MD-PhD Career Options

Jun 01, 2020

Following the completion of your MD-PhD, you will have access to a number of careers, depending on the residency path you choose. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, holding a dual MD-PhD degree can make you a more competitive applicant for entry into top residency programs. The following are a few of the common careers you will have access to with your degree as well as corresponding salary information.

Careers Options and Salaries for MD-PhD Holders

Jobs Median Salary Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Professor $97,320 (2019, for all postsecondary health specialties teachers)* 23% (for all postsecondary health specialties teachers)
Surgeon $278,961 (2020)** 1%
Radiologist $303,771 (2020)** 8% (for physicians and surgeons, all other)
Psychiatrist $206,479 (2020)** 16%
Neurologist $219,816 (2020)** 8% (for physicians and surgeons, all other)
Medical Scientist $88,790 (2019)* 8%

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **,

Career Descriptions for MD-PhD Holders


Becoming a professor at a medical school is one option that will open up to you following the completion of your program. In this role, you will help build an education program at your school. You will be called upon to provide instructional lectures in some instances or be asked to provide inpatient and outpatient clinical services in other situations. Work in this role is diverse and you could also be asked to participate in grand rounds. In this role, graduates of MD-PhD programs bring their combination of hands on experience and knowledge of the medical field to instruct college-level students.


General surgeons must be able to perform a range of medical surgeries. Though they lack specialization in specific surgery fields, such as neurosurgery, they are trained to operate on a variety of patients with a range of conditions. Surgeons must also be successful in engaging with patients, following up with them, and accurately documenting outcomes. They must also educate patients and their families about the risk of surgery. An MD-PhD program graduate draws upon the skills and experience they receive during their surgery residency in this role.


This career path is for MD-PhD holders with a radiology residency background and allows them to draw upon their learning to interpret images taken by x-rays and other technologies. Radiologists analyze medical images, identify problems, and arrive at recommendations for improving a patient's condition. They can also prescribe the use of radiation therapy to treat illnesses like cancer. Radiologists can work as doctors in general hospitals and clinics or at specialty radiology and imaging clinics. Individuals in this role must be adept at the interpretation process and will need to inform patients about the potential risks of certain imaging techniques and procedures.


Individuals who pursue positions as psychiatrists deal with patients' psychological conditions. They are qualified to diagnose and treat these conditions with the use of medication. Psychiatrists must evaluate patients and arrive at treatment plans that help improve their mental health. Besides medication, psychiatrists can also suggest forms of therapeutic treatment. Individuals with an MD-PhD can choose a psychiatry residency and use the knowledge and experience acquired to evaluate and treat individuals with psychological issues.


Neurologists provide neurological care. This process includes examinations, diagnoses, and referrals for patients. In the course of treatment, neurologists must examine patients for a variety of neurological conditions and provide advice regarding treatments. Neurologists must also provide a prognosis and discuss potential side effects of medication. The goal of the neurologist is to create a care plan tailored to a patient's neurological condition and monitor progress. An MD-PhD program graduate who chooses a neurology residency can use their experience learning about human neural systems to evaluate and treat individuals with neurological issues.

Medical Scientist

Graduates of an MD-PhD program have learned to perform medical research during their general program. As such, they are well suited to a role as a medical scientist. These individuals conduct studies and trials to assess the outcomes of treatment methods for disease in human populations. They may also test various medical devices to see if they improve health outcomes among patients.

Your MD-PhD opens the door to careers such as education, surgery, radiology, and psychiatry. These career paths will ask you to draw upon your medical knowledge and teaching or research skills while also working with patients.

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