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Starting Salaries Offered to the 20 Most Recruited Specialties

An analysis of starting salaries and other recruiting incentives provides insight into what it takes to attract health care professionals into new practice settings.

Each year, healthcare staffing firm AMN Healthcare publishes a report on the healthcare search and consulting engagements conducted on behalf of its clients.

The data was collected for the 12-month period from April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023. During that time, the firm conducted more than 2,600 professional search engagements.

Piggy bank with stethoscope
Shutterstock, 101302759

Key trends in recruiting healthcare professionals

For the third consecutive year, nurse practitioners top the list of most requested search engagements. Demand is being driven by alternative care settings including retail clinics, urgent care centers and telehealth platforms.

There were more requested searches for advanced practice professionals, including nurse practitioners, physicians assistants and CRNAs than for primary care physicians. This highlights the continued migration of primary care into alternative care settings. Despite this trend, family medicine physicians still landed in the number two spot on the list.

Roughly 70% of the total search engagements were conducted in communities with populations of 100,00 or more. This dispels the notion that most recruiting engagements are for rural and/or small communities.

Salaries offered through recruiting engagements

The data below is sorted in order of number of search engagements.

SpecialtyLowAverageHigh
Nurse Practitioner$115,000$151,000$271,000
Family Medicine$120,000$255,000$375,000
Radiology$370,000$472,000$693,000
Ob/Gyn$240,000$367,000$700,000
Anesthesiology$260,000$450,000$600,000
Psychiatry$230,000$356,000$450,000
Internal Medicine$168,000$255,000$350,000
Gastroenterology$315,000$506,000$700,000
Cardiology (Non-Invasive)$281,000$433,000$584,000
Cardiology (Interventional)$300,000$517,000$800,000
Hematology/Oncology$246,000$440,000$600,000
Hospitalist$217,000$299,000$480,000
Neurology$267,000$354,000$525,000
Urology$415,000$540,000$625,000
CRNA$163,000$212,000$280,000
Dermatology$340,000$427,000$600,000
Orthopedic Surgery$450,000$633,000$900,000
Pediatrics$190,000$233,000$276,000
Pulmonology/Critical Care$325,000$418,000$530,000
Endocrinology$215,000$256,000$300,000
Rheumatology$230,000$273,000$325,000

Additional insights on compensation

The vast majority (94%) of employment contracts offered include salary or salary with production bonus. The metrics most often used for production bonuses remain RVUs (59%), followed by net collections (20%).

Other recruiting incentives include the following:

  • Relocation assistance
  • Signing bonus
  • Paid continuing medical education (CME)
  • Health insurance
  • Malpractice insurance
  • Retirement/401k
  • Disability insurance
  • Educational loan forgiveness

The future demand for recruiting engagements

Despite the widely known physician shortage, half of healthcare administrators report that their organizations do not have formal physician retention plans in place. Two out of three administrators also reveal they do not have formal succession plans in place.

When physicians depart their positions, healthcare organizations are forced into immediate recruiting engagements to meet demand and recapture lost revenue.

As physicians continue to switch careers and/or retire, the demand for physician recruiting engagements will only continue to rise.

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  1. Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives 2023. https://www.amnhealthcare.com/siteassets/amn-insights/blog/physician/2023physicianincentivereview.pdf
  2. Physician Recruitment Trends: Responding to a Changing Post-Pandemic Market. Tony Stajduhar, Jackson Physician Search. February 2023.

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