The Doctor Isn’t In: The 5 Most In-Demand Medical Specialties for 2019

It’s widely acknowledged that the medical field is one of the most stable markets in the world for jobs. Doctors, nurses, and support staff jobs are always in demand, and there’s never quite enough qualified people to fill all of the open positions. With great pay, great benefits, and a career that truly has the potential to change lives, the medical field is one of the surest routes to security and success.

Even within the broad field of human medicine, there are some jobs that are more in demand than others. For specialized physicians, it’s a job seeker’s market right now. There’s a lot of opportunities for certain specialists to get better pay and benefits than what their peers enjoy. If you’re already qualified in one of these areas, or you’re considering a career change, it’s in your best interest to know where the market stands.

Read ahead to discover the five most in-demand specialty areas for physicians in 2019.

1. Family Medicine

Believe it or not, one of the most in-demand specialties requires some of the least training and certification. Since family physicians must be able to address anything from a simple cold to early signs of cancer, they typically don’t overspecialize in any one field. Despite the relative ease of accessing family medicine, many doctors avoid the field since it can often pay less than a more specialized field.

That could be changing quickly though. In 2018, the average salary for a family physician was around $219,000, the highest it had ever been, with an increase of 5% from the past five years.

2. Internal Medicine

The field of internal medicine has been hit hard in recent years. As of this writing, there are over 24,000 open internal medicine positions in the U.S. alone. The drain on internal medicine seems to be the result of two primary factors: physicians being recruited into more advanced specialties and low salary.

The pay, especially, is very hard to swallow. The average salary for an internal medicine physician was around just $230,000 last year. That’s not a significant increase from previous years. As the demand grows, it’s possible, though unlikely, that pay increases may come.

3. Psychiatry

As society has progressed, and mental health has become more of a concern in recent years, is it any wonder that there’s a demand for people who can address mental health concerns? However, that doesn’t mean that doctors are lining up to fill those slots.

In 2015, the National Resident Matching Program (NMRP) reported that of the 1,374 psychiatry residencies available, nearly 20% went unfilled. To make matters worse, just over half of the 695 of applicants said psychiatry was not their first choice of specialty. This paints a disturbing picture – psychiatry positions are more in demand than ever but many aren’t being filled.
Worse, the people who fill them may not be 100% committed to their field.

4. Radiology

As medical technology continues to evolve, the demand for people who know how to capture and analyze medical imagery will only grow. Radiology has often been regarded as one of the most stable, enjoyable, and well-paying specialties in the medical industry. Radiology ranked in the top five highest paying specialties in 2018, averaging $401,000 a year in salary. Additionally, radiologists tend to have better work/life balances, and less job stress, than other specialties. Coupled with a job market has plenty of open positions, it’s clear that it’s a great time to be in radiology.

5. Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN)

The Millennial generation distinguished itself from previous generations in that many Millennials chose to wait before having children. 2017 marked the first time in American history that more mothers had their first child in their 30s than in their 20s, according to the CDC. However, now that Millennial women are finally ready to have children, they’re quickly finding that there are not enough OBGYNs to go around.

To make matters worse, the largest concentration of OBGYNs is still the Baby Boomer generation, which is near or already at retirement age. As current OBGYNs continue to hang up their white coats, and young women continue to become mothers for the first time, the demand for new OBGYNs is expected to increase by 6% by the year 2020.