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January 9, 2023

Did you know that within the next 10 years, national healthcare spending is expected to reach $6.2 trillion in the United States? Even as the healthcare industry grows, Surgeons are frustrated because the volume of job opportunities has decreased due to the pandemic. Many Physicians and Surgeons are being asked to take on new administrative tasks and responsibilities, and as a result of this ongoing work, Physician burnout is at its highest level in history.

Whether you are coming out of residency or re-evaluating your priorities years into your career, finding opportunities in medicine should not be a struggle. By examining and understanding hiring trends for Physicians and Surgeons and learning the best places to look for Surgeon jobs, you can set yourself up for the right opportunities that will further your career and lead to greater job satisfaction.

What Do Physicians and Surgeons Do?

Physicians and Surgeons support the health of patients by diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries. Primary care Physicians examine patients, evaluate patient symptoms, run and interpret diagnostic tests, and prescribe medication, among other duties related to promoting health.

They also counsel patients regarding diet, physical activity, and other preventative healthcare measures. A Physician who specializes in osteopathic medicine may especially emphasize preventative healthcare.

In contrast to preventative medicine, a Surgeon is a Physician who is responsible for operating on patients to treat diseases, injuries, and physical abnormalities. Surgeons diagnose patients and direct all parts of the surgery process, overseeing the work of technicians and all other medical staff in the operating room. Surgeons may perform minimally invasive procedures that last only a few minutes or complex life-saving procedures that last for hours.

Physicians and Surgeons are responsible for the overall health of their patients. They supply information needed to update patient charts and medical histories, create and enact plans of treatment, and may order consultations with other medical professionals for their patients.

Physicians and Surgeons are trained to specialize in a particular area of medicine. Following their education at an accredited medical school, Physicians complete residency training to determine their medical focus.

There are different types of Physicians and Surgeons for every area of the body. There are specialized surgeons such as Neurosurgeons or Orthopedic Surgeons and specialized Physicians like Cardiologists and Dermatologists.

Employment Outlook for Physicians and Surgeons

Physicians and Surgeons have a fair amount of job opportunities available in 2022, both in permanent positions and locum tenens jobs. While overall job growth in the profession is predicted to expand just 3% by 2030 (slower than average compared to all other occupations) there are still thousands of positions available every year for Physicians and Surgeons looking to make a career change.

Employment prospects for Physicians and Surgeons may not be growing as quickly as in other professions, but there is still a high demand for Physician services. After all, Physicians and Surgeons have worked hard to pass a medical college admission test and spent years in medical school programs. Physicians and Surgeons represent an elite segment of the American workforce and their skills are always needed.

Predictable increases in rates of chronic illness and overall aging of the US population will require skilled treatment and care that only Physicians and Surgeons can provide. The need for primary health Physicians to treat mental illnesses is also expected to rise in coming years.

However, disruptive technologies like telehealth services may cause patients to seek fewer Physician services. And administrative overhead may reduce the need for Physicians to perform routine duties in hospitals and private practices.

Job outlook for Physicians and Surgeons in 2022 is still adequate despite impediments to growth. Changes in technology and the healthcare industry may limit prospects to some degree, but job opportunities are still readily available for Physicians and Surgeons.

The Surgeon Market Demand by State

Physicians and Surgeons are an essential part of the modern healthcare system. Many illnesses and medical conditions require some form of surgery for proper medical treatment, and a talented Surgeon can make a massive difference in the lives of patients.

However, each state has a different demand for Physicians and Surgeons based on their current medical landscape.

States like Wisconsin, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Indiana offer some of the highest salaries for Physicians and Surgeons. However, competitive salary alone doesn’t necessarily translate to demand for Surgeons or a good medical environment.

Alabama, Oklahoma, Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri have the highest demand for Surgeons in the US. These states are not especially competitive when it comes to job opportunities, and surgeons may have more luck finding a new career in these states than other parts of the country.

On the other hand, Massachusetts, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Utah, and California have the lowest demand for Physicians and Surgeons. These states tend to be saturated with medical professionals of all stripes, and finding a good position can be difficult. However, these states also rank as some of the best in terms of overall medical environment and can be a great choice if work is available.

There is really no one perfect state for practicing medicine for Physicians and Surgeons. Each state has its own pros and cons. The right choice is up to the personal values and goals of the Surgeon.

Careers for Surgeons

Surgeons can command some of the highest pay of any occupation. The median annual compensation for General Surgeons is about $410,000 and there are a variety of subspecialty careers for Surgeons that garner comparable income. Some career options for Surgeons include:

General Surgeons

The most comprehensive of the surgical specialties, General Surgeons are trained to perform a variety of procedures to treat a wide range of conditions. General Surgeons diagnose and treat conditions related to Gastrointestinal, Endocrine, and Cardiovascular Systems among others.

Colon and Rectal Surgeons

Following a fellowship after general surgery training, Colon and Rectal Surgeons treat organs and tissues related to the colon and rectum. Procedures may include treating hemorrhoids, anal fissures, cancers, ulcerative colitis, and other comparable conditions.


Commonly known as Brain Surgeons, Neurosurgeons deal with issues related to the brain and nervous system. They may operate to treat injuries of the head, brain tumors, and a variety of conditions related to the spine.


Ophthalmologists are Surgeons who specialize in the treatment of the eyes. Common conditions addressed by ophthalmologists include detached retinas, macular degeneration, astigmatism, eye cancer, and related conditions.


Otolaryngologists treat conditions of the earns, nose, and throat. Balance disorders, hearing issues, sinus and respiratory infections, and a variety of other disorders related to the throat, larynx, and esophagus are some of the common conditions addressed.

Critical-Care Surgeons

Critical care surgeons treat patients with life-threatening injuries or surgical needs. This may involve procedures to treat injuries, severe burns, and automobile crash injuries as well as performing exploratory surgery.

Orthopedic Surgeons

Orthopedic Surgeons are responsible for the treatment of bones, muscles, and joints as well as the surrounding nerves, arteries, and skin. This may include performing procedures to treat degenerative conditions, congenital deformities, and secondary muscular issues.

Pediatric Surgeons

Pediatric Surgeons specialize in the treatment of conditions that commonly affect younger patients. They perform surgeries at every stage of childhood from infancy to adolescence. Due to the incredibly complicated nature of surgery, surgical disciplines may have a pediatric subspecialty specifically for children.

Plastic Surgeons

A Plastic Surgeon can perform reconstructive procedures for both cosmetic and essential needs. This can include reshaping of the nose or reconstruction of the body for individuals who have suffered burns or severe trauma.

Surgical Oncologists

Surgical Oncologists specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of patients suffering from cancer. In particular, these surgeons focus on patients with rare cancers that require complicated procedures. Cancers of the lungs, kidneys, uterus, gallbladder, and breast are some of the common conditions treated.

Recent Trends in the Surgeon Job Market

Despite the undeniable growth of the healthcare industry, the Surgeon's role has changed irrevocably within the last several years.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a great catalyst of change as it has shifted hospital priorities away from once-necessary surgeries. This has led to many Physicians and Surgeons seeing fewer patients, making less money, or even being laid off due to pandemic-related staff changes.

Healthcare costs are also up, even though both Physicians and Surgeons are seeing fewer patients, due to factors like increased PPE, cleaning costs, and technology. With so many hospitals unable to schedule elective surgeries and patients unwilling to come in for in-person visits, telehealth spending increased from 0.1% of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule to a remarkable 16% by April 2020.

These trends, and the ongoing cancellations of elective surgeries and related treatments, have led to a downturn in the Surgeon job market.

With this changing demand comes a change in priorities for many health professionals, including Surgeons. Surgeons are taking this opportunity to examine what they want in their next job as they are forced to look for new prospects. Many Physicians and Surgeons have moved away from traditional job search priorities like location and have instead focused on factors like management structure, or whether their new organization provides childcare.

In-Demand Surgeon Jobs

Despite many Surgeons’ changing priorities, the reality is that there are still certain specialties that are more in-demand than others. Having expertise in one of these areas will make the negotiation much easier.

According to one report by Beckers' Healthcare, surgical specialties including Ophthalmology, Orthopedic Surgery, and Urology are projected to have the greatest shortage of physicians and surgeons by 2025.

Other reports have shown that the majority of both Thoracic and Orthopedic Surgeons are over the age of 55. Even though many Surgeons in these fields are still working, many plan to retire soon. Some hospitals even have bylaws preventing Surgeons over the age of 55 from being required to take calls.

Additionally, a June 2020 white paper found that during the pandemic, some elective surgeries (understandably) took a hit, but rising demand has kept Urology and ENT Surgeons steadily employed this whole time.

The Top Places to Look for Surgeon Jobs

Professional Associations

Many different professional organizations facilitate networking opportunities for Surgeon career growth. Due to the pandemic, many have moved online, leading to increased opportunities as you are no longer limited to your geographic area.

The American College of Surgeons and the American Surgical Association are two large organizations open to Physicians and Surgeons looking to network and exchange ideas among peers. Depending on your specialty, you may be eligible to join others, like the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons or the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons.

Online Job Boards

Job board aggregators such as Indeed or Monster may feel like a bit of a feeding frenzy, but they can help you locate the right position if you know how to look. The key is to go in with a polished resume and use specific keywords so you can ensure you are finding positions that match your skills and experience. There are also specific job boards dedicated to Physicians and Surgeons that can help you narrow your searches such as DocCafe, PhysicianJobBoard, Doximity, and more.

Job Fairs

While most in-person job fairs have been canceled, many professional associations and academic institutions have moved their job fairs online. For example, look for virtual job fairs for Neurosurgeon jobs and other associated specialties by scanning the websites of the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons and other related organizations. There are also General Physician job fairs hosted by organizations like CareerMD and PracticeMatch that can help Physicians and Surgeons in their search.

Staffing Agencies

Many Physicians and Surgeons have opted to work with staffing agencies this year since they offer increased opportunities for specialists, and can help narrow down your job search. Additionally, many Physicians and Surgeons are opting for locum tenens jobs, which can open you up to new and interesting opportunities that may not be available if you are only looking for permanent positions. A specialty staffing agency will have the knowledge and connections to match your skills to the right opportunity.

Why Work with a Specialty-Focused Locum Tenens Agency to Find Your Next Surgeon Job?

There are many options out there for Physicians and Surgeons looking for a new opportunity, especially if they are in search of one that is flexible and can offer new and untapped potential for growth during and beyond the current pandemic.

Working with a specialty-focused locum tenens agency team is a great option that can make the process easier, enabling you to find a job that’s right for your needs at a rate that works for you.

At Health Carousel Locum Tenens, our nationwide reach, state-of-the-art technology, and provider-first approach are key to our ongoing success. We provide priority access to in-demand assignments that are specific to your specialty. Once you have access to these specialty-specific job postings, you can opt for locum tenens or project-based assignments or a direct-hire or contract-to-hire placement.

By understanding your needs and working with you to find the right position, Health Carousel Locum Tenens empowers Physicians and Surgeons to practice medicine their way. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help you reach the next step in your career.


Is there a demand for Surgeons?

  • Overall job growth for Physicians and Surgeons is predicted to expand just 3% by 2030 (slower than average compared to all other occupations). But there is still a demand for surgeons, especially in underserved areas in states like Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana, and Kentucky.

Is becoming a Surgeon worth it?

  • While Surgeons are nearly always on call in their careers and cannot rely on regular work hours, they can command some of the highest salaries of any occupation. An average general surgeon can make $410,000 annually, though salary varies depending on factors like surgical specialty and geographic location.