The field of physiatry, also known as physical medicine and rehabilitation, has been experiencing several notable trends in PM&R job hiring and physiatry job opportunities.  Hiring trends can change rapidly depending on regional and local needs. Rapid change in the healthcare system also creates demand for different subspecialties in different regions.

Growing Demand: There has been an increasing demand for physiatrists due to various factors.   Other factors include aging physiatrists and many physiatrists who accelerated their retirement because of Covid and the increasing electronic billing requirements, an aging population, higher rates of chronic conditions, and a growing emphasis on non-surgical treatments for musculoskeletal and neurological conditions.  Physiatrist demand is projected to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028.

Less Supply: As many senior PM&R residents choose to do interventional fellowships, it leaves a large gap in the supply of inpatient physiatrists.  I’d guesstimate that 2/3 of the physiatry seniors do an interventional fellowship. Without an increase in physiatry residency positions, the current national shortfall of physiatrists is projected to persist. Although a projected increase in physiatrists’ use of advanced practice providers may help preserve access to comprehensive physiatry care, it is not expected to eliminate the shortfall.

As a result of COVID-19, in 2021, 72% of physicians in general reported a reduction in income, 43% had to work with reduced staff, and 8% closed their practices.

By 2022, hiring trends had increased and long-term health challenges and the aging population drove rehiring and increased income.  15% of physicians experienced a reduction in income, down from 72% in 2021. 8% of physicians have had to work with reduced staff.   8% of physicians have had to close their practice largely a result of retirement.

Physicians report heavier workloads along with the following impacts: burnout-68%, feelings of anger and/or anxiety-53%, withdrawing from family and friends-35%, and sought medical attention for a mental health issue-17%.

The biggest factors causing physician shortages are: an aging population as the number of people 65 and older is expected to grow by 42% between now and 2034, and retirements as more than two out of five current physicians will be over age 65 between now and 2034.

Burnout, stress, and COVID-19 effects are also expected to have an impact on physician shortages.

Regional and geographic impacts are expected to continue in areas with more aging adults particularly in the Midwest and the South.

Physician demographics in general, and probably reflective of physiatry, are that the Eastern region and most large metro areas throughout the nation have the greatest number of trained physicians. Midwestern and Southern states, along with rural areas, are confronting large aging populations and have a greater shortage of trained practitioners.

Hiring trend surveys show that areas with a shortage of physicians continue to offer higher salaries and larger bonuses to attract qualified candidates.

Shifts in care models are also affecting recruitment and hiring, including an increase in academic medical center recruitment and a move toward convenient care and telemedicine.

Here’s how recruitment trends for physicians in general have changed, based on employment setting, over the past year: Hospital                       recruitment: 34% in 2022 (up from 33% in 2021), medical group recruitment: 18% in 2022 (down from 29% in 2021), academic medical center recruitment: 34% in 2022 (up from 20% in 2021), physician recruitment for solo, partnership, & concierge practices: 1% in 2022 (down from 3% in 2021). (This reference also was used for some of the summary below.)

Diverse Employment Settings: Physiatrists have opportunities in more and more settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, private practice, subacute centers, skilled nursing facilities, academic institutions, and interdisciplinary clinics. Some of these services such as subacute have consolidated among a few provider organizations and are now more organized than in years past.  In turn, they are proactively filling the need for these services and therefore looking for more physiatrists.  These diverse options allow for different work environments and patient populations.

Subspecialty Growth: Subspecialties within physical medicine and rehabilitation, such as sports medicine, spinal cord injury, pain medicine, and pediatric rehabilitation, are expanding. This growth has led to more specialized job openings for physiatrists with expertise in these areas.

Telemedicine Opportunities: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of telemedicine in healthcare. Physiatrists have increasingly utilized telemedicine for consultations, follow-ups, and remote patient care, which has opened up new job opportunities in virtual healthcare settings.

Employment in Alternative Settings: Some PM&R physicians are exploring opportunities in non-traditional settings such as corporate health, insurance companies, and government agencies, leveraging their expertise in functional restoration and disability management.

Focus on Outpatient Services: Outpatient rehabilitation services are in demand, especially with a growing emphasis on early intervention and preventive care. Job opportunities in outpatient clinics and community health settings are expanding.


The job market for physiatrists appears to be robust and diverse, offering a wide range of opportunities in various healthcare settings

Specific hiring trends vary based on geographic locations, healthcare policies, etc.

There is a shortage for physicians in general, particularly in the Midwest and Southern regions.

The demand for physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians is expected to increase

Rural and underserved areas pay the highest salaries and the biggest bonuses.

Please feel free to consult with Farr Healthcare, Inc. for the most recent updates on hiring trends in physiatry., 888-362-7200, [email protected]