Many Physicians Report Secondary Income

Reasons for taking on additional roles include paying off debt, increasing income, new challenge.
Reasons for taking on additional roles include paying off debt, increasing income, new challenge.

Many physicians report earning income from sources other than their primary practice/employer, according to an article published in Medical Economics.

The results of the Medical Economics' 2013 annual survey indicated that, in 2012, over one-third of family medicine/general practitioners and internists earned income from sources other than their primary practice/employer (36 and 35 percent, respectively). That number was similar for cardiologists, higher for hospitalists, and lower for pediatricians and gastroenterologists (38, 40, 25, and 27 percent, respectively).

According to Medical Economics, the age range most likely to have a secondary income is 50 to 54 years, followed by those aged 45 to 49, 55 to 59, and 60 to 64 years. In general, men are more likely to have a secondary income, and those in rural areas are more likely than those in inner city, suburban, or urban locations. 

Physicians with secondary incomes were found to have higher patient volumes. Secondary incomes are generally from medical work, including "other medical work," hospital work, consulting, clinical trials, and locum tenens assignments.

"Younger and mid-career physicians are often looking for ways to pay off medical school debt or increase their income without taking on more work at the practice," according to the article. "Some physicians are looking for variety in their career and new challenges. Others are looking for ways to give back to the profession by mentoring, teaching, or volunteering."

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