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Physician Job Outlook

The job outlook for physicians is good, with employment of physicians and surgeons expected to increase by 24 percent from 2010 to 2020, better than the average for all occupations. Job growth will occur with the continued expansion of healthcare-related industries. The growing and aging population is expected to drive overall growth in physician employment as consumers continue to seek high levels of care that uses the latest technologies, diagnostic tests, and therapies. Many medical schools are increasing their enrollments based on perceived higher demand for physicians.

Although the demand for physicians and surgeons should continue, certain factors will likely mitigate growth somewhat. New technologies that allow physicians to treat more patients in the same amount of time will reduce the number of physicians needed to complete the same tasks. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners (a type of registered nurse) can do many of the routine duties of physicians and may increasingly be used to reduce costs at hospitals and outpatient care facilities, thereby reducing physician employment opportunities. For more information, see the profiles on physician assistants and registered nurses.

Furthermore, demand for physicians’ services is sensitive to changes in healthcare reimbursement policies. Consumers may demand fewer physician services if changes to health coverage result in higher out-of-pocket costs for them.

The job outlook should be particularly good for physicians who are willing to practice in rural and low-income areas as these areas tend to have difficulty attracting physicians. Job opportunities also should be good for physicians in specialties dealing with health issues that largely affect aging baby boomers. For example, physicians specializing in cardiology and radiology will be needed because the risks for heart disease and cancer increase as people age.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Physician Duties
Physician Work Conditions
Physician Employment
Physician Training
Physician Job Outlook
Physician Earnings

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