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LocumTenens.com Salary Surveys

Critical care physician salary

How much do critical care physicians make?

What is the salary for a critical care physician?

LocumTenens.com conducted its Annual Salary and Employment Survey in May of 2021. Survey respondents represent critical care physicians who practice on a locum tenens basis as well as those with permanent salaries. Compensation results consist of only full-time, permanent employees and consider only annual salary and bonuses.

Average critical care physician's salary in 2020


Historical salary data

How does this year's salary for critical care physicians compare to other years?

The average critical care physician’s salary had steadily been increasing over the years as the specialty became more in-demand, but during the pandemic the role became critical in the battle against COVID-19, and the average salary jumped by 6% since 2019. Critical care physicians now make 23% more annually than they did in 2017.

Almost three-quarters (74%) of critical care physicians said their workload increased during the pandemic and 59% said they were burned out due to COVID-19 last year. This could be why more than half (63%) are planning to take time off work or vacation in 2021. Almost a third (27%) of critical care physicians worked locum tenens in 2020, many who helped out in COVID hot spots throughout the U.S. Another 70% said they did not work locum tenens but would consider it in the future, largely due to flexibility and to make more time for family and friends after a year of being overworked during the pandemic.

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Survey results

Demographic insights by gender

In 2020, the number of female critical care physicians decreased during the pandemic.

LocumTenens Salary Survey - Male - Critical care


9% increase
LocumTenens Salary Survey - Female - Critical care


9% decrease

Where did critical care physicians work in 2020?

More than half of critical care physicians worked in hospitals in 2020.

LocumTenens Salary Survey - Hospital Employed - Critical Care

Hospital employed


LocumTenens Salary Survey - Academic - Critical Care



LocumTenens Salary Survey - Community center - Critical care

Group practice



Critical care physicians who took this survey

Generation X (critical care physicians born between 1965 and 1980) make up more than half of all respondents. In 2020 most critical care physicians worked in the southeast and southwest. More than half (63%) were full-time employed physicians, though almost a third performed as locum tenens. Almost half (41%) have plans to change jobs within the next year. To learn more about how physician trends due to COVID-19, view the full report here.

By region

Years in practice

Employment status

How old are critical care physicians?


Invitations for the survey were emailed to a database of more than 220,000 healthcare professionals in May 2021. Some recipients had been placed by LocumTenens.com, and some had not. There was a total of 2300 respondents, both physicians and advanced practitioners, who were self-selected and spanned all 50 states.