[This is the second of a two-part series on the state of the emergency medicine job market. This installment focuses on compensation.]
The trend in compensation this season is essentially “more of the same.” What we saw last year was a direct result of the supply and demand marketplace, and nothing has changed there. What has changed are a few of the numbers.
There are actually fewer jobs overall than last season, possibly because there is a significant portion of last season’s jobs still unfilled. But the numbers are not as big. This reflects on the highs and lows. With no real standardization of income in the specialty across the country, the income numbers are strategically linked to the supply and demand for physicians. In areas where there are more emergency physicians with a strong lifestyle pull, the number of doctors available to fill open slots is considerably higher. Hence, the dollars needed to draw them are significantly lower.
In what I like to call “location-challenged” situations, where docs are less likely to want to live, the dollars can be significantly higher in order to encourage candidates to interview and accept positions. This is the norm. Exceptions exist but not many. For most of the past four years, there have been a few really high “highs” (topping $600K for a first-year doc) and some seriously scary lows, but I am finding fewer of those this season.
In general, the target income in the specialty is the magic $200 an hour. More and more employers in the Midwest, Southeast, parts of the West and now even the Middle Atlantic regions are reaching that number and even surpassing it.
Employers in most of the Northeast and Pacific Northwest are still hovering closer to a norm of $170 an hour. The lows across the country, primarily in highly desirable lifestyle areas and very rural regions, drop down to the $120 an hour range. The following overview is based on actual jobs available this season and, in general, a clinical schedule of 1,620 hours per year.