Demand for Medical Specialists on the Rise, Survey Says

August 15, 2018


For the past 12 years, family care physicians have topped the list of the most in-demand medical professionals in the US, according to an annual healthcare staffing survey by Merritt Hawkins, a Dallas-based physician recruiter and staffing firm. But the latest such survey shows that demand for doctors in multiple specialties is on the rise. In fact, the 2018 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives report reveals that 74 percent of search assignments over the past 12 months were for specialists – up from 67 percent three years ago.

Driving the demand for medical specialists are three primary factors. First, Baby Boomers increasingly are hitting a medically vulnerable age, keeping cardiologists, orthopedic surgeons, pulmonologists and others who treat typically age-related conditions busy. Second, poor nutrition and lifestyle choices are boosting rates of obesity, diabetes and mental health issues, creating a patient population whose treatment depends largely on specialists. The final factor has nothing to do with patient populations or choices, but rather the cyclical nature of the physician employment market. For years, hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities focused on recruiting primary care physicians. Now, the pendulum has swung the other way and emphasis is on filling gaps in the need for specialists.

The survey, conducted between April 2017 and March 2018, is based a sample of 3,045 clinician search assignments. If you’re a medical student considering adopting a practice specialty, here are the top 20 most requested assignment searches by medical specialty:

  1. Family Medicine
  2. Psychiatry
  3. Nurse Practitioner
  4. Internal Medicine
  5. Radiology
  6. OB/GYN
  7. Hospitalist
  8. Gastroenterology
  9. Urgent Care
  10. Orthopedic Surgery
  11. Emergency Medicine
  12. Dermatology
  13. Pediatrics
  14. Cardiology
  15. Neurology
  16. Otolaryngology
  17. Urology
  18. Pulmonology
  19. Anesthesiology
  20. Physician Assistant

No matter which, if any, specialty you choose, medical school and practice will undoubtedly be highly competitive. To assure you’re primed for success, consider enrolling at St. Augustine, FL-based WOLFPACC. Call 904-209-3140 or visit to find out how we can help.