Best States in Which to Practice Medicine — UPDATE


This blog gets a lot search engines hits from people (presumably physicians) who are looking for the best states in which to practice medicine. Many of the hits go to a previous post on this topic here.

Medscape recently came out with a new set of recommendations based on research done by Shelly Reese, a freelance writer from Cincinnati. Based on Shelly’s research, Medscape recommends the following states:

New Hampshire – for its low unemployment, high insurance coverage, and no sales tax or state income tax. On the down side, compensation is comparatively low and winters in New Hampshire reportedly suck.

Utah – for its high rate of employer-based insurance, low physician density, and low cost of living. With the low cost of living is a lower than average compensation as well.

Idaho – for its low physician density, low liability insurance costs, and low cost of living. However, the state income tax tops out at 7.8%.

Georgia – for favorable compensation, lower physician density, and good lifestyle. However, there are more uninsured patients and malpractice coverage is comparatively more expensive in Georgia.

Virginia – for low cost of living, higher number of insured patients, and low malpractice insurance costs. These “pros” are offset by lower average income.

South Dakota – for low malpractice costs, low physician density, and no state income tax. Down sides are the less than desirable weather.

South Dakota was the only state that made both this list and the previous list from 2010.


Looking to avoid the WORST states in which to practice medicine?

No surprise that FLORIDA is on the list of worst states to practice medicine. You can see my Top 10 Reasons Not to Practice Medicine in Florida link in the upper right corner of this blog explaining why. Also making the list are Washington DC, Illinois, Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska. Flip through the slide show on Medscape to see why …


  1. Idaho is a great place to live, if you like outdoor activities. It isn’t a place to practice medicine unless you are comfortable not having the latest medical equipment and resources at your fingertips.

    My small town (5,500) has the only hospital in a County that is physically as big as the State of Delaware, but only has about 11,000 people total. The only doctors in the whole county are in my town. We have good ambulance with paramedics. On the highway north, they are the last paramedics for about 200 miles.

    Our ER has 4 beds. It is staffed by ER Docs from Boise. They have a CT scanner, but the only MRI is a mobile one that comes into town 2 days a week.

    The counties north and south of us don’t have hospitals of their own.

    There is no burn unit in the whole State. Last week a burn victim, from across the river in Oregon, had to be flown over 500 miles to Salt Lake City for a burn unit.

    Three of our local family physicians are getting older in age and might be looking to retire.

  2. It’s hard to take a list of “best states to practice in” seriously when they include the judicial hellholes of Arizona, Florida, and Washington DC.

  3. MamaOnABudget on

    My first two kids were born in South Dakota. We’re blessed to have employment that we love now in CO, but I’d be back in SD – bad weather and everything, in a heartbeat if we were looking for work again.

  4. NH winters don’t suck…yes they are cold, but beautiful. There is tons of outdoor recreation in the winter (year round really). We have mountains, lakes, oceanfront. You just need the right clothing and winter can be enjoyed!

  5. NH winters ROCK! Plus you can get lovely snowmobile accidents for trauma, car versus moose accidents, AND the biggest hospital is actually quite pretty!

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