The medical field has been growing in recent years. An increased demand for doctors is being met with increasing enrollment in medical programs across the country. In 2015, the number of medical students matched with an appropriate residency program hit a historic high. There were 41,334 applicants for residencies, an increase of 940 from the year before. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation was one of the specialties where all of the available residency positions were filled.
The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation sets the standards for certification in physiatry and administers licensing exams. Their published statistics on the number of people taking their exams shows a slight growth in the field. In 2016, 401 people took the computer-based exam and 348 took the oral exam for the first time. The result was 12,155 certified PM&R Diplomates in the field in total in 2016.
There are 10,842 physicians active in the field of PM&R, 10,732 of those PM&R specialists were working in patient care. The others were either teaching, doing research, or in some other way contributing to the development of PM&R.
Recent changes in our healthcare system draw attention to a need for more doctors, especially in low-income and rural communities. Studies and projections by the Human Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) help to quantify this growing need for physicians.
HRSA predicts a need for 55,000 more physicians in 2020 than are currently on track to complete medical school by that time. It says there will be 866,400 physicians in 2020 to fill 921,500 jobs. The job market for doctors, by all sources, is predicted to increase in the next several years.
The increasing demand for doctors is primarily due to our growing and aging population in the U.S. Thanks to advances in medical science and a greater understanding of health by the general population, people are living longer. One of the largest generations, the Baby Boomers, is driving the population growth into the geriatric years.
The need for physicians now and in the near future is centered in specialty areas for treating this older population. PM&R fits right into that need and is one specialty that should experience tremendous growth. Handling the pain and increasing functionality of aging joints and joints that have been surgically replaced is just one aspect of PM&R that is on the rise.
In 2013 alone, the number of joint replacements in the U.S. exceeded one million and continues to rise. Experts project that joint replacement will reach 4 million a year in the next 20 years. Between 2000 and 2010, for example, the number of people getting hip replacement surgery increased by more than 100%. The increase in the number of those surgeries for people 75 and older was 92%.
Innovations in joint replacement technology is just one area that will force the increasing need for physiatrists. As the population in the U.S. ages, there will be even more opportunities to work with our aging population.
A deficiency in the number of skilled nursing facilities in the US was reported in 2009. A study of the period from 2009 to 2014 showed those deficiencies were lessening, partly due to increased staffing at these facilities and an increased number of facilities opening. The number of job opportunities in skilled nursing facilities will continue to rise.
Another population that is rising and in need of PM&R is military veterans. In the US in 2014, there were 1,062,730 veterans reporting a 70% disability or greater. This number was up from 698,000 in 2010. The growth in our disabled veterans population indicates a growing need for PM&R and an increasing number of job opportunities.
Another area of growth for PM&R is in sports medicine. In the past five years, sports medicine has seen a 5.3% increase in jobs. Jobs for sports medicine physicians are expected to grow by 14.9% by 2024, much higher than the projected growth in other careers.
Recent years have seen an intense focus on all areas of sports medicine, especially from athletes of all ages and ability levels. PM&R can give competitors an edge with maximum functionality as well as fast recovery from injury.
The number of accredited residency programs in PM&R is small but growing.
Here is a salary breakdown for the physiatrists already working in the field today:
Physiatrists can expect to earn higher salaries in more rural areas where medical specialists are scarce. Salaries are fairly consistent between states, ranging from $145,000 to $240,000, with more densely populated states containing larger cities offering slightly higher wages.
Here is a sampling of state salary averages for physiatrists:
New York $240,000
Annual starting salaries for physiatrists who have completed medical school and a hospital residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation and clinical training range from $90,000 to $200,000. Physiatrists pursuing a full-time job in academia account for the lower end of the starting salary scale.
According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, academic salaries in physiatry center around $210,000 for positions like medical school professors. The median salary for assistant professors is $180,000.
In August 2016, the median salary for all physiatrists was $216,046. Depending on a variety of factors, including location and type of position, physiatrists annual compensation ranges between $195,487 and $240,973.
The Economic Research Institute lists the following average salaries for physiatrists in large cities:
Depending on where they work, physiatrists can make as much as $420,000 annually, with the ones who work for private companies earning the highest salaries. Some physiatrists receive an annual bonus between $5,014 and $35,608. While that is a large range, the exact amount is based on the location and type of employer.
In addition to a salary, most practicing physiatrists also get medical and dental insurance, professional liability insurance, and a retirement plan from their employer. Physiatrist positions generally include rather lucrative benefits packages that could include 401K and profit sharing.
Here are some more interesting facts about what physiatrists earn:
A breakdown of current physiatrists’ salaries by gender reveals that men earn an average salary range of $75,000 to $399,959, and women, on average, earn from $148,738 to $245,659. Location is an important factor in physiatrist salaries. Here is a list of the top five states for physiatrist salaries and the bottom five:
The factors that affect the salary a physiatrist earns include:
Some of the most important factors in the success of a physiatrist is the years of experience and the particular set of skills you have acquired. With more years of experience and a larger skill set within the field, you can command a higher salary than the average.
The employers who pay lower salaries for physiatrists are mostly government agencies, non-profits, pharmaceutical facilities, and educational institutions. Physiatrists working in the healthcare industry earn the higher salaries. Those working for privately owned companies or in private practice tend to be at the top end of the earnings scale.
There are PM&R jobs available in most states, although these jobs are less competitive outside of the major metropolitan areas. If you are willing to work in a low-income community or a sparsely populated region, you are likely to find more job opportunities and at higher salaries.
Board certification in PM&R will also help your chances of landing a high-paying position with a reputable practice or rehab center. The more focused your residency and experience is in the specific type of PM&R practice you are interested in, the better your chances of landing the job you want.
Once your credentials are in order, the next step is to contact Farr Healthcare. We place physiatrists all over the country in rewarding positions. Just like you, we specialize in PM&R, which makes us more knowledgeable about the field and potential employers. Working with us gives you an advantage over other job applicants.
The number of children born with debilitating conditions like spina bifida and cerebral palsy is not growing, but the number of interventions available to help them cope with these conditions is. Physiatrists continue to open up more job opportunities for themselves in the area of pediatrics by developing innovative ways to improve functionality for children who are disabled.
The survival rates for children born with debilitating diseases continues to increase, increasing the need for physiatrists to treat and follow each patient through childhood or longer. So far, this increase in demand for physiatrists has not been met with an equal supply of trained professionals. Given the limited number of graduate programs in PM&R, this deficit is not likely to be made up in the next ten years or more.
At Farr Healthcare, we understand the nuances of your profession because we have worked in PM&R. We are best equipped to describe your unique value to potential employers and find the position that fits you well. From entry-level to highly experienced positions, we can help you get into the job you want in PM&R.
PM&R is an exciting field that is growing faster than any other, as a medical specialty it is not well-known but requires a unique combination of skills and knowledge. At Farr Healthcare, we respect how hard you had to work to get your PM&R certification, and we want to match you with an employer who values that, too.
We work to educate our clients who may be new to the field about the rigors of training to become a physiatrist. We help them understand what to look for in a candidate and what most candidates are looking for in an employer. From large rehab centers to private practices, Farr Healthcare gets to know the employers who list PM&R jobs with us.
We have a number of PM&R job listings in several states across the country. We also get new listings in every week or so. When you are ready to begin your career in PM&R or if you are looking for a change, start by calling Farr Healthcare today.