Here's how much 30 types of hospital workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic are paid

  • Jobs in healthcare, medical research, and hospitals have been especially important amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Nurses, doctors, and other hospital staff are at risk of catching the virus themselves as they come into daily contact with patients.
  • Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bloomberg found last year that four out of the top five highest-paying jobs in the US are in the medical field.
  • Because physicians and surgeons topped the list (along with general practitioners) with salaries over $200,000, Business Insider looked into the earnings of employees at a typical hospital to see how their coworkers compared using the most recent data. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Jobs in healthcare, medical research, and hospitals have been especially important amid the pandemic. Workers in these jobs have been treating patients as cases continue to rise, working on a vaccine, and researching the novel coronavirus.  

The outbreak has had an effect on almost everyone's daily life in some way, such as schools and businesses closing down to stem the spread. Hospital staff in particular are confronting the virus every day and putting their own health at risk to help test or treat those infected by coronavirus. The US has had over 11 million cases per John Hopkins' coronavirus tracker, and some states are adding stricter rules as cases continue to surge right before Thanksgiving. There were over 166,000 cases recorded on November 16, according to the tracker.

Additionally, there has been recent progress in developing a vaccine against COVID-19. The pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its partner BioNTech has reported that their experimental vaccine is more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19. The biotech firm Moderna has also reported that its experimental vaccine is 94.5% effective.

According to a Bloomberg report from last year citing data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, four out of the top five highest-paid jobs in the US are in the medical field, with physicians, surgeons, and general practitioners reporting salaries over $200,000.

We decided to look at how their coworkers fare in hospitals based on the latest industry-specific data from May 2019.

Business Insider took a look at typical salaries in 30 selected hospitals jobs with various job duties. Hospitals are a major part of the giant US healthcare industry, with spending on the sector as a whole set to reach nearly 20% of the US economy.

Hospitals have long been a big employer. BLS figures indicate that hospitals employ around 5.15 million Americans, according to the most recent data in October.

People who work in hospitals perform a wide range of jobs, including nurses who take care of patients, lab technologists who run complicated tests to detect disease, and radiology technicians who manage the scans that can help diagnose patients.

Those skilled occupations could explain why hospital workers tend to make more than the average healthcare worker. The average hospital worker made over $34 an hour and worked just over 37 hours a week on average, according to government data from September 2020.

There are about 6,146 hospitals across the US today, according to industry group the American Hospital Association, ranging from nonprofit community ones to for-profit hospitals and hospitals run by state and local governments or the federal government.

Here are some of the more prominent occupations at hospitals, and how much they make as of May 2019, ranked by their annual average salaries. We also included each job's description as defined by O*NET.

A previous version of this article used May 2018 data and noted that figures were median annual earnings, but these figures were average annual earnings.

30. Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners, earn an average of $30,690 a year, and there are 77,890 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Keep buildings in clean and orderly condition. Perform heavy cleaning duties, such as cleaning floors, shampooing rugs, washing walls and glass, and removing rubbish. Duties may include tending furnace and boiler, performing routine maintenance activities, notifying management of need for repairs, and cleaning snow or debris from sidewalk.

29. Orderlies earn an average of $30,740 a year, and there are 38,690 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Transport patients to areas such as operating rooms or X-ray rooms using wheelchairs, stretchers, or moveable beds. May maintain stocks of supplies or clean and transport equipment.

28. Nursing assistants earn an average of $32,550 a year, and there are 406,350 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Provide basic patient care under direction of nursing staff. Perform duties such as feed, bathe, dress, groom, or move patients, or change linens. May transfer or transport patients. Includes nursing care attendants, nursing aides, and nursing attendants.

27. Cooks (institution and cafeteria) earn an average of $32,990 a year, and there are 34,700 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias; clean and inspect galley equipment, kitchen appliances, and work areas to ensure cleanliness and functional operation.

26. Phlebotomists earn an average of $35,300 a year, and there are 48,820 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Draw blood for tests, transfusions, donations, or research. May explain the procedure to patients and assist in the recovery of patients with adverse reactions.

25. Security guards earn an average of $37,880 a year, and there are 43,640 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules. May operate X-ray and metal detector equipment.

24. Emergency medical technicians and paramedics earn an average of $39,760 a year, and there are 48,680 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Assess injuries, administer emergency medical care, and extricate trapped individuals. Transport injured or sick persons to medical facilities.

23. Pharmacy technicians earn an average of $40,000 a year, and there are 69,270 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist. May measure, mix, count out, label, and record amounts and dosages of medications according to prescription orders.

22. Medical dosimetrists, medical records specialists, and health technologists and technicians (all other) earn an average of $49,330 a year, and there are 122,000 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Compile, process, and maintain medical records of hospital and clinic patients in a manner consistent with medical, administrative, ethical, legal, and regulatory requirements of the health care system. 

21. Surgical technologists earn an average of $49,810 a year, and there are 79,720 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. May help set up operating room, prepare and transport patients for surgery, adjust lights and equipment, pass instruments and other supplies to surgeons and surgeon's assistants, hold retractors, cut sutures, and help count sponges, needles, supplies, and instruments.

20. Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians earn an average of $56,840 a year, and there are 159,580 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Perform complex medical laboratory tests for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. May train or supervise staff. Operate, calibrate, or maintain equipment used in quantitative or qualitative analysis, such as spectrophotometers, calorimeters, flame photometers, or computer-controlled analyzers.

19. Dietitians and nutritionists earn an average of $63,450 a year, and there are 21,920 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan and conduct food service or nutritional programs to assist in the promotion of health and control of disease. May supervise activities of a department providing quantity food services, counsel individuals, or conduct nutritional research.

18. Radiologic technologists and technicians earn an average of $63,980 a year, and there are 125,310 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Take X-rays and CAT scans or administer nonradioactive materials into patient's blood stream for diagnostic purposes. Includes technologists who specialize in other scanning modalities.

17. Public relations specialists earn an average of $64,370 a year, and there are 4,800 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Engage in promoting or creating an intended public image for individuals, groups, or organizations. May write or select material for release to various communications media.

16. Healthcare social workers earn an average of $65,600 a year, and there are 50,430 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Provide individuals, families, and groups with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses. Services include advising family care givers, providing patient education and counseling, and making referrals for other services. May also provide care and case management or interventions designed to promote health, prevent disease, and address barriers to access to healthcare.

15. Registered nurses earn an average of $79,400 a year, and there are 1,816,170 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. Administer nursing care to ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled patients. May advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management. Licensing or registration required.

14. Nuclear medicine technologists earn an average of $79,920 a year, and there are 13,230 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies using a variety of radioisotope equipment. Prepare stock solutions of radioactive materials and calculate doses to be administered by radiologists. Subject patients to radiation. Execute blood volume, red cell survival, and fat absorption studies following standard laboratory techniques.

13. Physical therapists earn an average of $91,250 a year, and there are 64,840 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.

12. Physician assistants earn an average of $113,420 a year, and there are 31,300 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients. May, in some cases, prescribe medication. Must graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants.

11. Nurse practitioners earn an average of $115,770 a year, and there are 51,120 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic illness, independently or as part of a healthcare team. May focus on health promotion and disease prevention. May order, perform, or interpret diagnostic tests such as lab work and X-rays. May prescribe medication. Must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education.

10. Medical and health-services managers earn an average of $123,930 a year, and there are 136,030 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate medical and health services in hospitals, clinics, managed care organizations, public health agencies, or similar organizations.

9. Pharmacists earn an average of $127,210 a year, and there are 82,050 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. May advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosage, interactions, and side effects of medications.

8. Financial managers earn an average of $147,330 a year, and there are 10,160 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate accounting, investing, banking, insurance, securities, and other financial activities of a branch, office, or department of an establishment.

7. General internal medicine physicians earn an average of $172,210 a year, and there are 12,910 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who diagnose and provide non-surgical treatment of diseases and injuries of internal organ systems. Provide care mainly for adults who have a wide range of problems associated with the internal organs.

6. Nurse anesthetists earn an average of $193,090 a year, and there are 14,880 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Administer anesthesia, monitor patients' vital signs, and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia. May assist anesthesiologists, surgeons, other physicians, or dentists. Must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education.

5. Family medicine physicians earn an average of $204,700 a year, and there are 20,490 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases and injuries that commonly occur in the general population. May refer patients to specialists when needed for further diagnosis or treatment.

4. Obstetricians and gynecologists earn an average of $209,930 a year, and there are 3,870 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who provide medical care related to pregnancy or childbirth and those who diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases of women, particularly those affecting the reproductive system. 

3. Anesthesiologists earn an average of $210,570 a year, and there are 4,160 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who administer anesthetics prior to, during, or after surgery or other medical procedures.

2. Chief executives earn a median of $216,300 a year, and there are 5,260 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Determine and formulate policies and provide overall direction of companies or private and public sector organizations within guidelines set up by a board of directors or similar governing body. Plan, direct, or coordinate operational activities at the highest level of management with the help of subordinate executives and staff managers.

1. Surgeons earn a median of $221,690 a year, and there are 8,460 employed in hospitals.

What they do, according to O*NET: Physicians who treat diseases, injuries, and deformities by invasive, minimally invasive, or noninvasive surgical methods, such as using instruments, appliances, or by manual manipulation.

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