Best And Worst States

2017 Best & Worst States for Physicians

Sidney Christiansen, MD

Choosing where you practice geographically can be just as important as the type of practice or type of role you choose. Oftentimes, this choice can boil down to what the environment is for physicians at the state level.

WalletHub conducted a study on the best and worst states for physicians in 2017 to shed some light on what determines whether a state is physician-friendly or not. We have highlighted some of key findings so you can see how your current state compares, or if you’re looking for a job, where you might want to focus your search.

10 Best States

The state rankings were based on several factors, including average annual compensation, hospitals per capita, and public health system quality. You will note that many of the best states for physicians are in the rural Midwest, which reflects higher compensation spurred on by a discrepancy in supply and demand.

1. Iowa – second in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and sixth in ‘Medical Environment’

2. Minnesota – eighth in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and first in ‘Medical Environment’

3. Idaho – third in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and eleventh in ‘Medical Environment’

4. Wisconsin – tenth in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and second in ‘Medical Environment’

5. Kansas –sixth in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and fifth in ‘Medical Environment’

6. South Dakota –first in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and 42nd in ‘Medical Environment’

7. Montana –fourth in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and 22nd in ‘Medical Environment’

8. Mississippi – fifth in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and 23rd in ‘Medical Environment’

9. Alabama – eleventh in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and ninth in ‘Medical Environment’

10. Tennessee – fifteenth in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and fourteenth in ‘Medical Environment’

10 Worst States (& D.C.)

The 10 worst states also share a common trait: they are focused on the east coast in heavily populated areas. While it is certainly possible to get a job in one of these locations, physicians will not experience quality of practice as they would in other states.

51. New York – 50th in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and 51st in ‘Medical Environment’

50. District of Columbia – 51st in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and 41st in ‘Medical Environment’

49. New Jersey – 48th in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and 46th in ‘Medical Environment’

48. Maryland – 44th in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and 50th in ‘Medical Environment’

47. Rhode Island – 43rd in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and 49th in ‘Medical Environment’

46. Massachusetts – 47th in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and 37th in ‘Medical Environment’

45. Connecticut – 49th in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and 28th in ‘Medical Environment’

44. Maine – 42nd in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and 36th in ‘Medical Environment

43. ’Hawaii – 41st in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and 31st in ‘Medical Environment’

42. Delaware – 35th in ‘Opportunity & Competition’ and 48th in ‘Medical Environment’

The states were also ranked in individual categories such as least/most punitive state medical boards, most/least expensive annual malpractice liability insurance, and highest/ lowest projected competition by 2024.

Three Least Punitive State Medical Boards:

1. South Carolina

2. District of Columbia

3. Minnesota

Three Most Punitive State Medical Boards

51. Wyoming

50. Louisiana

49. Ohio

Three Least Expensive Annual Malpractice Liability States

1. Wisconsin

2. Minnesota

3. Kansas

Three Most Expensive Annual Malpractice Liability States

39. New York

38. Illinois

37. Michigan

Lowest Projected Competition by 2024

1. Idaho

2. Nevada

3. Alaska 

Highest Projected Competition by 2024

T-47. Rhode Island

T-47. District of Columbia

T-47. Connecticut

Keep Searching

This study provides an interesting and useful look into the nationwide environment for physician practices. However, just because you want to practice in an area that is ranked poorly in one of the categories does not mean you should give up on your search.

Proximity to family or practicing at a prestigious institution in one of the lower ranked states may be worth a less-favorable environment for some physicians. If you are seeking help in your search and want the guidance of professionals, get in touch with Resolve. We tailor a job search for you that allows you to find jobs not listed on job boards or with recruiters, even in those more difficult metro areas.