The Last Word: AMN Healthcare’s Tom Florence On Shifts in Physician Salaries

“The market has done a complete about-face.”

Tom Florence
President of Physician Permanent Placement
AMN Healthcare
.…on shifts in physicians’ starting salaries.

Orthopedic surgeons are offered the highest average starting salary among physicians and advanced practice professionals, according to a new annual report from AMN Healthcare and its physician search division, Merritt Hawkins.

With an average of $565,000 to start, exclusive of signing bonuses and other incentives, orthopedic surgeons top all other docs, in a boost from $546,000 in 2021.

“Several years ago, primary care physicians were the priority for most hospitals and medical groups. While many still seek them, the emphasis has shifted to specialists,” said Florence.

The AMN and Merritt Hawkins’ 2022 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives shows that demand for medical specialists like gastroenterologists, orthopedic surgeons, oncologists, pulmonologists, neurologists, and psychiatrists is rising.

From urologists to radiologists, salaries are up

Average starting salaries for most other specialties featured in the report also rose from last year. Urologists are offered an average of $510,000 to start, up from $497,000 last year; gastroenterologists are offered $474,000, up from $453,000; and radiologists are offered $455,000, up from $401,000.

“Demand for physicians, and the salaries they are offered, have rebounded dramatically from the height of COVID-19,” Florence said in a statement. “Virtually every hospital and large medical group in the country is looking to add physicians.”

Primary care physicians see declining demand

Meanwhile, demand for primary care physicians like family physicians and internists has declined. 

More than two-thirds (64%) of the company’s search engagements over the prior 12 months were for medical specialists. Only 17% of searches were for primary care physicians. The remaining 19% were for advanced practice professionals such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants,, and certified registered nurse anesthetists.

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