Australia, the Land Down Under: home of the didgeridoo, Ayer’s Rock, the Sydney Opera House and some of the deadliest snakes and spiders the world has ever seen. It also happens to have one of the highest average salaries in the world.
And, if the Australian Taxation Office’s latest figures are anything to go by (which show that the gender pay gap is alive and well), Australia may very well be a great choice to pursue a medical career (at least, if you’re a man).
Every one of the top 10 highest paying jobs is in the field of medicine. But which professions are they? And, most importantly, what are the salaries like? Are they worth moving abroad?
What They Do: Gastroenterologists are specialist physicians who diagnose, treat and prevent diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and associated organs (liver, pancreas and biliary tract). Their work mostly involves performing endoscopic procedures on patients.
What They Earn: Male gastroenterologists earn, on average, $415,192 (£239,056) a year, while their female counterparts make about $260,925 (£150,233).
How to Become One: You’ll first need to complete a postgraduate medical degree (which typically takes four years) and then work in the public hospital system for a minimum of two years (internship and residency). To then specialise in gastroenterology, you’ll have to apply to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) to undertake further training and receive a fellowship.
9. Vascular Surgeons
What They Do: Vascular surgeons diagnose and manage disorders that affect the arteries, veins and lymphatic systems. They perform open operations, endovascular catheter-based procedures, reconstructive vascular surgery, as well as non-invasive vascular testing and interpretations.
What They Earn: Men in this profession are paid, on average, $417,524 (£240,399) a year. Women, meanwhile, typically earn $271,529 (£156,339).
How to Become One: Upon completing a four-year postgraduate course in medicine and working in the public hospital system for two years, you’ll need to register with the RACP and undergo a training programme at an accredited hospital.
What They Do: Urologists diagnose and treat conditions of the urinary tract (of both men and women) and male reproductive systems. They surgically treat conditions such as prostate cancer and kidney stones, as well as perform kidney transplants and vasectomies.
What They Earn: Female urologists are typically paid $213,094 (£122,669) annually. Their male counterparts, on the other hand, earn more than double that with $433,792 (£250,235).
How to Become One: Entry requirements are the same as those of gastroenterologists and vascular surgeons. You must first become a qualified medical doctor and then specialise in urology.
7. Orthopaedic Surgeons
What They Do: Orthopaedic surgeons surgically treat injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system, such as ligament reconstructions, sports injuries, tumours and congenital disorders.
What They Earn: Men in this profession make almost three times more money than women. In fact, they earn about $439,629 (£253,077) per year, compared to the measly $159,479 (£91,805) that women make.
How to Become One: As with all other medical professions, you’ll need to complete a postgraduate medical degree first. This is followed by two years’ work experience in the public hospital systems, before undergoing a specialist training programme at an accredited hospital.
What They Do: Better known as ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeons, otorhinolaryngologists diagnose and treat disorders of the ear, nose and throat. Tonsillectomies, endoscopies and sino-nasal tract surgery are all common tasks.
What They Earn: As with most other jobs on this list, male ENTs are better paid than their female counterparts. Men make about $445,939 (£257,242) per year, compared to women who make just $200,136 (£115,201).
How to Become One: To specialise in otorhinolaryngology, you’ll need to undergo a specialist training programme from an accredited hospital after having completed a four-year postgraduate course in medicine.
5. Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
What They Do: Obstetricians and gynaecologists, commonly known as OB/GYNs, provide medical and surgical care to women. They have particular expertise in pregnancy, childbirth and disorders of the reproductive system.
What They Earn: The average annual salary for women in this profession in $264,628 (£152,652). For men, it is almost double at $446,507 (£258,846).
How to Become One: To become an obstetrician or a gynaecologist, you first need to become a qualified medical practitioner and then specialise in obstetrics or gynaecology, respectively.
4. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
What They Do: Plastic and reconstructive surgeons are responsible for repairing and reconstructing muscle and tissue injuries to restore form, function and appearance. The profession includes aesthetic, craniofacial and hand surgeons, as well as those who treat burns.
What They Earn: Female plastic and reconstructive surgeons earn about $281,608 (£162,071) per year. Their male counterparts make the most money in the field, raking in $446,507 (£256,973) annually.
How to Become One: To specialise in plastic and reconstructive surgery, you need to register with the RACP and then undergo specialist training at an accredited hospital.
What They Do: Cardiologists diagnose, treat and manage disorders of the cardiovascular or circulatory system. Common disorders they deal with include coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease and congenital heart defects.
What They Earn: Male cardiologists make $453,253 (£262,757), more than double of what women make with $215,920 (£124,266).
How to Become One: The same entry requirements for all other specialist physicians apply to cardiologists. They first need to become qualified as a medical practitioner before specialising in cardiology.
What They Do: Ophthalmologists deal with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eyeball. Their work involves providing medical and surgical care to patients with eye problems.
What They Earn: With an average annual salary of $552,947 (£318,232), male ophthalmologists earn the most money, compared to their female counterparts who earn half of that ($217,242 or £125,027).
How to Become One: To become a fellow ophthalmologist in Australia, you need to successfully complete the postgraduate training programme of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO).
What They Do: Neurosurgeons surgically treat disorders and injuries of the brain, spine and nervous system. They are often considered to be the most respected professionals in medicine, largely because of the extremely high responsibility they have when operating on or near the brain and spine.
What They Earn: Neurosurgeons are the best-paid professionals in Australia. Men earn an average $577,674 (£332,386) per year and women $323,682 (£186,717).
How to Become One: Once you’ve completed a postgraduate medical degree and registered with the RACP, you can undergo a neurosurgery training programme and, ultimately, receive a fellowship.
Is your profession on the list of the highest paying jobs in Australia? Also, what are your thoughts on the gender wage gap in the country, as evidenced by the figures above? Join the conversation down below and let us know!
Also, if you’re thinking about moving abroad to pursue a career and need some inspiration, check out our list of the highest paying jobs in the world.
This article was originally published in March 2015.