And What You Need to Know About Getting Licensed There

Whether you’re looking to find your next permanent placement or just want to give locum tenens a try, competitive compensation is always a critical factor in deciding where to work next. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top five highest paying states for doctors. We’ve also included important licensing information on each state. Take a look below and then contact us about getting your next assignment lined up in one of these high-paying locations.

1. Kentucky

Kentucky one of the highest paying states for doctorsFrom the Kentucky Derby to the nation’s finest bourbon distilleries, the Bluegrass State has a lot to offer physicians, including higher salaries. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, physicians practicing in Kentucky can expect to earn an average annual salary of $346,000. That’s roughly 10.5% higher than the national average of $313,000. Thanks to the state’s lower than average cost of living, doctors will enjoy taking home a bigger portion of their paycheck.

Kentucky is home to the nationally ranked University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital and five other facilities that are ranked as high performers in various procedures and conditions. That means there is ample opportunity for physicians to find gainful and meaningful employment in this Commonwealth.

As of September 2020, Kentucky is a part of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) and physicians are allowed to use the Federation Credential Verification Service (FCVS) when providing their credentials. Providers can expect to pay a $300 licensing fee. Licenses are generally issued within 60-90 days.

2. Tennessee

Have you always dreamed of backpacking through the Great Smoky Mountains? Maybe a big city with a vibrant music scene is more your style. Regardless of what type of habitat speaks to you, Tennessee is a great place for physicians to practice medicine as it offers an average annual salary of $338,000 (7.98% higher than the national average). Additionally, the state’s lower than average cost of living and no income taxes makes it an attractive location to those looking to get the most for their dollar.

Currently, there are 176 hospitals located in Tennessee that range in size from 1,025 beds at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to 10 beds at Wellmont Hancock County Hospital. With so many facilities to choose from, physicians are sure to find a place that’s the right size for them.

Tennessee is part of the IMLC and physicians are allowed to use the FCVS when providing their credentials. A $410 application fee and a $60 background check fee must be paid before a license will be issued. It generally takes eight or more weeks for a physician to receive their license.

3. Alabama

Alabama one of the highest paying states for doctorsNo list of the highest paying states for doctors would be complete without Alabama. Situated deep in the heart of the South, physicians in the Yellowhammer State can expect to earn an average annual salary of $332,000 (6.07% higher than the national average). This generous income will go far since the state’s cost of living is 10% less than the national average and the overall tax burden is only 8.7%. Additionally, Alabama currently has the fourth-lowest rate of malpractice payments in the country.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is one of the state’s largest employers and it is nationally ranked as one of the Best Hospitals in America (U.S. News & World Report). It is also listed as “high performing” in 18 different specialties or procedures, making it an especially attractive place to work.

Physicians looking to practice medicine in Alabama will be pleased to know that the state is part of the IMLC and the FCVS can be used to provide credentials. Doctors should be prepared to pay a $20 application packet fee, a $65 criminal background check fee and a $175 initial license fee. While licenses are generally issued within 6-8 weeks, the process can take up to six months.

4. Ohio

America’s heartland is well known for its wide-open spaces and friendly people. However, most don’t know that it’s also the place where fiscally savvy physicians choose to work, especially in the great state of Ohio. Physicians practicing medicine in the Buckeye State can expect to earn an average annual salary of $326,000 (4.15% higher than the national average). Ranked as the second most affordable state in the country, it’s no wonder so many providers choose to practice there.

There are over 220 hospitals in Ohio, including the famous Cleveland Clinic which is nationally ranked in 14 adult specialties and 10 children’s specialties. An additional 20 nationally ranked hospitals call Ohio home, ensuring physicians have access to a multitude of employment opportunities.

Currently, Ohio is not part of the IMLC. However, clinicians can still use the FCVS to submit their credentials. A $335 application fee and a $46 criminal record check fee are required to obtain a medical license in Ohio. Licenses take at least 10-12 weeks to be issued.

5. Indiana

Indiana, another state filled with midwestern charm, rounds out the list of the highest paying states for doctors. Just like its neighbor to the east (Ohio), Indiana offers physicians a competitive annual salary of $326,000 (4.15% higher than the national average). It is also ranked as the third most affordable state in the country and boasts a new national park (Indiana Dunes National Park), the Indy 500 and and the highly-competitive Hoosier basketball.

Of the 161 hospitals in Indiana, ten are nationally ranked. Indiana University Health Medical Center, the state’s top hospital, is nationally ranked in three adult specialties, 10 children’s specialties and is rated high performing in 5 adult specialties and 6 procedures/conditions.

While Indiana is not currently part of the IMLC, clinicians can still use the FCVS to submit their credentials. A $250 application fee and a $100 request for a temporary permit fee must be paid prior to receiving a license. Licenses are generally issued within 2-4 months.

Ready to earn more with a permanent job opportunity or a locum tenens assignment in one of these highest paying states for doctors? Fill out the contact form below and one of our recruiters will be in contact shortly.

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7 Tips for Working with a Physician Recruiter
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Wisconsin Travel Guide for Locum Tenens and Physicians