Health Guide USA
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Physician Job Outlook

The Physician Job Outlook is good, with employment of physicians and surgeons expected to increase by 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, much better than the forecasted 7% average growth for all occupations. Job growth will occur with the continued expansion of healthcare-related industries. The growing and aging population is expected to enhance the overall Physician Job Outlook as consumers continue to seek high levels of care that uses the latest technologies, diagnostic tests, and therapies. Many medical schools are increasing their enrollments based on perceived higher demand for physicians.

Demand for physicians and surgeons is expected to increase despite factors that can temper growth. New technologies that allow physicians to treat more patients in the same amount of time will reduce the number of physicians needed to complete the same tasks. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners (a type of registered nurse) can do many of the routine duties of physicians and may increasingly be used to reduce costs at hospitals and outpatient care facilities, thereby reducing physician employment opportunities.

Furthermore, demand for physicians’ services is sensitive to changes in healthcare reimbursement policies. Consumers may demand fewer physician services if changes to health coverage result in higher out-of-pocket costs for them. The job outlook should be particularly good for physicians who are willing to practice in rural and low-income areas as these areas tend to have difficulty attracting physicians. Job opportunities also should be good for physicians in specialties dealing with health issues that largely affect aging baby boomers. For example, physicians specializing in cardiology and radiology will be needed because the risks for heart disease and cancer increase as people age.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook

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