Industry Trends Physician

Top 10 highest paying states for physicians in 2022

Are you thinking about relocating to a new state? Or maybe you’re considering a career move that will increase your earning potential? You might even be wondering where to go on your next locum tenens assignment. Regardless of your personal situation, knowing which states pay the most will help you get the pay you deserve. Here’s the lowdown on the top 10 highest paying states for physicians according to Medscape’s 2022 compensation report.

10. Florida


If you’re competing in the local Little League team, tenth place might not be that great. But in terms of highest paying states for physicians, it’s not bad. Number 10 on this year’s list is Florida, where doctors are making an average of $346,000 a year, not counting bonuses and other incentives. The average income for physicians nationwide is $339,000 — so Florida’s number isn’t eye-popping — but Florida also ranks high on Medscape’s list of Best Places to Practice 2022. Is the pay in Florida out of this world? Maybe not quite. But thanks to all the warm beaches, living there just might be. If you’re thinking about a locum tenens assignment in Florida, the Sunshine State pays 109% above the median pay for locum physicians.

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9. Texas


They say everything is bigger in Texas. So, if the average pay in Florida is $346K, and the average pay in Texas is also $346K, we’re going to assume the pay in Texas is bigger and rank it higher. Does our method seem flawed? You’re probably right. Still, the Lone Star State ranks number four in Medscape’s Best Places to Practice, which is something to consider. According to Medscape, the higher overall ranking is all about Texas’s thriving economy. Medscape also reports that Texas has one of the lowest “physicians per capita” ratios in the entire United States. Translation: Texas is a great place to be a doctor. But be prepared for lots of patients!  

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8. Connecticut


In Connecticut, doctors earn an average of $346,000 per year — the same as Texas and Florida. But according to U.S. News & World Report, Connecticut is a top 10 state for health care, public education, and crime and corrections (meaning, the overall crime rate is low). Add to that the fact that the cost of living in Connecticut is also quite low. Compared to New York and Boston, it’s anywhere from 14% to 48% lower. If you want access to all the big events the “Big East” has to offer — Broadway, big-time sports, culture, and arts — without getting in an airplane first to fly there, living and practicing medicine in Connecticut might be your best option.

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7. North Carolina

North Carolina

North Carolina breaks the three-way tie. Doctors in North Carolina make an average of $348,000 per year. If you’re wondering what difference a couple of thousand dollars would make, the cost of living in North Carolina is relatively low. Reasons to live and work in North Carolina include: big-city amenities in places like Raleigh and Charlottesville; proximity to both ocean and mountains; an exuberant sports scene, both collegiate and professional (if you watch March Madness, you knew that already!). Locum tenens jobs in NC pay 106% above the median.

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6. Indiana


Basketball states must like doctors, because the next highest paying state after North Carolina is Indiana, where physicians are earning an average of $350,000 a year. The Hoosier State is also the 10th cheapest state to live in — right there at the top of the list, next to places like Alabama and Tennessee. In Indiana, $350,000 will go a long way. Good pay, low cost of living, and lots of open space for escaping the crowds and communing with nature. According to Medscape, Indiana is the 5th best state to practice medicine. Conclusion: keep track of Indiana. It’s a great state for doctors.  

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5. Oregon


Oregon isn’t exactly known for being inexpensive. In cost of living, it ranks clear down at number 44. But for natural scenery and access to outdoor adventure, it is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular states in the lower 48. Fortunately, for doctors it’s also one of the highest paying. Physicians in Oregon are currently making an average of $352,000 per year. To be perfectly straightforward, Oregon doesn’t have a lot of other top 10 rankings. But if you like mountain biking or whitewater rafting, exploring sea caves or visiting Pacific lighthouses, you probably won’t care. You’ll think Oregon is more than enough. Oregon pays a bit above average for locum tenens physicians at 104% of the median.

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4. Missouri


Physicians in Missouri earn an average of $357,000 a year. Plus, the cost of living in Missouri is relatively cheap as well, which makes that pay feel like even more. That said, U.S. News & World Report ranks Missouri as only the 28th best state to live in. Not an overwhelming ranking, to be sure. But obviously, the person doing the ranking isn’t much of a sports fan, considering Missouri is home to two of the most successful franchises in professional sports: the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Cardinals! Furthermore, living in Missouri puts you, at any given moment of the day, within some of the best barbecue in the world. Good pay, good food, good pro sports. What’s not to like about Missouri? It’s also one of the highest paying states for locum physicians, paying 118% of the median for locum tenens.

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3. Alabama


Did you know Alabama has a wildlife safari park? Or that it’s quickly becoming a hub for biotech and other medical companies? Plus, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center are likewise located there. Doctors in Alabama say they are happier, on average, than doctors in most other states, and that they have one of the lowest burnout rates in the country. Add to these small but not inconsequential snippets the fact that Alabama pays its doctors an average of $358,000 a year — third most in the entire country. These details add up. Alabama is a top state for wearing a stethoscope.  

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2. Tennessee


When moving to Tennessee, most doctors see a sizeable bump in their income. In terms of annual pay, we’re nearly at the top of the list here: an average of $364,000 per year. Medscape ranks Tennessee as a best place to practice, with specific shout outs to the state’s fun food and famous festivals in cities like Nashville and Memphis, its nationally significant historical sites, thriving healthcare and technology sectors, and the state’s vibrant art scene. If your undergraduate degree included a minor in accounting or finance, you’ll also be interested to know it’s also the country’s third most “fiscally stable” state — the perfect benefit to study up on when you can’t sleep at night! Enough said: there’s no shortage of selling points for the green and verdant state of Tennessee. For locum tenens, Tennessee pays 113% of the median for physicians.

1. Kentucky


in Kentucky, doctors earn an average of $364,000 a year, same as in Tennessee. We studied Medscape’s reports, but found little to help us put one state above the other. Both are great places to pursue a career in medicine. But when we checked NCAA Final Four appearances, the state of Kentucky unquestionably had the upper hand. But even for non-basketball fans, there’s so much to like about Kentucky: music, horse racing, bourbon, Mammoth Cave. (What’s Mammoth Cave? Only the world’s longest cavern, a major outdoor attraction for tourists and adrenalin-seeking adventurists.) Kentucky has lots to do, in the country, in the mountains, or in the city. An above-average income could come in handy. Like Missouri, locum tenens physicians earn 118% more for jobs in Kentucky than the median pay across all states.

View locum tenens jobs in Kentucky

Ready to earn more by working in one of the highest paying states for physicians? We can help you see what it’s like to practice there with a locum tenens assignment. To learn more, give us a call at 954.343.3050 or view today’s locum tenens job opportunities.

About the author

Dave Nielsen

Dave Nielsen lives in Salt Lake City. He writes about healthcare, technology, and business.

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