Tips for young docs deciding where they want to practice

By Matt Kuhrt

Being a physician may be a high-paying job in general, but making a decision on where to practice can have a marked effect on both the tangible and intangible profits a doctor sees over his or her career, according to an article on WalletHub.

By examining a range of metrics including salary and cost-of-living expectations, relative opportunity, and state-specific malpractice metrics, the web site came up with a scoring methdology designed to gauge the relative attractiveness of each state for physicians looking for a place to practice. They wound up with Mississippi, Iowa and Minnesota in the top spots, while relegating Rhode Island, New York and the District of Columbia to the bottom of the list.

While the combination of take-home pay and cost of living provide a major draw and competition for new doctors remains high, a physician's chosen specialty can also have a significant impact on relative earning power, as previously reported by FiercePracticeManagement.

WalletHub solicited additional tips from an expert panel in order to help guide new doctors as they decide on a specialty and weigh where they wish to locate their practices:

  • Young doctors should balance their income and lifestyle expectations, advised Mark Dame of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. At the same time, graduates should keep in mind that it's easier to move a practice than change their specialty, he said.
  • A flexible specialty such as internal medicine allows physicians a chance to move into a number of subspecialties, according to Holly J. Mattix-Kramer of the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago. She also identified "lifestyle, school quality and pay" as common areas of concern when deciding on a location.
  • Young doctors should aim for the current gaps in the system, which have created demand for primary care physicians in rural areas and inner cities, said Susan Giaimo of Marquette University. 

To learn more:
- read the article