Employment of physicians is projected to grow 22% through 2018, according to the US Department of Labor. This growth is much faster than average for all occupations. Job opportunities should be very good especially in rural and low-income areas. Physicians and Surgeons held approximately 661,400 jobs in 2008. Of the wage and salaried physicians, 19% were hospital physicians, while 53% worked in offices.
The AMA sites that in 2007, 32% of physicians in patient care were in primary care. & 5% of physicians in patient care were located in metropolitan areas, 25% in rural areas. Healthcare will generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs through 2018; larger than any industry, and is a result of the rapid growth in the senior population. The growing and aging population will increase the demand for physician services. Additionally, as advances in medical technology continue to improve the patient survival rate, there will be an ever-increasing need for long-term care.
Overall physician job prospects are expected to be very good. Greater number of physician job openings is also expected due to the relatively high number of physicians expected to retire over the 2008 – 18 decade. The impact of healthcare reform on these projections will be carefully watched. Hospital physician jobs will likely increase, as will expected physician productivity. Outsourced physician services will also likely evolve, as the physician and hospital dollars become shared. There will likely be a gradual increase in physician-extenders (physician assistants and nurse practitioners). Most importantly, changes in healthcare reimbursement policies could significantly result in higher out of pocket costs for consumers, triggering a lower demand for physician services.