The top 10 cities for physicians in the U.S.

January 4th, 2022 14 Min read The top 10 cities for physicians in the U.S. Blog

What are the top cities for physicians in the U.S. in 2022? The answer is somewhat subjective — what’s best for one doctor might not be quite as important for another, especially in different stages of their career. However, when comparing factors like annual physician pay, pay growth potential, cost of living, affordability, and access to recreation and entertainment, the following cities rise to the top of the pack as 10 of the best cities for physicians in the U.S.

10. Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, NO

Raleigh is two hours from the ocean and two hours from the mountains. Regardless of what you like to do for outdoor fun, you’ll find plenty of options when you live and work in Raleigh.

As a doctor, you’ll likely get paid more in Raleigh than you would working in many comparable cities. It’s consistently ranked as one of the most educated cities in the United States, and the K-12 schools similarly pull in top rankings. Raleigh has a great downtown and vibrant night life. Rolling Stone magazine even calls it a top city for emerging music.

If this is No. 10 on our list of top cities for physicians, you can expect the other nine to be pretty incredible!

9. Green Bay, Wisconsin

Green Bay, WI

According to, Wisconsin is the second-best state in the United States to practice medicine, the primary reason being that malpractice payouts are so low. In fact, in 2020, adverse actions against doctors were the lowest they had been in Wisconsin in more than 10 years.

The entire state is a good place to be a doctor, but Medscape identifies the city of Green Bay as particularly attractive. As a Green Bay resident, you’ll likely have a short commute to work; you’ll have two university campuses nearby to satisfy any research inclinations; and the area offers lots of fun things to do on days off — like exploring nearby Door County, a.k.a. “Cape Cod of the Midwest.”

8. Orlando, Florida

Orlando, FL

Orlando has always been one of the country’s top cities for physicians. Lakes are all around, and both the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico are within easy driving distance. It also has the 8th highest pay growth in the U.S. for physicians.

The region is known for its “strong healthcare industry” and leading hospital system. And there’s currently no state income tax, which (unless you’re super altruistic) is usually considered a perk. Oh, and let’s not forget the world-famous amusement parks and golf courses — or the year-round amazing weather. 

There are good reasons people go on vacation to Orlando, and those reasons are often the same for doctors who make Orlando their home.   

7. Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, CO

According to U.S. News and World Report, Boulder, Colorado is currently the No. 1 place to live out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. Doctors apparently agree. “Physicians in Colorado are among the happiest — both at and outside of work,” writes, “and the state boasts a high retention rate for residents who train there.”

The state pays doctors slightly less than the national average — otherwise, we’d likely rank Boulder higher. 

6. Austin, Texas

Austin, TX

Like Boulder, Austin is a top-ranked American city, no matter your profession. Tesla likes it enough that it built a Gigafactory there. And lakes and rivers appear on the map surrounding Austin like drops of ink. Bring your fishing pole, bring your jet skis, bring your mountain bike and camping gear — you won’t have any trouble finding something to do on your days off.

One negative about Austin is the cost of living — 20% higher than the national average. At the same time, there’s no income tax in Texas, so the two numbers may cancel each other out.

5. Boise, Idaho

Boise, ID

In a recent study, 61% of doctors who completed their residency in Idaho decided to stay and establish their career there. If you get the opportunity to work and live in Idaho, you may not want to leave. This is especially true if you like mountains, rivers, lakes, and all the great activities that go along with them.

With that said, let’s zoom in on Boise — a city that consistently makes all kinds of top 10 lists, from best downtowns to best places to raise a family to best cities to retire. According to Forbes, it’s even a best city for yoga.

Let go of your surprise and accept reality: Boise is one of the country’s top cities for physicians, with quick access to some of the most beautiful country in North America.

4. Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte, NC ranks Charlotte a top destination for physicians for its “great craft brew scene.” We like to think our own criteria are slightly more rigorous — great craft brew plus eclectic shopping and world-class barbecue. Also a willingness to pay its physicians more, on average, than most other U.S. cities.

Charlotte can be your basecamp for a multitude of outdoor adventures (just google “Crowders Mountain” or “Lake Norman” for starters), including white-water rafting.

Good pay, good quality of life — that’s pretty much the story here. Doctors in Charlotte report “above-average” levels of happiness, and it’s not hard to see why.

3. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

Living in Utah, you’ll have easy access to five national parks and seven national monuments. And get this: the drive from Intermountain Medical Center, the largest hospital in Salt Lake, to Snowbird, one of the best ski resorts in the U.S., is a total of 28 minutes. For 39 minutes of your time, you can make it to Park City, home of the Sundance Film Festival and more great skiing.

It’s the outdoor attractions that get the bulk of the attention here. But Salt Lake City is a major metropolitan area. You can expect all of the amenities that go along with that, from shopping to professional sports to a lively and diverse restaurant scene. 

But seriously, let’s not kid ourselves. If ending your shift at 5:00 pm and hitting the slopes for night-skiing by 5:45 doesn’t make Salt Lake a top city for physicians, what would?

2. Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville, FL

Financially speaking, it’s tough to beat Jacksonville if you’re a doctor. It’s a top 10 city in both physician salary and annual pay growth — an unusual combination that none of the other cities on the list so far have been able to offer.

Jacksonville gives you multiple outdoor adventures to try out when you’re not working, especially the kind that involve kayaks, canoes, rafts, pontoons, jet boats, and other watercraft. By land mass, it’s the largest metro area in the entire United States — “big enough,” says U.S. News & World Report, “to find something for everyone to enjoy.”

You can’t go wrong with Jacksonville, and the extra income you’ll earn by working there will likely lead to even more opportunities.

1. Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, GA

According to one expert, “Doctors like Atlanta because of its booming economy and high quality of education and hospitals . . . Emory is a world class university, and Emory Healthcare is the largest healthcare system in Georgia.” What this expert didn’t say is that, like Jacksonville, Atlanta is a top city for physician pay as well as annual pay growth — only it tops Jacksonville in both categories.

It’s a big city with lots of big attractions, including the world’s largest aquarium and several professional sports teams. The restaurants in Atlanta are top-notch, as are the shopping, golfing, music, and arts scenes.

If you read the tabloids, you know that Atlanta is a hotspot for celebrities. It’s cheaper than Hollywood, and life is just, well, more laid back. Top cities for physicians? In our opinion, Atlanta tops them all.  

Finding the perfect job

The great thing about being a doctor is that there’s hardly a city, town, village, hamlet, or municipality in the country that doesn’t need more of them. One of those jobs is the perfect fit for you — you just have to find it.

At CompHealth, we can help you find the perfect physician job wherever you hope to relocate. We have openings all over the country, and we’d love to tell you about them. Give us a call at 800.453.3030 or view today’s physician job opportunities to learn more.


Dave Nielsen

Dave Nielsen lives in Salt Lake City. He writes about healthcare, technology, and business.

See all articles from this author