As an urgent care physician, you have a unique role within the medical field. While you don’t provide emergency care to those with life-threatening conditions, you do provide immediate care to those experiencing serious, yet non-life-threatening conditions when they aren’t able to get an appointment with their primary care provider (PCP). Because you provide this necessary care like all other physicians, you’re compensated very well for all of your hard work. However, where you work also affects your salary.
Here are five major cities where urgent care physicians are paid more in the United States.
#1: New York City, New York
On average, urgent care workers in NYC make at least $197,500 per year, which is 16% higher than the national average. The Big Apple has just over 100 urgent care centers, with most of them being concentrated in the borough of Manhattan. However, according to the New York Post, NYC is one of the worst places to work in the U.S. as a doctor because of the high cost of living and the medical malpractice insurance rates. The state of New York comes in at number five on the list of U.S. states with the highest cost of living, but New York City (specifically Manhattan) is number one when it comes to cities with the highest cost of living.
#2: Boston, Massachusetts
Urgent care physicians in Boston make slightly less than NYC urgent care physicians, with a base salary of about $195,700 per year, and more than 10 urgent care centers in the area. In 2016, Boston Magazine ranked Massachusetts as the eighth worst state for physicians, citing the cost of living as an issue— with Massachusetts being ranked third in the highest cost of living, and Boston being pretty high on the list of cities. The magazine also projected that only nine states would have more physicians than Massachusetts by the year 2022, creating more competition for doctors. At the time, however, no one knew that a global pandemic would happen and that more doctors would be in high demand.
#3: Los Angeles, California
In Los Angeles, the base salary for urgent care physicians is around $187,000 per year, which is still 10% above the national average. Los Angeles also has more than 11 urgent care centers listed. Unfortunately, doctors in Los Angeles are likely to experience the same issues as their east coast counterparts in Boston and New York: a high cost of living. The state of California ranks as the fourth most expensive state to live in— while Los Angeles ranks as number seven for cities, according to Investopedia— so keep that in mind if you decide to move here for an urgent care physician position.
#4: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Urgent care physicians in Philadelphia can expect an average base salary of around $179,000 per year. There are more than 15 urgent care centers listed in the city, and here is where things start to look up for urgent care physicians and other types of doctors. Neither Philadelphia nor Pennsylvania ranks in the top 10 when it comes to the cities/states with the highest cost of living, meaning that you’re able to keep more of your earnings than physicians in Los Angeles, Boston, and New York City. The only downside here is that there are substantially fewer urgent care centers than there are in NYC.
#5: Atlanta, Georgia
The average base salary for an urgent care physician in Atlanta is close to $179,000 per year. There are more than 19 urgent care centers in the capital city, meaning there are more job opportunities available. Physicians in Atlanta, like those in Philadelphia, are also able to keep more of their earnings— in fact, Georgia ranks as number five on the list of states with the lowest cost of living. So it may be worth it to search for urgent care positions in Atlanta or other cities with a low cost of living, yet pay reasonable salaries.
Examples of other cities that pay well are Phoenix, Arizona and Camden, New Jersey.
Of course, every good physician knows that their work isn’t about the money— the true reward comes from being able to help those in need of medical attention. However, attending medical school and preparing to become a doctor isn’t cheap— and providing medical care to thousands of people isn’t always easy— so being well-compensated financially also helps.
So if you’re looking for an urgent care position that pays well, consider looking in another state. Just keep in mind that the cost of living may be higher, so you may not get a better trade-off.