“You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.”                                                     

Dr. Seuss, from Oh, the Places You’ll Go



According to the most recent findings from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program (part of the U.S. Labor Department), Columbia, Missouri is the top city in the country to consider, if you’re a family or general practice physician looking for a job. The table below lists the nine runners-up (drawn from the latest OES website data) and this article will give you a brief look at just why some of these ten cities are ranked the best.

Metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in this occupation:

Metropolitan areaEmployment (1)Employment per thousand jobsLocation quotient (9)Hourly mean wageAnnual mean wage (2)
Columbia, MO4805.096.46$115.11$239,420
Carbondale-Marion, IL1903.564.52$80.40$167,240
Punta Gorda, FL1603.424.33$101.11$210,310
Coeur d’Alene, ID2003.254.12$121.59$252,900
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL6603.093.92$106.54$221,600
Florence, SC2402.773.51$117.72$244,870
Sumter, SC1002.693.41$119.72$249,010
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL5202.633.34$106.43$221,380
Grand Junction, CO1602.563.25$98.07$203,990
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC5702.543.22$56.13$116,750


Regarding the findings above, the “location quotient” is the ratio of the area concentration of family/general practice physician employment to the national average concentration. (A location quotient greater than one indicates this occupation has a higher share of employment than average.) So, you can readily see that besides Columbia, Missouri’s being six-plus times the national average, there are two coastal Florida cities (Palm Bay and Punta Gorda), northern Idaho’s Couer d’Alene (30 miles east of Spokane Washington) and another Midwestern city (Carbondale, Illinois, two hours southeast of St. Louis) that round out the top five prime candidates for job locations, each being roughly 4x the national average. 

In case you’re wondering just where Columbia, the fastest growing city in Missouri, is located (fyi, it’s home to the University of Missouri), it lies in the center of the state, two hours west of St. Louis and two hours east of Kansas City. Of its roughly 125,000 residents, 8,500 are employed in the healthcare field at seven hospitals with over 1,000 physicians employed at these seven sites. (Links to more about Columbia and each of the top 10 cities can be found below.)

If you’re looking for a smaller-sized place to work, the next three cities on the list have populations of 45,000 or less, yet high employment rates for family and general practice physicians. All three (Carbondale, Punta Gorda and Coeur d’Alene) also have unique benefits to their respective communities, including rich historic and cultural backgrounds, beautiful surroundings and increasingly thriving communities.

Another Florida coastal area (the Brevard County tri-city area of Palm Bay, Melbourne and Titusville) is home to two hospitals that are among the top five employers in the county, employing nearly 10,000 people (in a population of roughly 250,000).

Grand Junction, Colorado, three South Carolina metropolitan areas (Florence, Sumter and Augusta, GA-Richmond County SC) and one more Florida tri-city area (Deltona-Daytona-Ormond Beach) give you further possibilities to explore, as these five represent regional populations that are either revitalizing (Grand Junction, Florence and Sumter) or swiftly growing in population (Augusta, GA-Richmond County SC and the Deltona-Daytona-Ormond Beach areas).

As the saying goes, “Knowledge is power.” And being aware of the latest and best options for job locations gives you, as a family or general practice physician, the ability to make a more informed decision to both empower and enhance your future.