Best States to Practice Medicine in 2024: A Guide for Physicians

by Amy Brooksbank | May 13, 2024 |
Best States to Practice Medicine in 2024:  A Guide for Physicians

Choosing the best state to practice medicine is a personal choice critical for doctors’ professional satisfaction and overall well-being. Opportunities and advantages can vary greatly from one state to another, and each physician has a unique set of priorities influencing the decision on where to locate. Consultation with physician recruitment agencies provides the most comprehensive, individualized advice on all variables for making this monumental decision. That’s true for both doctors navigating a mid-career transition, as well as those new to the profession. The information below sets out four key areas for doctors to consider as a head start on thinking through which states might best answer their needs: job satisfaction, compensation, legal considerations and quality of life.


4 Areas to Consider When Choosing the Best States to Practice Medicine

Many reviews of the best states for physicians focus on one area alone, such as compensation, or a set of multiple variables that might not float to the top of a doctor’s priorities. We will instead drill down on four critical considerations intended to be useful to any physicians seeking a basic framework for decision-making.


1. Job Satisfaction and Work-Life Balance

When considering job satisfaction and work-life balance, physicians seek states that prioritize these factors, providing not only a conducive environment for professional growth but also ample opportunities for personal fulfillment. To combat the systemic problem of burnout in the healthcare workforce, states that emphasize work-life balance recognize the importance of allowing physicians to maintain a healthy equilibrium between their professional responsibilities and personal lives. Additionally, offering robust career advancement opportunities ensures that physicians can continually progress in their careers while maintaining a balanced lifestyle. A supportive healthcare environment, characterized by collaboration and resource allocation, plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining physicians as it fosters a sense of belonging and professional fulfillment within the medical community.


2. Compensation and Benefits

Physician compensation varies across states due to differences in cost of living, payer mix, and healthcare market dynamics. States with competitive compensation packages, comprehensive benefits, and favorable reimbursement rates tend to attract and retain doctors effectively.

According to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2023, states like Florida offer relatively higher compensation levels compared to national averages. Additionally, states with robust physician recruitment incentives, such as loan repayment programs and signing bonuses, can be particularly appealing to doctors seeking financial stability and career advancement opportunities.


us states with best quality of life


3. Quality of Life and Community Factors

Physicians often consider quality of life factors such as cost of living, housing affordability, educational opportunities, and recreational amenities when choosing a practice location. States with vibrant communities, cultural diversity, outdoor recreational opportunities, and excellent public schools tend to attract physicians seeking a balanced lifestyle and family-friendly environment. According to Physicians Practice, states like Colorado, Washington, Vermont, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Washington rank among the US states with the best quality of life metrics. These states offer a diverse array of leisure activities, natural attractions, and educational resources, contributing to physician satisfaction and community engagement.


4. Malpractice Environment and Legal Protections

The malpractice environment in a state can significantly impact physician practice patterns and professional liability risk. States with tort reform measures, reasonable malpractice insurance premiums, and strong legal protections for healthcare providers tend to attract physicians seeking practice stability and risk mitigation. The American Medical Association (AMA), is pursuing state level medical liability reforms through their comprehensive Medical Liability Reform NOW! initiative. States like Texas, North Carolina and Florida have implemented tort reform laws aimed at reducing frivolous malpractice lawsuits and limiting non-economic damage awards. These states offer a more favorable legal environment for physicians, contributing to overall practice satisfaction and retention.


What Are the Best States for Physicians?

Below is an exploration of the top 10 states for physicians to practice, highlighting the unique benefits each state offers through the lens of job satisfaction, compensation, legal and quality of life considerations.

physician recruitment



Quality of life: Colorado is considered one of the US states with the best quality of life, with access to outdoor activities, cultural attractions, and a vibrant community.

Physician autonomy: The state values physician autonomy and innovation, allowing physicians to practice medicine according to their preferences and specialties.

Progressive healthcare policies: Last year, Colorado implemented progressive healthcare policies, including Medicaid expansion and telemedicine initiatives, enhancing access to care for patients and physicians alike.


North Carolina

Growing healthcare market: The state’s growing population and healthcare market present opportunities for physicians to establish successful practices, expand their patient base, and specialize in high-demand areas.

Physician collaboration: North Carolina promotes statewide interdisciplinary healthcare models and physician collaboration with the goal of enhancing patient outcomes and fostering a supportive practice environment.

Quality of life: With its diverse landscapes, mild climate, and affordable cost of living, North Carolina offers physicians a high quality of life and a range of lifestyle amenities.

     best states to practice medicine



Competitive compensation: Texas offers competitive physician salaries and benefits, making it an attractive destination for physicians seeking financial stability and career advancement.

Tort reform laws: Texas’s tort reform measures provide physicians with legal protections and lower malpractice insurance premiums, reducing liability risks.

Diverse practice opportunities: From urban centers to rural communities, Texas offers diverse practice settings and ample opportunities for physicians to specialize and grow their careers.


New Hampshire

Low malpractice risk: New Hampshire has implemented tort reform measures to reduce malpractice risks and provide physicians with legal protections, fostering a favorable practice environment.

Rural health support: The state offers support for rural healthcare providers through loan repayment programs, telemedicine initiatives, and incentives to practice in underserved areas.

Quality of life: With its scenic landscapes, outdoor recreational activities, and low crime rates, New Hampshire offers a high quality of life for physicians and their families.

    best states for physicians



Lifestyle amenities: With its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and diverse cultural scene, Florida offers an attractive lifestyle for physicians seeking work-life balance.

Retirement destination: Florida is a popular retirement destination, providing physicians with opportunities to serve an aging population and specialize in geriatric medicine.

Growing healthcare market: The state’s growing population drives a growing healthcare market. Recent state legislation codifies healthcare opportunities for physicians to establish thriving practices and expand their patient base.



Academic excellence: Massachusetts is home to world-renowned academic medical centers and research institutions, providing physicians with access to cutting-edge medical technology, clinical trials, and educational resources.

Healthcare innovation: The state is a hub for healthcare innovation, with initiatives to improve healthcare access, quality, and affordability through telemedicine, digital health solutions, and population health management.

Strong physician advocacy: The state has strong physician advocacy groups and professional organizations, like the Massachusetts Medical Society that work to support physicians’ interests, address healthcare policy issues, and promote physician well-being.

locum tenens



Physician-friendly environment: Minnesota’s physician-friendly environment features supportive healthcare networks, professional development opportunities, and strong patient-provider relationships.

High-quality healthcare: The state consistently ranks among the top in healthcare quality metrics, offering physicians the opportunity to deliver high-quality care and make a meaningful impact on patient outcomes.

Academic and research opportunities: Minnesota is home to renowned academic medical centers and research institutions including Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota Medical Center, providing physicians with opportunities for collaboration, academic advancement, and cutting-edge medical research.



High job satisfaction: Vermont consistently ranks among the top states for physician job satisfaction due to Vermont’s supportive healthcare environment and strong physician communities.

Quality of life: Known for its picturesque landscapes and outdoor recreational opportunities, Vermont offers an excellent quality of life for physicians and their families.

Physician-friendly policies: The state has implemented policies to support physician recruitment and retention, including loan repayment programs and rural health initiatives.

     best states to practice medicine


New York

Diverse practice opportunities: New York offers diverse practice settings, from urban academic medical centers to rural community hospitals, providing physicians with opportunities to specialize and advance their careers.

Cultural diversity: The state’s cultural diversity enriches the healthcare experience, allowing physicians to serve diverse patient populations and gain exposure to different medical conditions and treatment approaches.

Professional development: New York’s world-class academic institutions and robust medical community offer physicians ample opportunities for professional development, networking, and continuing medical education.



Innovative healthcare system: Washington is known for its innovative healthcare system, consistently ranking high on healthcare performance with a focus on patient-centered care, population health management, and healthcare technology.

Physician collaboration: The state encourages physician collaboration and interdisciplinary teamwork, fostering a collaborative practice environment and improving patient outcomes.

Work-life balance: With its diverse urban and rural communities, outdoor recreational opportunities, and cultural attractions, Washington offers physicians a balanced lifestyle and professional fulfillment.


Untangling the Opportunities

Selecting the best state for medical practice is a pivotal decision, shaping a physician’s personal and professional satisfaction. Each doctor seeks a particular set of priorities when determining where to live and work. With diverse opportunities and advantages across states, each physician’s unique priorities influence their choice. Consulting with physician recruitment agencies offers tailored advice on what’s important to each individual’s needs. Considering job satisfaction, compensation, legal protections, and quality of life, physicians can use the breakdown provided above as a starting point to navigate this significant decision, ensuring the ideal fit for their needs and aspirations in the medical field.


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