Physician Job Outlook
Employment is expected to grow
much faster than the average for all occupations. Job opportunities should
be very good, particularly in
rural and low-income areas.
Employment change. Employment of
physicians and surgeons is projected to grow 22 percent from 2008 to 2018, much
faster than the average for all occupations. Job growth will occur because of
continued expansion of healthcare-related industries. The growing and aging
population will drive overall growth in the demand for physician services, as
consumers continue to demand high levels of care using the latest technologies,
diagnostic tests, and therapies. Many medical schools are increasing their
enrollments based on perceived new demand for physicians.
Despite growing demand for physicians and surgeons, some factors will temper
growth. For example, new technologies allow physicians to be more productive.
This means physicians can diagnose and treat more patients in the same amount of
time. The rising cost of healthcare can dramatically affect demand for
physicians� services. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners, who can
perform many of the routine duties of physicians at a fraction of the cost, may
be increasingly used. Furthermore, demand for physicians' services is highly
sensitive to changes in healthcare reimbursement policies. If changes to health
coverage result in higher out-of-pocket costs for consumers, they may demand
fewer physician services.
Job prospects. Opportunities for
individuals interested in becoming physicians and surgeons are expected to be
very good. In addition to job openings from employment growth, openings will
result from the need to replace the relatively high number of physicians and
surgeons expected to retire over the 2008-18 decade.
Job prospects should be particularly good for physicians willing to practice
in rural and low-income areas because these medically underserved areas
typically have difficulty attracting these workers. Job prospects will also be
especially good for physicians in specialties that afflict the rapidly growing
elderly population. Examples of such specialties are cardiology and radiology
because the risks for heart disease and cancer increase as people age.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition
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Physician Job Outlook