regulations on salaries for assistants, specialists, senior physicians, or senior physicians.

In Germany, most public hospitals regulate employees’ salaries within set ranges and limits; hence, doctor’s wage is pretty much capped by the contract.

The further advanced doctors in their career, the more they earn. A specialist doctor at a local hospital earns 5,656.92 EUR gross per month when freshly hired, and after three years, their salary increases to 6,131 EUR.

Moreover, there are several types of collective agreements:

  • University hospitals (e.g., Charité Berlin, University Hospital Frankfurt).
  • Municipal hospitals (e.g., Hospital of city Köln, Hospital of Dortmund)
  • Private hospitals and clinics (e.g. Helios, AMEOS or Asklepios).

All of them dictate the salary of medical workers, yet the amount can range from agreement to agreement.

PositionAverage annual salary (gross)
Chief physician150,000 – 450,000 EUR
Chief physician90,000 – 165,000 EUR
Specialist70,000 – 95,000 EUR
Assistant55,000 – 70,000 EUR

Here is the doctor’s salary in the hospital based on the position and experience:

Physician’s position Monthly salary (gross)
Assistant4,700 – 6,300 EUR
Specialist6,200 – 8,100 EUR
Chief physician7,700 – 10,600 EUR
Chief physicianAbove 11,000 EUR

3. Salary of doctors in university clinics

There are 34 university clinics in Germany with collective salary agreements for employees. They involve a higher number of working hours but also guarantee a higher salary compared to colleagues in typical hospitals.

Working in a university clinic is demanding, where three-quarters of physicians work more than 48 hours a week; of these, 23% do more than 60 hours a week.

Doctors at university clinics have to multitask between caring for patients, research, and teaching. Such hospitals also treat patients with more complex diseases.

Here is the salary data of doctors working in University hospitals (Universitätskliniken) based on the standard collective agreement. The table shows the monthly gross salary for 42 hours working week, valid from 01 October 2021 to 30 June 2022.

Year of work1. year2. year3. year4. year5. year6. year
Assistant physician4.938,79 €5.218,73 €5.418,68 €5.765,28 €6.178,49 €6.339,66 €
Year of work1. year4. year7. year9. year11. year13. year
Specialist6.518,41 €7.064,95 €7.544,84 €7.814,50 €7.961,51 €8.164,68 €
Year of work1. year4. year7. year   
Senior physician8.164,88 €8.644,57 €9.331,05 €   
Source: marburger-bund.de

4. Salary of self-employed doctors in Germany

Doctors also have a choice to work for themselves since a physician is a liberal profession in Germany. In fact, many decide to do so; thus, you can see private practices on every corner.

Self-employment also has rewarding returns, and your salary isn’t limited by the contract anymore. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the annual income of the doctor running a private practice is 190,000 EUR gross on average. It generated annual revenue minus personnel costs and other expenses.

Nonetheless, the salary of self-employed doctors is hard to estimate, as with many self-employed people. They generate high revenue but also have high expenses, e.g., personal, rent, and materials. In addition, the salary of self-employed doctors depends on the area they work in – some medical fields are paid more and some less.

Hence, some treatments can be very expensive and some relatively affordable. The time needed for the treatment also influences the doctor’s salary.

Here are some statistics about the annual revenue and profit of different doctor’s practices:

SpecializationRevenue Profit (possible doctor’s income)
Radiologist2.343.000 €850.000 €
Ophthalmologist728.000 €370.000 €
Dermatologist543.000 €284.000 €
Orthopedist669.000 €311.000 €
Urologist564.000 €302.000 €
Surgeon611.000 €281.000 €
Internist583.000 €282.000 €
ENT physician466.000 €223.000 €
Gynecologist415.000 €217.000 €
General practitioner405.000 €227.000 €
Pediatrician427.000 €228.000 €
Neurologist / psychiatrist324.000 €180.000 €
Source: approbatio.de

5. Location

As you can see in the graphic below, the salary of doctors highly depends on the region they work in Germany. Currently, region Hesse pays the highest wages (92,359 EUR), while Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (65,791 EUR) provides the lowest income for physicians.

Source: Gehalt.de

6. Field and specialization

In Germany, doctors with different specializations have different salaries. Here is an overview:

SpecializationAnnual average salary before tax (EUR)
Occupational physician93.864
Ear, nose, and throat specialist85.331
Family doctor85.331

Best-paid doctors in Germany

Some doctors get paid better than others. And it’s not only because of the seniority; the specialization plays a more significant role.

Salaries for physicians in hospitals are regulated by the collective agreements; hence, it’s hard to jump above and get a raise. Chief physicians are on top of the best-paid doctors in Germany when it comes to employment. For self-employed doctors, the highest-paid specializations are:

  • Radiologist
  • Ophthalmologist
  • Orthopedist
  • Gynecologist

Specialists in neurology, psychiatry and psychotherapy, child and adolescent psychiatry, and psychosomatic medicine have the lowest average income.

Chief physicians employed in the hospitals get an average monthly salary of about 24,000 EUR before tax – well above fellow colleagues in the clinic. It’s because their pay isn’t regulated by the collective work contract, as it’s the case with other medical professionals in Germany.

Consequently, the income of chief doctors can vary greatly. The decisive factor here is the physician’s negotiating skills and experience.

Overall, self-employed doctors earn more on average than physicians who work in hospitals and clinics. For self-employed physicians with their own practice or clinic, specialization is the main factor in earnings. The table above shows that self-employed radiologists earn the most with a large gap to other doctors.


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