20 of the Best Cities in America to Practice Medicine

by Tera Tuten on October 27, 2010

Finding the perfect hospital, clinic or other institution to work at is crucial to a medical professional’s job success and satisfaction. But another factor – the city you’ll live in to practice at that institution – is often second, third or not even on the checklist for workplace utopia.

Just in case you were wondering which ones offer the most opportunities for your career and overall happiness in the workplace (and out), here below are 20 of the best U.S. cities to practice medicine in and the reasons they rock to work there:

Texas and the rest of the Southwest


San Antonio, Texas
This West Texas town features a state-of-the-art center for military medicine and is home to the world renowned BAMC burn unit. San Antonio is also one of the only cities with three Level One trauma centers. The city’s South Texas Medical Center is one of the largest in the country.

Houston Texas

Houston, Texas
In addition to being a wonderful city in which to live and raise a family, Houston will soon be home to a new premier medical complex and the largest medical training campus in the world.
More: http://www.city-data.com/forum/general-u-s/376423-best-us-cities-medicine-6.html#ixzz11pShG7GX

Huntsville, Texas

Huntsville Texas

Huntsville Memorial Hospital has been recognized as an outstanding place to practice medicine by Medical Economics magazine. Interestingly-enough, the publication also lists Texas as the best state for doctors.
More: http://www.huntsvillememorial.com/content/default/?id=325

Eastern seaboard
Eastern Seabord

Boston, Massachusetts
The Milken Institute ranks Boston as the #1 life sciences cluster in America.
Its National Institutes of Health funding – at around $2 billion – is the highest in the country.


New York, New York
Though the cost of living in New York is the most expensive of any major city in the U.S., the opportunities are tremendous and the city ranks #2 for NIH funding: $1.2 billion US.


Littleton, Massachusetts
This modest settlement of 4,600 is bustling with restored 19th Century architecture, upscale restaurants, and small-town charm. Its proximity to Boston, the Massachusetts academic community, and a myriad of outdoor recreation opportunities makes Littleton a top choice based on quality of life.

California and the West

Klamath Falls, Oregon

Klamath Falls, Oregon
With a population just under 20,000, Klamath Falls – just north of the California border – has done a good job of luring former Californians with lower housing costs and 300 days of sunny weather each year. The town’s largest employer is the Sky Lake Medical Center, a hospital and outpatient clinic. Says one recruiter: “There’s great retention, great quality of life, and the hospitals are being really progressive with call pay and making it worth your while.”

The Southeast

Longwood North Carolina

Longwood, North Carolina
The city Medical Center alone received almost a billion dollars in research money on average for the past five years or so: “roughly equal to the 2004 totals of the NC Research Triangle” cites one insider.
More: http://www.city-data.com/forum/general-u-s/376423-best-us-cities-medicine-6.html#ixzz11pT8nSJ2

Scottsboro, Alabama

Scottsboro, Alabama
The town of 15,000 in the northeast corner of the state sits at the base of the breathtaking Cumberland Mountains and 70,000-acre Lake Guntersville. “A lot of people don’t think about Alabama as a great place to live, but we’ve had a lot of activity down there,” says one medical staff recruiter. “There are some very affluent communities.”

Beckley, West Virginia

Beckley, West Virginia
This tiny southwest West Virginia coal-mining hub of about 17,000 citizens is located 45 minutes south of Charleston and home to Mountain State University’s 8,200 students.
Recruiters say doctors here are doing very well financially. That, combined with a low cost of living and attractive natural amenities makes for a wonderful quality of life.

The Midwest

Ripon, Wisconsin

Ripon, Wisconsin
At just under 8,000, Ripon is about 90 minutes south of Green Bay, home to Ripon College, and the Ripon Medical Center, which includes a heart and lung center and cancer clinic. Pay is also above average compared to cost-of-living, or otherwise.

Indianapolis and New Castle, Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana

Situated 49 miles northeast of the big city, 18,000-strong New Castle offers small-town living close to Indianapolis, but is also home to Henry County Memorial Hospital, with lots of opportunities to practice at the facility right in this small town, still close to major universities, colleges, and other research institutions.

Gary, Indiana

Gary, Indiana
Gary’s cost-of living was well below the national median, and only nine states have fewer doctors per thousand people. Also, the competitiveness of Indiana’s insurance market is low enough that doctors don’t seem to feel overwhelmed by the demands of too many payers. Indiana is one of only six states described as “currently OK” by the AMA when it comes to malpractice climate.
More: http://www.clarian.org/physicianrecruitment/includes/physicianFriendlyArticle.pdf

Winston, North Dakota

Williston, North Dakota
This oil-boom town of 12,000 is home to Mercy Medical Center, which includes a cancer center, primary care clinic, and wellness center. Though weather in the state gets a bad rap because of the movie Fargo, Williston’s average high temperature of 19 degrees in January is comparable to most Upper-Midwestern states.

sioux falls, south dakota

Sioux Falls, South Dakota
A town – as with the rest of the state – that is fairly friendly to doctors from the perspective malpractice climate, as well as having a need and great respect for new incoming doctors. Pay is above average and ratios of doctors-to-patients are favorable, despite the staff shortage.

Waconia, Minnesota

Waconia, Minnesota
Only 30 minutes west of the Twin Cities, and it boasts an outdoor playground of natural beauty…plus a community indoor water park. The town is an especially friendly place to build a primary care practice in or near Minneapolis/St. Paul, then come home to this cozy settlement of 9,000 on the shores of Lake Waconia.

Kingsport, Tennessee

Kingsport, Tennessee
Recently named one of the best cities to practice medicine in America by Medial Economics Magazine:

Wichita, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas
While Kansas doesn’t actually top-out on any best-of lists, it sits near the top on a lot of them. Wichita gets high marks for favourable patient-to-doctor ratios and gosh-darn friendly locals. At 350,000, Wichita is the state’s largest city. That density, coupled with all the other surprising delights of the region makes the town the best area in the state in which to practice.


Anchorage, Alaska

Despite what you may have heard about sky-high prices in the far north, Anchorage is actually more affordable than Atlanta or Cincinnati. And this wilderness playground needs physicians badly. Incentives to relocate are plentiful and you can fly nonstop to Hawaii for vacation.

Sitka, Alaska

Sitka, Alaska
If you’re looking for the Northern Exposure experience, you won’t find it in this modern frontier town of 8,800: The state’s fourth-largest city boasts a rainy but mild year-round climate compared to most of Alaska and is home to the Sitka Medical Center. At lunch, go whale watching or check out one of the many local seafood restaurants.

Though we think these are 20 of the best cities in which to practice, they certainly aren’t the full list of obvious choices hidden gems out there. What other locales do you think are among the best places to practice medicine in America. Got another city? Reveal your picks in the comment fields below…


{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Bruce R. Kost 10.29.10 at 11:42 am

I am interested in travel pharmacy anywhere on the West Coast or on the East Coast. Please contact me with any information that can promote my opportunities while offering needed service in any of these locations. Thank you, Bruce Kost

Charles Massie 10.29.10 at 1:14 pm

In regards to Klamath Falls, Oregon; Klamath Falls has a listed population of around 20,000 in the city limits (which are quite small) but when you include the suburban (urban growth area) the population jumps to nearly 45,000 in the actual local service area for the hospital and medical community. In addition the regional service area is well over 100,000 in population. Thank you for recognizing our community, it is a great place to live. Beautiful landscapes, Crater Lake National Park and centrally located in Southern Oregon. Check it out at klamathcommunity.com

rick zwartverwer 10.29.10 at 1:16 pm

Thank you so much for recognizing our amazing community, Klamath Falls, OR.
We just completed a survey by the Oregon Department of Rural Health that identified physician satisfaction here at 95% .
We are seeking General Internists, General Surgeons, Neurology, OB and Dermatology.
We are actually a city of 42,000 with a drawing population of 100,000.
There is more information at our hospital websie, http://www.skylakes.org and our community website, http://www.klamath.org

Tera Tuten 11.08.10 at 10:45 am

Bruce – we have travel pharmacy opportunities nationwide! I will have my director of travel pharmacy contact you directly.

Tera Tuten 11.08.10 at 10:45 am

Charles & Rick – congratulations on your distinction as one of the best cities to practice medicine!

LFC 12.25.10 at 3:32 am

Surprised to see Williston, ND on your list.

It was a town of 12,000 but is rapidly approaching 40,000 and is likely to be the third largest oil producing area in the country.

When I arrived here 11 years ago (after marrying a man from ND) it was a quiet town but with crippling medical politics. The need for medical care was astounding. The local medical community’s reaction to competition and excellence was right out of the worst case violations of the Sherman Act.

In private practice, in recent years, however, it proves to be a very satisfying place to work. I am the only pediatrician for over 100 miles in most directions (there is one in Montana an hour away). There is likewise a shortage of many primary care and specialty docs not due to problems with recruitment but due to poor retention, again a product of the political climate created by a certain member the medical community. One has to have a lot of courage to stay here.

If you are a Pediatrician, however, I am prepared to offer anyone willing to make a commitment to this community a position on your own terms in a fully established and highly respected medical home for children with special health care needs. When I retire, I hope to turn the clinic over to someone who will stay and take good care of the children here. You will be able from the start to employ at least two more pediatricians and a few NPs. My staff is great and is a cohesive and energetic team. Over half of our patients are CSHCN.

If you are any other primary care or specialty, this very medically needy community is aching for more docs. We have a good hospital and a safe town to live in. Good schools and wonderful neighbors.Our patients come from really far away as well as right here in town. With the growing population, the area is becoming more diverse and ancillary businesses are thriving. There is a college here that is well respected and offers a wide range of studies. Many churches, only a few bars, Great teachers, theater, music, and our Mall, (Super Walmart :). Amazon delivers in one day here.

We are a short drive from Regina, Canada, a train ride away from great skiing, smack in the middle of hunting and fishing paradise, (even ice fishing) and the weather is not at all bad. ( I am from California and find it ok). Did I mention that Williston is the “banana belt” of North Dakota?

Oh, and the movie Fargo? It is a work of fiction with no resemblance to life here.


Joe 01.18.11 at 7:37 am

Gary, IN? Yikes…

Indianapolis is a great city, though — lots of good hospitals, great school systems in many of the ‘burbs, good cost of living, Colts / Pacers, largest children’s museum in the world, zoo, and of course a physician-friendly state.

Sarah 02.04.11 at 11:00 am

I really enjoy Dallas, TX. How does its healthcare industry compare to San Antonio and Houston?

Dillon Stansell 10.09.14 at 11:31 pm

DON’T LIVE IN GARY, INDIANA. Some of the worst crime rates, the city is basically run by gangs. Police are questionable.. no place for health care professionals

Lakesha 04.27.16 at 1:08 pm

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