A neonatologist is a physician specializing in the treatment and care of newborn infants who may have illnesses or health issues or be premature. Select countries were reviewed for this guide, revealing the highest annual earnings for neonatologists are found in Australia and the US at AU$408,909 ($310,761 USD) and $305,978, respectively, followed by NZ$343,692 ($250,274 USD) in New Zealand and C$296,605 ($230,292 USD) in Canada. Neonatologists in the UK earn an average annual salary of £156,971 ($178,970 USD) compared to R1,779,010 ($132,935 USD) in South Africa and Rs1,767,051 ($27,354 USD) in India.
Global salaries for neonatologists vary as a result of geographic region, professional work experience, and employer. Details on income and a career in neonatology are provided in this guide.
What Is a Neonatologist?
Although pediatricians can solve most health problems of newborns, a qualified Neonatologist is trained specially to handle the most complex and high-risk situations. A neonatologist is a highly skilled doctor who cares for babies who are born as premature infants or those who are critically ill newborns. Some of the issues that critically sick babies face could cover wide areas from premature birth and low birth weight to congenital disabilities, underdevelopment, and lack of oxygen at birth.
Neonatologists are physicians that practice with these babies from the time they are born till the time that they leave the neonatal intensive care unit. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as it is usually called the intensive care unit for newborn babies who are born with major health issues and other birth defects.
Educational Requirements for a Neonatologist
The minimum educational requirement to become a neonatologist is a doctoral degree with specialized training in pediatrics and neonatology. A neonatologist is required to complete 14 years of training including 4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school, a pediatric residency, and a neonatology fellowship. Graduates must also become licensed as a medical physician, which is done through the state medical board and requires passing a Medical Licensing Examination.
NICU is a specialized division within a hospital that provides care for infants that were born prematurely or have health issues, such as respiratory or cardiovascular conditions. There are many different classes of personnel who work in a NICU aside from neonatologists; it includes nurses and therapists. Degree requirements among these occupations range further from a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and, an associate’s degree to medical school, and all have licensing requirements.
How Much Does a Neonatologist Make per Year?
The chart below provides annual salaries and hourly wages for neonatologists in several countries throughout the world with US dollar conversions.
|Neonatologist Salary||US||Canada||UK||Australia||New Zealand||India||South Africa|
Factors that Influence the Neonatologist Salary
Neonatologists are among the highest income earners worldwide, largely due to the amount of education, training, and specialization required for this field. Geographic region appears to be the strongest influencer on income, but professional experience and work setting also affect earning potential as further explained in this guide.
1. Geographic Area
Neonatologist Salary in US
Early career neonatologists with one to three years’ experience in the US earn a starting salary of more than $217,500. Income increases steadily throughout one’s career with senior level neonatologists earning more than $374,000 per year. Nearly $21,000 in bonus potential can further boost overall earnings.
Neonatologist Salary in Canada
In Canada, neonatologists with one to three years’ experience earn nearly C$211,000 per year, increasing to nearly C$363,000 annually for senior level professionals. Overall earnings can be further increased through bonus potential that exceeds C$20,000.
Neonatologist Salary in UK
Neonatologists in the UK earn nearly £112,000 per year during the first one to three years of professional experience. Earnings increase significantly during one’s career with senior level neonatologists earning nearly £192,000 per year. Bonus potential of just under £11,000 can further increase overall earnings.
Neonatologist Salary in Australia
Neonatologists in Australia earn more than AU$291,000 per year during the first one to three years of professional experience. Salaries increase with experience and additional responsibilities to more than AU$500,000 for senior level neonatologists. Bonus potential can add nearly AU$28,000 in additional income.
Neonatologist Salary in New Zealand
In New Zealand, neonatologists earn nearly NZ$245,000 while early in their careers. Salaries increase steadily throughout one’s career to more than NZ$421,000 per year and bonus potential can exceed NZ$23,000 in additional income.
Neonatologist Salary in India
Early career neonatologists in India earn an average salary of Rs1,275,948 per year during the first one to three years of employment. As experience and responsibility increases, so do salaries. Senior level neonatologists earn, on average, more than Rs2,194,000 per year. An additional Rs120,000 is possible in bonus income that some employers offer.
Neonatologist Salary in South Africa
In South Africa, neonatologists earn a typical entry level salary of R1,276,000 per year during the first three years of experience. Earning potential increases with ongoing experience, and senior level neonatologists can earn an average annual salary of R2,194,000. Bonus potential can add nearly R121,000 in additional income.
Salary levels steadily increase over the course of one’s career with additional experience and growing responsibility. The first one to three years of employment are typically regarded as entry level and may involve additional supervision and guidance. Over the course of one’s career, triple digit growth between entry level pay and senior level pay can be expected, and bonus potential may also be greater for those with the most experience.
Due to the health and age of the patients treated by neonatologists, most in this career field are employed in hospitals and clinics where advanced care and treatment are provided; however, some are employed in private practice. Those employed in for-profit settings and the private sector may have greater opportunity for bonus pay and a larger benefits package. In countries such as the UK, Australia, and New Zealand where many neonatologist positions are government funded, the difference in pay by work setting is not as great as the private sector often uses the government pay scale as a guideline.
Neonatologists are typically full-time employees, working a schedule of more than 40 hours per week with some expectation of long hours at times. With 24-hour care provided in hospitals, those who work in these settings may be scheduled any day or time of the week, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. Some neonatologists work in private practice, providing normal services Monday through Friday; however, on-call hours are expected, particularly during emergencies.
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
Most neonatologists receive healthcare benefits that include medical, dental, and vision coverage. Paid time off for sick time, holidays, and vacations are common. While bonus pay is common worldwide, potential for this additional income may be greater in for-profit settings and in the private sector. Some employers offer reimbursement of expenses for continuing medical education and training and allowances for meals.
A growth rate of 14% for pediatricians, including neonatologists, is estimated by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics between 2014 and 2024. This is a faster than average rate of growth compared to all other occupations and is due to advancements in medicine and technology. A career as a neonatologist requires the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, typically in a science-related field, followed by a medical degree.
Additional training, internships, and residency are required and can take between three and seven years to complete. Successful completion of an exam is typical as well as licensure or registration in the state or country of work practice.
Note: If you are interested in similar jobs that require less training, also check out our article on the neonatal nurse salary.
Final Thoughts on the Salary of a Neonatologist
The level of education and training to work as a neonatologist is extensive; however, strong salaries place this career among the world’s highest paid professions and make it a good return on investment. Bonus pay and benefits that include medical coverage, paid time off, and allowances for additional training are typical. Work as a neonatologist can present stressful situations at times, but offers job satisfaction for those employed in this field. Future job opportunities and salary levels are expected to remain strong with an growth in this field expected over the next several years.