Due to the numerous years of education and training that are required for practicing this profession, and also due to the complex qualities and skills that these practitioners must have, the physicians who deal with the blood and the blood-forming organs enjoy some of the highest wages paid in the healthcare system. The best paying country for this occupation is the USA, where the average hematologist salary is around $250,000 per year.
Hematologist Job Description
The hematologist is the medical doctor specialized in preventing, diagnosing and treating the disorders of the blood and of the organs and tissues that are related to the blood:
- bone marrow (the soft fatty tissue inside bones which produces the blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets);
- blood vessels (the tubes which transport blood to the various organs and tissues of the human body);
- spleen (the abdominal organ which produces, filters and stores blood – produces lymphocytes, a type of white blood cells, eliminates the old red blood cells and creates reserves of red and white blood cells);
- lymph nodes (the small oval or kidney-shaped organs of the lymphatic system that produce white blood cells – lymphocytes – during infections and disorders);
- thymus (the temporary organ which produces a type of blood cells – T lymphocytes – during childhood).
Apart from the aforementioned organs and tissues, there are also other organs of the human body which are involved in the production and filtration of the blood, but there are other physicians who are specialized in treating those organs. For example:
- liver is another organ that plays a role in the production of red blood cells, but the medical doctor who is specialized in diagnosing, treating and preventing the liver disorders is called hepatologist;
- kidneys filter the blood, regulate blood pressure and stimulate the production of the red blood cells (by secreting the erythropoietin hormone), but the physicians specialized in kidney conditions are called nephrologists.
Illnesses, Disorders and Conditions
Some of the disorders and illnesses that the hematologists deal with are:
- anemia (medical condition that occurs when blood weakens its capacity to deliver oxygen to the body tissues, due to too few or poor red blood cells or hemoglobin);
- hemophilia (illness in which blood’s capacity to clot is weakened very much and, consequently, the sufferer is predisposed to hemorrhages, bleeding a lot from even small wounds);
- leukemia (a blood cancer in which normal blood cells aren’t produced anymore because too many white blood cells are produced);
- lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system);
- myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow);
- other disorders of bleeding and coagulation, like thrombosis or thrombophilia.
Since the hematologists diagnose, prevent and treat cancerous diseases related to the blood (leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma), they are often specialized also in oncology. They can also subspecialize in certain disorders (such as the bleeding ones), in certain procedures (like blood transfusion) or in treating certain blood-related organs or tissues (bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, etc.). Obviously, the hematologist income is influenced by the number and types of the subspecialties in which this practitioner trains.
These professionals treat patients of all ages, from new-born babies to teenagers, adults and elderlies. However, they can subspecialize in the pediatric subspecialty of their field, in order to become experts in preventing, diagnosing and treating the hematological disorders of the children.
Although these physicians are trained in both clinical and laboratory aspects of hematology (the medical specialty that studies the structure, functions and diseases of blood and blood-forming tissues), they don’t always perform the blood tests and other diagnostic tests that they need for identifying the health status or the diagnostics of their patients.
That’s because these medical doctors are assisted by hematology technicians. These technicians work in special laboratories, where they perform routine tests and procedures ordered by the hematologists: collect the samples of blood and other tissues, and analyze them, by operating sophisticated medical equipment, like microscopes, cell counters and special computers. These technicians are usually supervised by higher-trained laboratory staff – like immunohematology technologists and blood bank technologists – who carry out more important tasks, such as: preparing blood for transfusions, collecting blood and classifying it by type. 
Most of the hematologists work directly with patients, in various healthcare settings: public or private hospitals, clinics, offices of physicians, etc. Some of these medical doctors work in blood banks – in laboratories. They can also be involved in the research area and they can teach blood-related disciplines at medical schools. They can supervise the medical students, the physicians who subspecialize in this field and other healthcare practitioners – in the United States of America, such medical doctors are called “attending hematologists”, while the equivalent position in the United Kingdom, Ireland and some states of the Commonwealth is “consultant hematologist”, who usually offers advice to other physicians about the health problems of the blood.
When working directly with patients, the “blood physicians” often collaborate with other medical doctors – for determining the precise causes, diagnostics and treatments for their patients – and also with other health professionals, like technicians and technologists.
What Does a Hematologist Do ?
The hematologist pay is so huge also due to the numerous responsibilities that this specialists has. The precise duties of these healthcare practitioners depend on their scope of practice. Those who work directly with patients (in hospitals, clinics, etc.) perform the following tasks, which are, in general, common to all the physicians specialized in a field:
- consult their patients and discuss with them about the symptoms, diet, behavior, habits, medical history, etc;
- prescribe diagnostic tests, like determining the:
- number of the: red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leucocytes, lymphocytes, monocytes), thrombocytes;
- value of the hemoglobin;
- concentrations of minerals and proteins (magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium);
- clotting time;
- bleeding time;
- perform some of the medical tests and procedures that are needed for identifying the correct diagnostic;
- analyze the results of the tests that they carried out and also the results of the tests performed by hematology technicians or technologists;
- determine the proper diagnostic and treatment, which may consist in:
- diet adjustments, regarding the foods that the patients should eat and also those that should be avoided;
- bone marrow transplant;
- radiotherapy and chemotherapy – in case of cancer;
- blood transfusion;
- explain the identified health problems and the treatment to the patients, and offer them diet advice;
- perform or supervise some of the treatment procedures;
- monitor the patients throughout the treatment duration;
- learn about the latest findings in their field.
The hematologists who work in blood banks have other responsibilities, such as:
- making sure that the blood donations are performed in an appropriate way;
- ensuring that the blood collections are safely kept;
- taking care of the laboratories, medical appliances and equipment;
- supervising the laboratory work;
- advising the technologists, technicians and other scientists.
How to Become a Hematologist
The hematologist is a medical doctor specialized in hematology, which is a subspecialty of internal medicine. This means that the candidates for this position must become physicians, then specialize in internal medicine and then subspecialize in hematology.
In the United States of America, as indicated on bls.gov, the website of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics , any person who wants to become a physician has to complete:
- at least four years of undergraduate study (usually, in a college), which should include courses related to medicine, like: biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics;
- four years of an accredited medical school, concluding them by earning a medical degree (either M.D. or D.O.).
In the USA, the specialization of a medical doctor in a certain field is achieved by completing a residency program in that field, while the subspecialization consists in completing a fellowship program.
Since, in the United States, hematology is a subspecialty of internal medicine, the future “blood doctor” must complete a residency in internal medicine – this specialty training program lasts for three years – and then complete a fellowship program in hematology or hematology-oncology, which lasts two years.
Adding all these years of education and practice, we deduce that the persons who would like to work as physicians specialized in the blood and the blood-forming tissues must learn and train for at least thirteen years, after finishing high-school. This big number of years of study and training justifies the great value of the wages of the hematologists.
Hematologist Education, Training and Certifications
In all countries, in order to earn the right to legally work as medical doctors, all candidates must:
- have both theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as a huge set of skills, which are gained through education and training;
- earn a license – the certification is not mandatory;
- pass some exams.
To be more precise, in the United States, the theoretical knowledge required for this occupation focused on blood and blood-forming tissues is earned especially during the college years and the first two years of the medical school, when, according to bls.gov, the medical students study in classrooms and laboratories sciences like: anatomy, pharmacology, biochemistry, psychology.
The practical knowledge and the skills are gained, in the USA, during:
- the first two years of the medical school, when the students gain the basic skills: taking medical history, examining patients, diagnosing diseases;
- the last two years of the medical school, when the medical students – supervised by experienced physicians – work in hospitals and clinics, examining and treating patients;
- the specialty training program – the residency in internal medicine –, when the residents practice medicine in clinics or hospitals, under the supervision of highly trained physicians, specialized in this specialty: internal medicine;
- the subspecialty training program – the fellowship in hematology or hematology-oncology –, during which the fellows practice one of these subspecialties under the direct supervision of physicians who are experts in these fields.
In the USA, every physician must be licensed in the state where he or she practices; earning such a license means passing some exams. Although it is not compulsory, the board certification is useful, as it increases the chances to get a good job.
The most important skills and qualities that these professionals should have are:
- mastery in hematology – they must have comprehensive knowledge and training in this subspecialty of practice, as any mistake can threat the patient’s life;
- eye for detail – as they have to analyze the results of various diagnostic tests and even perform some surgical procedures;
- eagerness to learn – all physicians have to inform themselves continually of the latest findings in their subspecialties of practice;
- good communication skills – they must not only talk to their patients and explain their health issues, but also interact with technologists, technicians and other physicians;
- patience – needed especially when the patients explain their symptoms and what they eat;
- compassion – needed mostly in the cases of cancers in advanced stages;
- good problem-solving skills – for determining the appropriate diagnostics and treatments, knowing the symptoms, the medical histories and the results of the medical procedures and tests.
Pros and Cons of Being a Hematologist
Working as a physician specialized in blood and blood-forming organs has some significant advantages, like:
- generous remuneration packages – those wondering “how much does a hematologist make?“ should know that these professionals enjoy some of the highest wages paid in the healthcare system, especially when subspecialized also in oncology;
- great sense of fulfillment, when noticing the satisfaction and gratitude of the patients treated of cancer;
- chance of working with sophisticated computers and medical equipment.
The primary drawback of this job refers to the situations of cancer in advanced stage, when it is pretty difficult to inform the patients and their family about the gravity of the diagnostic.
Hematologist Job Growth
The job prospects for this occupation are pretty good, thanks to:
- the continuous scientific progress in medicine, hematology and in the fields related to this subspecialty;
- the increasing number of people who get sick with cancer, because of the: stress, pollution, tobacco smoke, chemicals ingested, lack of physical activity, obesity;
- the investments in the modernization of the laboratories which deal with the blood and blood-forming organs;
- the health reforms of some countries, which include more blood tests and cancer treatments in all the insurance programs.
As indicated on bls.gov, in the decade 2014 ~ 2024, the employment of all the physicians and surgeons is estimated to increase with 14%.
Hematologist Salary – How Much Do Hematologists Make?
The hematologist salaries are really huge, especially in the USA, where these specialists can earn six-figure wages even at the beginning of their career, mostly when they are also subspecialized in oncology or other field, like pediatrics. So, their wages are influenced by the number and types of the subspecialties that they practice. Experience is another factor that affects the level of their earnings.
The country and region where they work largely determines how much they earn. The type of the healthcare setting where they practice also has an impact on their remunerations. The sector of employment is another important factor of influence; the physicians working in private hospitals and clinics usually enjoy higher wages than their counterparts who practice in public healthcare facilities.
The “blood doctors” who work full-time are, obviously, better compensated than those practicing part-time. Especially when they are self-employed, the number and types of the skills and qualities that they possess has a significant impact on their earnings. The excellent communication skills are a “must” when it comes to running your own business; proficiency and compassion are also important, even when working in the public sector.
Hematologist Salary in the USA
In the United States of America, the average salary of a hematologist was somewhere around $250,000/year in 2016, and in 2017 it is expected to increase slightly. This is equivalent to an hourly income of approximately $120, since a full-time year is considered to have 2,080 hours of work. When practicing also the oncology subspecialty, the wages of these professionals are a little higher: around $270,000 per year.
Comparison to other healthcare professionals
The average income of these “blood experts” is very similar to the average salary of the oncologists, which is $248,000/year in the USA, according to payscale.com. However, they earn significantly less than the neurosurgeons or orthopedic surgeons, who enjoy, in 2017, annual wages of over $350,000 on average.
The blood physicians earn, on average:
- as much as the dermatologists, whose mean yearly pay is around $240,000;
- a little more than the cardiologists, who earned, in 2016, about $217,000/year on average;
- over three times more than the chiropractors, who are remunerated with around $70,000/yr. on avg.
In the United States, the best paid 10% of the blood physicians earn over $450,000 each year, while the lowest compensated 10% of them take home at most $157,000 per annum.
Hematologist Salary in the UK
Those who ask themselves “how much does a hematologist make in the United Kingdom?”, should know that the average annual pay of these practitioners is somewhere around £73,000 in the UK; expressed in US dollars, their mean yearly income is about 91,000 USD.
Hematologist Salary in Canada
In Canada, the blood doctors are remunerated with 190,000 CAD (142,000 USD) per year on average, which is equivalent to an hourly pay of approximately 91 CAD (70 USD). Their income varies according to the level of experience, region and specialties of practice, as well as the type of the healthcare facility and especially the type of the sector of employment – public or private.
Hematologist Salary in Australia
The average annual wages enjoyed by the blood physicians in Australia is somewhere in the region of 125,000 AUD (94,000 USD), which corresponds to a monthly income of about 10,420 AUD (7,800 USD).
The best paying country for the physicians specialized in dealing with the blood and the blood-forming organs is, by far, the United States of America, where the average hematologist salary is around $250,000 per year. The huge level of their earnings is justified by the great number of years of education and training that are necessary, along with the complex skills and qualities that these professionals must have.
 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, “Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition”, Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-and-clinical-laboratory-technologists-and-technicians.htm (visited March 22, 2017).
 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, “Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition”, Physicians and Surgeons,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm (visited April 10, 2017).