The 15 Best States for Doctors

What are you looking for when considering your next place to practice medicine? 

If factors like physician salary, opportunity, competition and medical environment are part of your consideration, WalletHub’s latest ranking of Best States to Practice Medicine should be of interest.

For their 2019 list, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 18 key metrics. Their data sets included such things as: average annual physician pay, adjusted for cost of living; competition for positions; malpractice insurance rates; malpractice payouts; quality of the public hospital system; and how punitive the state medical board is in comparison to others.

Researchers collated the data and divided it into two major categories—Opportunity and Competition, and Medical Environment. Based on these factors, the following states came out on top in the overall rankings:

The 15 Best States to Practice Medicine*

1. Montana
2. Wisconsin
3. Idaho
4. Minnesota
5. Iowa
6. South Dakota
7. Kansas
8. Nebraska
9. Mississippi
10. North Dakota
11. Tennessee
12. Alabama
13. Colorado
14. Nevada
15. Oklahoma

*
Source: WalletHub’s 2019 report, Best & Worst States for Doctors

FIND locum tenens physician jobs in your favorite states across the U.S.

‘Best states’ vs. healthcare powerhouses

Similar to past years, WalletHub’s list of top ranked states for doctors is filled with those in the Midwest, Southern and Western regions of the country, many of which have smaller populations. At the same time, some larger states that seem to dominate the healthcare scene and employ the largest number of physicians appear much farther down the list--including Texas (ranked No. 30), California (No. 39) and New York (ranked last at No. 51).

While these rankings of the best states may surprise some physicians, they are based on factors that could stand a closer look when making their career decisions.

U.S. News Best States Rankings in 2019


Physicians interested in lifestyle factors such as the economy, education, healthcare, the natural environment, and quality of life might also want to consider rankings like the U.S. News Best States 2019 list, which compiled their annual list based on more than 70 metrics. Here are the states that topped their rankings:

The 15 Best States for 2019:*

1. Washington
2. New Hampshire
3. Minnesota
4. Utah
5. Vermont
6. Maryland
7. Virginia
8. Massachusetts
9. Nebraska
10. Colorado
11. Wisconsin
12. New Jersey
13. Florida
14. Iowa
15. North Dakota

*
Source: U.S. News Best States Ranking – 2019

U.S. News
also publishes their annual ranking of Best Places to Live, which highlights specific communities based on desirability, job market, housing affordability index and quality of life. See their 2019 list of 125 Best Places to Live.

One way to try out the top states for doctors

Whether you choose from WalletHub’s list of Best States for Physicians due to their opportunity and medical environment, top-ranked states and cities from the U.S. News lists based on livability factors, or have an entirely different way of evaluating the places you might want to call home, a locum tenens position could allow you to explore new places on your terms.

In fact, a locum assignment may be the best way to try out a different city or state before making a permanent move. You can also compare work environments to determine the best match for your skills, personality and career aspirations.

Locum tenens jobs can last for a few weeks or a few months. They offer competitive pay and free housing and travel arranged by the locum tenens agency (or a travel stipend). Your malpractice insurance is also covered, and your recruiter and team will help with state licensing, credentialing and privileging, to get you where you need to go.

STAFF CARE matches physicians and advanced practitioners with top locum tenens opportunities across the country, based on each candidate’s criteria.

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