Industry Trends Physician

Top 10 highest paying states for physicians in 2020

With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting employment for many physicians, more doctors than ever are on the hunt for a new position. Whether you are looking for something permanent or want to give locum tenens a try, compensation will be an important factor in where you choose to work. Medscape recently identified this year’s top 10 highest paying states for physicians. If you’re looking for a place to earn what you’re worth, look no further than these ten states. 

1. Kentucky


Physicians in Kentucky earn more than in any other state — bringing in $346,000 on average. Jumping from 6th place in 2019 to the top spot in 2020, the Bluegrass state is a good place to work if you want to earn top dollar. In addition to the nationally-ranked University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital, there are five additional facilities ranked as high performers in various procedures and conditions. With a lower than average cost of living, you’ll get to keep more of your paycheck too, allowing you to enjoy all Kentucky has to offer — from outdoor adventures and horseback riding to bourbon tasting and bluegrass serenades.

View physician jobs in Kentucky

2. Tennessee


Tennessee is a great place to visit — visitors come every year to enjoy Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Graceland, and Nashville’s music scene — but it’s also a great place to work. Physicians there earn on average $338,000 per year, and the state’s lower than average cost of living and no income tax makes it especially attractive. Whether you’re interested in a busy hospital in urban location, like Vanderbilt University Medical Center, or a small rural clinic, getting to know the people and culture of Tennessee is easy for employed physicians and locums docs alike.

View physician jobs in Tennessee

3. Florida


Third on the list of 2020’s highest paying states for physicians is Florida, where doctors earn on average $333,000 per year. As the third most populous state in the country and a destination for retirees and tourists alike, healthcare is in high demand in the Sunshine State. You’ll also benefit from no income tax and a growing economy, making working here a smart move. On your days off, you can enjoy the state’s 1,350 miles of coastline, check out one of its many theme parks, or spend the day playing a round of golf on the green.

View physician jobs in Florida

4. Alabama


Situated firmly in the heart of the southern United States, Alabama has become a hub for aerospace engineering, banking, manufacturing, and healthcare — where physicians earn on average $332,000 per year. The state’s only Level 1 trauma center — University of Alabama at Birmingham — is one of the state’s largest employers and is nationally ranked or high performing in 18 different specialties or procedures. Doctors here will also discover the cost of living is much lower than the national average, making your paycheck in Alabama go that much farther.

View physician jobs in Alabama

5. Utah

Bryce Canyon, Utah

With an average physician salary of $328,000, Utah is a great place to find work as a physician. Not only was it ranked the fourth best state in the country in 2019 by U.S. News and World Report, it’s also the 8th best state to practice medicine in 2020, according to Medscape. The healthcare industry receives high scores for its quality of care and the state has 4 nationally-ranked hospitals, as well as seven facilities that are highly ranked in various specialties and procedures. Utah’s strong economy and easy access to outdoor activities only add to its appeal, making the Beehive state an ideal place to call home.

View physician jobs in Utah

6. Ohio

Chicago, Ohio

The top-paying state for physicians in the Midwest, Ohio offers an average salary of $326,000. Low housing prices and its ranking as the second most affordable state in the country make it a financially-smart place to settle down or take a locums position. With a population of over 11 million and over 220 hospitals — 21 nationally-ranked — there’s great opportunity for physicians to provide care in both urban and rural areas. Throw in a bourgeoning craft beer scene, plenty of historical sites, and Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and there’s enough to keep your interest no matter how long your stay here.

View physician jobs in Ohio

7. Oklahoma


Physicians in Oklahoma can expect to earn $326,000 on average. The state is highly affordable and has a low cost of living, making it a wise place for physicians to earn a living, pay off medical school debt, or save for retirement. With five highly-ranked medical centers — including the nationally-ranked OU Medical Center — and the opportunity to care for rural populations, Oklahoma is a great place for physicians to make a difference.

View physician jobs in Oklahoma

8. Indiana


Indiana is the third most affordable state in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report, making the $326,000 you’ll earn go a lot further. Of the 162 hospitals in the state, 13 are ranked as high performing in various specialties and procedures. More than just farm fields, the Hoosier state was named one of the best places to go in 2020 by Frommer’s, boasting a new national park, the Indy 500, and an impressive array of museums.    

View physician jobs in Indiana

9. North Carolina

North Carolina

With average physician pay of $325,000, North Carolina is also ranked as one of the best states to practice in 2020. In addition to its 18 high performing hospitals — five of which are nationally-ranked — it’s also gaining notoriety for its innovations in healthcare delivery. Its proximity to outdoor recreation and a growing art scene make it a desirable place to live, and it’s the perfect spot for mountain and beach lovers alike.

View physician jobs in North Carolina

10. Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia

Rounding out the top ten, physicians working in Georgia earn $323,000 on average. The 8th most populous state in the country with over 10 million inhabitants, the Peach state is home to a strong and diverse economy, which contributes to its ranking of 17th best state, according to U.S. News and World Report. With only 17% of Georgia’s population living in rural areas, it’s likely you’ll be working in an urban or suburban area, which makes it easy to partake in one of the state’s local festivals or visit its historical landmarks

View physician jobs in Georgia

Ready to earn more by working in one of these states? We can help you see what it’s like to practice there with a locum tenens assignment. Give us a call at 954.343.3050 or view today’s locum tenens job opportunities.

About the author

Alisa Tank

Alisa Tank is a content specialist at CHG Healthcare. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of others. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, road trips, and exploring Utah’s desert landscapes.

1 Comment

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  • Your column is very impressive and friendly. Really liked it. The best way to communicate with me is thru email. I have been to Alaska twice and I loved it.


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