Top 10 Physician Specialties in the U.S. with the Highest Job Outlook

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light a problem that has existed for a while now— a shortage of doctors and other healthcare professionals. This shortage has been happening since the 1980s, and since the pandemic, this “shortage” has been deemed a “crisis”. Experts can only assume that this is going to get worse, with nearly 139,000 less physicians by 2033.

This means that physicians – specifically, specialty physicians— are in high demand right now. If you have an interest in medicine and a passion for helping people, consider a career as a physician. Also, if you’re a specialty physician in search of a job, you may find that your specialty is in high demand. Here are the top 10 physician careers (in no particular order) that are currently in high demand.

#1: Women’s Medicine

Obstetricians and gynecologists (OB/GYN) focus on the female reproductive system. OBGYNs are considered to be surgical specialists, and surgical specialists are predicted to see a shortage of over 27,000 physicians by 2033.

#2: Radiologists

Radiologists use x-rays and ultrasounds to diagnose certain conditions. In 2020, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) predicted a shortage of up to 41,900 radiologists and other specialists by 2033. In 2021, the BLS predicted a growth outlook of 9% for all jobs in radiology.

#3: Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists focus on diagnosing and treating mental health disorders and also behavioural disorders in children and adults. While the exact numbers are unknown, it is known that the majority of current psychiatrists are close to retiring age, and there aren’t that many medical students choosing psychiatry as their focus.

#4: Pediatricians

Pediatricians focus on the health of children and infants. They usually have a wide scope of physical and emotional conditions, but some can choose a specialty within this age group. Pediatricians are some of the most needed physicians, with the BLS predicted a 2% decrease in pediatricians in 2020.

#5: Neurologists

Neurologists focus on the nervous system and, to some extent, the circulatory system, including blood vessels, the brain and spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and muscles. There’s predicted to be a shortage of at least 17,000 neurologists by 2033.

#6: Internal Medicine

Internal medicine doctors, or internists, are your typical primary care physicians. They diagnose and treat diseases that affect the internal organs. Just in the two years since COVID-19 began, there’s been a huge shortage of internists, and it’s predicted that there will be a shortage of around 50,000 more by 2033.

#7: Family Medicine

Family physicians are also technically internists, diagnosing and treating many of the same diseases that internal medicine doctors do. They tend to work in private practices are a part of a hospital network, and are expected to see a shortage of up to 21,400 by 2033.

#8: Emergency Medicine

Emergency physicians are often seen on the front lines, providing emergency medical care to a wide variety of people. These are some of the most needed physicians in the healthcare industry, currently with many available jobs in emergency medicine.

#9: Cardiologists

Cardiologists focus on all issues that affect the heart, including arrhythmias, cholesterol, and high blood pressure. It’s predicted that an average of 13,550 cardiologist positions will need to be filled by 2033. In 2018, the job outlook for cardiologists was 7%, which is faster than average.

#10: Anesthesiologists

Anesthesiologists are responsible for sedating patients before certain surgical or medical procedures. There’s expected to be a shortage of over 40,000 anesthesiologists by 2033. In 2021, there was estimated to be only about 33,000 anesthesiologists in the U.S.

Physicians are some of the most respected individuals in the U.S. and in the world— even before the pandemic. It’s a very rewarding career to get to help people every day, not to mention that these are some of the highest paying jobs. Yes, being a physician is very stressful, but most physicians have found it to be less stressful when opening a private or group practice.

Keep in mind that the higher the predicted shortage, the more urgently these physicians are going to be needed. All 10 of these specialties are in dire need of more skilled physicians— especially those in private practices in rural and underserved areas. So if you’re a medical student or planning to become one, consider choosing one of these specialties. It won’t be hard for you to find a job in the U.S. in any of these areas.

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