Types of Physicians in High Demand

Demand for doctors is expected to grow through 2011.
Demand for doctors is expected to grow through 2011. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

The majority of physicians -- regardless of type -- will be in high demand, because from 2010 to 2035, the number of individuals over the age of 70 is going to increase more than 95 percent, according to Robert Truog, founder of Physician Employment. There will be a large population of older patients and a smaller population of younger physicians taking the jobs of retiring doctors.


As of September of 2009, there was already a shortage of 3,000 cardiologists in the United States, and that number is expected to increase. This is because 20 million additional Americans are predicted to have heart disease by 2020, according to the American College of Cardiology. Only 800 new cardiologists complete fellowships each year, which is not enough to meet the increasing demand. In addition, 43 percent of cardiologists are over the age of 55 and are nearing the age of retirement. This will further increase the demand for cardiologists. The number of obese individuals in the United States is expected to increase, which will further increase the demand for cardiologists. The median salary for cardiologists, as of March of 2011, was $321,000, according to Salary.com.


Neurosurgeons are in high demand because of the extensive training period required. Neurosurgeons must complete a four-year undergraduate degree, four years of medical school and a six-year neurosurgery residency program, which takes a total of 14 years. The United States only has 2,850 surgeons and more than 300 million people. Neurosurgeons earn approximately $541,000 annually, and are the highest paid type of doctor.

Orthopedic Surgeons

Orthopedic surgeons will be in high demand because of the aging population in America. Bone-related diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis occur more commonly in old age. In addition, orthopedic surgery residency positions are extremely competitive. For example, Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia receives more than 600 applicants each year, but only accepts six residents. Orthopedic surgeons earned approximately $480,000 in 2009.


Radiologists will continue to be in high demand because of an aging patient population that needs X-rays for orthopedic conditions, as well as diagnostic tests for heart disease. In 2009, radiology was rated as one of the top three most attractive medical specialties for medical school graduates, making radiology programs extremely selective. The average salary for radiologists in 2009 was approximately $470,000, according to 600bn.com.

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