Doctors are among the highest-paid and most educated professionals in the U.S. In fact, “physician” was the highest-paid job type in 2018, with a median base salary of over $195,000 and over 3,000 job openings during the year. The high salary average makes sense, given the importance of their life-saving work and the struggles that come with life in the medical profession.

But doctors don’t always start out wealthy. The average medical-school graduate left campus with more than $196,000 of debt in 2018. The medical profession has also been undergoing intense transformation in recent years. Health-care reform, the rise of branded hospital networks and the retirement of Baby Boomers are all complicating the lives of doctors.

But working conditions for doctors aren’t the same everywhere in the U.S. In order to help doctors decide where to practice, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 18 key metrics. Our data set ranges from average annual wage of physicians to hospitals per capita to quality of public hospital system. Check out the complete ranking, additional expert commentary and a full description of our methodology below.

Source: WalletHub

Best States to Practice Medicine

Overall Rank
(1=Best)
StateTotal Score‘Opportunity & Competition’ Rank‘Medical Environment’ Rank
1Montana69.153117
2Wisconsin69.13124
3Idaho68.55178
4Minnesota68.32232
5Iowa67.58124
6South Dakota67.03723
7Kansas66.6529
8Nebraska65.8147
9Mississippi64.70634
10North Dakota64.501327
11Tennessee63.782020
12Alabama62.781132
13Colorado60.03275
14Nevada59.513042
15Oklahoma59.38331
16Utah59.312911
17Wyoming58.503650
18Georgia58.102618
19West Virginia57.461547
20Louisiana57.38526
21North Carolina57.36183
22Maine57.34401
23New Mexico56.694241
24Arizona56.423235
25South Carolina56.021444
26Kentucky55.89945
27Indiana55.871016
28Washington55.763521
29Missouri55.062436
30Texas54.69196
31Arkansas54.193329
32Florida53.992228
33Michigan53.381619
34Pennsylvania53.102525
35Oregon52.832812
36Ohio52.19830
37Virginia52.123814
38New Hampshire52.122122
39California49.634915
40Illinois49.373446
41Alaska48.873938
42Vermont48.814113
43Massachusetts47.844510
44Maryland46.364740
45Delaware46.173748
46Hawaii44.724851
47Connecticut44.454639
48New Jersey43.294437
49Rhode Island42.834343
50District of Columbia41.555133
51New York34.015049

Ask the Experts: The Future of the Medical Profession

Medicine is changing rapidly, and the way it is taught and practiced has to change too. The industry faces an aging population, new regulations and technological breakthroughs. With that in mind, we asked a panel of experts the following key questions:

  1. What are the biggest issues facing doctors today?
  2. How do state and local policies influence the lives of doctors and other medical professionals?
  3. What tips can you offer current medical students about what specialty to pursue and where to practice?
  4. To what extent does the threat of a malpractice lawsuit affect doctors’ ability to do their job?
  5. In evaluating the best states for doctors, what are the top five indicators?
  6. Taken altogether, has the ACA proven to be a net positive or net negative for physicians?