Trends in Physician Jobs: Outlook for 2023

Physicians are in demand. With an aging population and a nationwide increase in chronic illnesses, the need for medical care is growing. Doctors and recent medical school graduates have a lot to consider when making a change or starting a new career in medicine. In this article, we look at trends in physician jobs, so you can make an informed decision on your next position based on factors like compensation, environment and flexibility.

Physician compensation in 2022

Understanding salary trends over the past several years can help doctors during a job search and when they reach the negotiation phase of a job offer. In 2022, physicians were on track to earn an average of $339,000 a year, according to a recent report from Medscape. The medical news outlet surveyed 13,000 physicians in more than 29 specialties to compile salary information for the report.

The research also found that salaries have increased 29 percent since 2015. If you are already working in the medical field, knowing that wages are trending higher can be beneficial in evaluating your current compensation.

During the pandemic, wages stayed constant but rose again in 2022. With restrictions lifted, hospitals and medical facilities in many locations are now more adequately staffed. Medscape also notes that most patients have returned to having elective procedures again, which increases the need for full-time medical staff. That’s good news for anyone looking for a position as a physician.

Compensation by specialty

According to the report, doctors who specialize have the highest salaries compared to primary care physicians. It is worth noting that these medical specialties require more education and a longer residency, and, in some cases, there is more competition in the job market. Medical students should research to determine if the investment in additional education will be worth the potential salary gain.

Here are the top five highest-earning specialties for doctors who work full-time, either for a facility or in their own practice:

  • Plastic surgery – $576,000
  • Orthopedics – $557,000
  • Cardiology – $490,000
  • Otolaryngology – $469,000
  • Urology – $461,000

Compensation by state

In other physician job trends, knowing how much physicians make in different states can help them decide where they want to live. The report shows that physicians earn a higher wage in the following states:

  • Kentucky – $364,000
  • Tennessee – $364,000
  • Alabama – $358,000
  • Missouri – $357,000
  • Oregon – $352,000

However, an increased salary can sometimes be the result of less-than-desirable conditions in the area, requiring the facility to pay higher salaries to attract medical workers.

Before moving to a new area, research the state to see if there are factors beyond salary that would make the area appealing. Also, consider your long-term career goals. If you want to work in public health, be sure to research public policy and hospitals in the area. If you aim to work for a private physician practice, look for one that aligns with your goals.

Other trends in physician jobs

Compensation is not the only factor to consider when searching for a new position or planning a career change. Location, work environment and schedules are just as crucial in creating a successful career and healthy work-life balance.

Working environment 

A study by the financial site WalletHub outlined the best U.S. states for physicians based on a more comprehensive system of two key areas: opportunity & competition and the medical environment. The researchers used 19 metrics to rank states, including average wage, hospitals per capita, potential competition, the quality of the public health system, state licensure requirements and the cost of malpractice insurance. The rankings show where physicians can find the right tools, policies and programs to succeed.

These five states had the highest overall scores:

  • South Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • Montana
  • Idaho

Work schedule

Physicians need not commit to a full-time or permanent work schedule. There is always a need for locum tenens in the medical field. As a physician, you can choose where you want to live and how long you want to work each week.

Temporary assignments can help prevent burnout, which is all too common in the medical field. These short-term positions can also help recent graduates determine the practice setting they want to work in – urban or rural, public or private.

Many physicians prefer to work as temporary providers to focus on patient care without the hassles of administrative work. Some like the variety of working in new environments and meeting new people.

Let TinkBird help you find the right position

TinkBird is a comprehensive healthcare recruiting and job placement firm that can help consider the latest trends in physician jobs and align a job search with your goals. We help doctors find the right position, no matter where they are in their careers. We also provide support during the interview and offer negotiation process.

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