Grey’S Anatomy: Which Character Has The Best Paid Job?


As a medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy is full of surgeons, and their salaries might be of interest to fans of the series. Grey’s Anatomy follows a group of interns on their journey to become doctors. While it begins with Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and her class, new interns and new doctors are added throughout the series as new medical mysteries are uncovered, and new relationships are formed in the show. While the interns aren’t making a hefty salary at the start of their careers, that changes over time.

Medicine is a lucrative profession that only attacks the brightest of minds. As expected, the salaries of doctors and surgeons are usually higher than those of many other professionals. However, not all positions in the medical field are equal, and some doctors handle more sensitive cases than others, and, as a result, they get paid a little bit more. Being in a leadership position in a hospital also enables a doctor to earn a little bit more than their similarly skilled colleagues. So, who has more dollars than they can count, and how much does Meredith Grey make?

Taryn Helm
Does Dermatology Deliver the Dough?

While Taryn Helm (Jaicy Elliot) hasn’t had many independent storylines of her own, one thing that fans have noticed is that she could be one of the most promising surgeons in the years to come. As a resident, Helm has had the pleasure of learning from some of Grey’s Anatomy’s best general surgeons, including Meredith Grey, Richard Webber, and Miranda Bailey. Although she might only be earning around $64,000 a year (according to the medical site, The Do), if the residency program wasn’t shut down, she could have made five times that as she moved up.

When she was last seen in Grey’s Anatomy, however, she was bartending. With the residency program finished for the time being, she had to find a new way to make money. Taryn said she made even more bartending than she had as a resident and didn’t experience nearly the same level of stress, which could be a win-win for her if she decides not to go back into medicine.

Jo Wilson
From Intern to Attending – A Financial Climb?

Although Jo (Camilla Luddington) had once been a top General surgeon and attending, the 17th season saw her decide to drop this specialty in favor of becoming an OB/GYN. Ever since Jo has become a resident again, viewers are delighted to see how she has become a lot happier and more passionate about her career (especially since Jo had been through a lot of heartbreaking events in her life).

While Jo wouldn’t be earning as much as her other colleagues and friends since her salary is set around $296,101 a year, this isn’t something she would really care about. Although she does have enough money saved up in case of emergencies, Jo isn’t greedy or shallow. For her, helping someone or bringing new life into the world means a lot more to her. Of course, if she opted to specialize in a particular women’s health field, her salary could also increase.

April Kepner
Trauma Surgeon Salary Satisfaction

April (Sarah Drew) began her time on Grey’s Anatomy as a resident like so many other characters. She worked her way up and became a successful doctor. After a lengthy absence, April returned to the show in its seventeenth season. She had previously resigned from her position as the attending trauma surgeon in order to focus on charity work across clinics for the homeless in Seattle.

A trauma surgeon in America makes an average of $418,674 a year.

She also served as Chief Resident during her first stint in the series. A trauma surgeon in America makes an average of $418,674 a year. The fact that April is willing to let go of that much money to help less-fortunate citizens is admirable. Those who have salaried positions in non-profit organizations can make anywhere from $40,000 to $70,000 a year, which is a big drop from what April would have been making before.

Owen Hunt
Does Trauma Chief Translate to Top Pay?

Owen (Kevin McKidd) is currently serving as the Head of Trauma after leaving his previous position of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital’s Chief of General Surgery. His career is full of highlights in the medical field; he was an army surgeon many years ago, but he was discharged after his entire platoon ended up dead.

The surgeon is known for his ability to improvise. He is able to use simple items such as pens during surgery when the proper equipment is unavailable. Surgeons typically make more than other emergency room doctors, so Owen is likely to make more than many of the other characters. Since the average salary of a trauma surgeon is around $418,674, it’s likely that Owen just gets a little bit more than that since he is the Head of the department.

Alex Karev
Pediatric Surgical Attending – Earning Power?

Alex (Justin Chambers) did a great job as the Chief of Surgery at Pacific Northwest General Hospital after starting as an intern in the very first episode of the series. However, he soon found that he had to resign himself from this position when the Catherine Fox Foundation bought the hospital and only kept parts of it open. Since Alex had been fired from Grey-Sloan Memorial, many fans wondered where his career would take him next.

Eventually, Alex revealed to his loved ones that he was leaving and had taken a position at Shawnee Memorial as an attending Pediatric surgeon. This would mean that he would be earning around $464,762 a year. Considering how hard he worked to make himself one of the most prestigious surgeons, Alex deserved every bit of success that headed his way.

Miranda Bailey
The High Stakes of General Surgery

Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) is the current Chief of Surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, a position she inherited from Owen when he stepped down. She had initially been passed over for the position by Richard despite wanting the promotion badly, but she eventually got it. Miranda has had an interesting career, spending the bulk of her medical career at the same hospital where she interned before the events of the series began.


Yet, she is also charitable, as she once opened a free clinic at Seattle Grace to care for patients who couldn’t afford treatment. Other than that, she’s been focused on her job, which does pay well, with an average annual sum of $477,033. Bailey deserves every penny she makes as she’s often the person tasked with keeping interns in line and having to fix the mistakes of less experienced doctors.

Arizona Robbins
Fetal Surgery – A Lucrative Niche?

Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) is also a board member at the hospital during her time on the show. Her daily job is that of Head of Fetal Surgery and the Attending Pediatric Surgeon, which she was promoted to after the death of Dr. Jordan Kenley. Her salary ranges between $480,000 and $500,000.

Arizona is said to have been extremely bright from a young age. Not only was she the best student in her class, but she was also Chief Resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital during her fifth year in medical school. When she first gets hired, Richard tells Bailey “she’s the best that anyone’s seen in a long time.” When she leaves the show in season 14, it’s likely that she would be pursuing a similar line of work in New York and would make a similar salary.

Atticus Lincoln
Cardiothoracic Surgery – A Salary Powerhouse?

Although Atticus Lincoln (Chris Carmack) might not have been on the show as long as the other surgeons, it’s not surprising that he is close to becoming one of the most likable characters on Grey’s Anatomy. Ever since he appeared in season 15, fans have been highly impressed by his talents and skills as Link has proven to be one of the best and most underrated surgeons the show has ever had.

Although there haven’t been as many Orthopedic cases as General ones, Link’s specialty is still one of the toughest and most complicated so it shouldn’t be a shock that he earns around $504,250 a year as the Head of Orthopedic Surgery. Prior to his work on the show, the character was said to be the personal surgeon for the Seattle Mariners. In that position, he would have made about the same amount of money as well.

Richard Webber
Chief of Surgery – Does the Power Come with Pay?

Richard (James Pickens Jr.) has been a boss for most of his medical career. That means he’s been earning well for most of his life. At the moment, he is a Residency Program Director and attending general surgeon at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. He is also the Chief Medical Officer at the Catherine Fox Foundation. Those are all positions that come with a hefty dose of respect and a decent salary.

Previously, he served as Chief of Surgery at both Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital and Seattle Grace Hospital. The average salary for a Residency Program Director is $190,000, while the salary for a Chief Medical Officer is $420,290 on average. In total, Richard makes about $610,290. That’s definitely a respectable sum for a medical professional under as much stress as he is on a regular basis.

Meredith Grey
Head of General Surgery – At the Top of the Earnings Chart?

Grey’s Anatomy began as Meredith Grey’s story before expanding to include her classmates, and then the interns that came after her. After years of working her way up, she became the Head of General Surgery. The Head of General Surgery and board member at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital has had quite the dream career. She begins her professional journey as a surgical intern at Seattle Grace Hospital as a surgical intern where life is a bit easy for her compared to other interns, as her mother is respected in the industry.

She then joins the neurosurgery team, but, after making a mistake and being outed by a drunk Alex, she opts to specialize in general surgery. The average salary for a Head Of General Surgery in the United States is $477,033. Senior doctors who serve on hospital boards earn up to an additional $340,000 a year. This brings the total to $817.033.

Cristina Yang
Cardiothoracic Surgical Expertise – A High-Paying Path?

Before her departure from the show, Cristina (Sandra Oh) was a Chief Medical Officer and a Cardiothoracic attending of Grey-Sloan Memorial. While it is unknown what her new salary would be at the Klausman Institute, Cristina would still have a reasonable amount saved up due to the fact that she earned an average $488,700 as a cardiothoracic surgeon and $420,290 as a Chief Medical Officer a year. This means she would have been earning around $908,990 a year.

Cristina decided to become a surgeon after her father bled to death in front of her. Early in her career, she joins Seattle Grace as a surgical intern. She then joined The Mayo Clinic on a cardiothoracic surgery fellowship. She then rejoins Seattle Grace before going to work in Switzerland thanks to her ex-fiancé Preston Burke.

Derek Shepherd
Renowned Neurosurgeon – Earning Big Bucks?

Derek (Patrick Dempsey) has quite the resume. A world-famous neurosurgeon, he served as the Head of Neurosurgery, as well being the board director at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital before his untimely death. Being a star surgeon has its advantages. It’s said that his services resulted in $2 million dollars worth of yearly revenue for the hospital, which would make him an important part of the hospital staff.

He even manages to develop brain sensors, a feat that catches the attention of the President of the United States, who requests him to spearhead a sensitive brain mapping project. The former Head of Neurosurgery made an average of $630,801 a year, but being on the board brings in an additional $340,000. His participation in special projects takes him near the million-dollar mark during his lifetime.

Jackson Avery
Double Board Certified Surgeon – Wealthy by Design?

After joining Grey Sloan from Mercy West Medical Center during the merger of the two hospitals, Jackson (Jesse Williams) went on to become the attending ENT (Otolaryngology Department) and the Head of Plastic Surgery. This was a position that earned him $407,148 a year, which is absolutely a respectable amount compared to his colleagues. That’s not the cap on his salary though.

After Jackson decided to leave Seattle to take over the Catherine Fox Foundation, he is likely the richest character in the entire show. Since the company owns “30% of the hospitals in the USA,” controls “480 million dollars for the advancement of medicine” and Jackson is a founding member and the Chairman, it’s likely that he will be earning a few million, definitely making him the character in Grey’s Anatomy with the most lucrative job.