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Best and Worst States For Doctors in 2022

By Anna Mueller, MS21 Dec 2022

On any list of “Best Jobs,” physicians are almost always near the top. It’s a career many aspire to, even during challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s a job that’s in high demand and, in fact, is expected to grow by seven percent by 2028. Physicians are well compensated for the hard work they do and are among the highest paid professions in the U.S.  

But, as it turns out, physicians’ salary and job opportunities also vary significantly across state lines — as do malpractice insurance rates, malpractice award payouts and more.

Every year, WalletHub analyzes the “opportunity and competition” and “medical environment” across all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, to evaluate the best and worst states for physicians.

Here are some of the top findings from the report – including why South Dakota is the best place to practice medicine.

South Dakota Tops the List of Best States for Physicians

In the evaluation of the best states, WalletHub looks at a wide set of data.

Seventy points are awarded for “opportunity and competition” which includes data like the average annual wage of physicians, number of hospitals per capita and insured rate. Thirty points can be added on for “medical environment” which includes factors like quality of the public health system and hospitals' safety grades.

Out of all the states, South Dakota ranks number one in 2022 with the highest combined score between these two categories.

Best States to Practice Medicine

  1. South Dakota
  2. Minnesota
  3. Wisconsin
  4. Montana
  5. Idaho

On the flipside, WalletHub assigned the lowest total scores to New Jersey, Delaware, District of Columbia, New York and Rhode Island.

Highest Average Annual Wage for Physicians

Salaries may be favorable across the board, but there are a few states where a physician’s income goes further. When adjusted for cost of living, these states have the highest annual wage for physicians:

  1. South Dakota
  2. Indiana
  3. Wisconsin
  4. Mississippi
  5. Kentucky

On the other hand, these states had the lowest average wage adjusted to the cost of living: New York, Vermont, California, Massachusetts and District of Columbia.

Medical Boards & Malpractice Liability

These are the least punitive state medical boards, according to WalletHub:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. New York
  3. Connecticut
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. Minnesota

When it comes to malpractice award payouts, these states had the lowest per capita:

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Texas
  3. Tennessee
  4. Michigan
  5. Mississippi

As for annual malpractice liability insurance, the best deals in terms of cost are in:

  1. Nebraska
  2. Wisconsin
  3. Mineesota
  4. Kansas
  5. Idaho

It may be tempting to pack your bags for South Dakota, or any of the other highly ranked states on the list, but know that your job is critical in whichever state you choose.

Now more than ever, physicians are needed and appreciated.

Source: WalletHub

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