“Excellence… represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”                                                     


If you’re about to become a surgeon or physician, or are already working as one and thinking of relocating, doing your due diligence about the question of “where to work” is essential.

According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics[1], surgeon and physician jobs are projected to grow at a higher rate (7%) than the national average over the next eight years. However, this field is one of the most competitive. In order to land where you’ll be most likely to thrive, both professionally and personally, it’ll be wise to take a good look at some of the key elements to making that a reality. Two of the most salient are level of employment and average salary for the area in which you’re looking to practice.

To assist you in identifying the top 10 metropolitan areas for surgeons and physicians to work, below you’ll find a chart (provided by the U.S. Labor Department[2]), which conveys vital employment level and annual salary data for those in this field.


Metropolitan areas with the highest employment level in this occupation:

Metropolitan areaEmployment (1)Employment per thousand jobsLocation quotient (9)Hourly mean wageAnnual mean wage (2)
New York, NY46,6704.911.83$84.63$176,030
Boston, MA14,3105.191.93$98.21$204,280
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania11,4204.011.49$103.11$214,470
Los Angeles, CA11,2101.830.68$104.74$217,860
Washington, DC10,2203.261.21$94.63$196,840
Detroit, MI8,8804.501.67$74.10$154,120
Chicago, IL7,6301.640.61$81.90$170,350
Houston, TX6,4402.160.80$85.00$176,800
Atlanta, GA6,2002.310.86$113.78$236,660
San Francisco, CA5,9302.450.91$73.68$153,250


As the statistics above indicate, the top three metropolitan areas for this career field are in the Northeast: New York City-Newark-Jersey City, Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, and Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington. However, what this chart also points out is that Los Angeles and Atlanta offer the prospect of a significantly higher annual mean wage to surgeons and physicians working in those metro areas (Atlanta being the highest-paying of the top 10 metropolitan job locations for this career field).

Needless to say, there are a wide range of other potentially influential factors to consider when hunting for the best place to find surgeon or physician employment. Here are a few key questions to ask yourself (which warrant your giving extra attention to), as you move forward with your job search:

  • What kind of community are you looking for? How important are the opportunities for innovation and inclusion to you?
  • Is the cost of living in the metropolitan area you’re exploring in line with current annual salaries in the region?
  • Is the expected commute conducive to your well-being and stress levels? Similarly, is the area’s climate suitable to you, in terms of both your health and lifestyle preferences?
  • Whether you choose to live in an urban or suburban place, does the local culture “fit” you and how you best like to live and unwind?
  • Does the region offer you the diversity of viewpoints and experiences you value?


Being sure to investigate and weigh the job location factors mentioned above, as well as any others that are meaningful to you as a surgeon or physician (whether you’re now in practice or currently in training), will ensure you’re in the best position to thrive wherever you decide to live and work.