The Most Wanted Healthcare Specialties for 2020

The Most Wanted Healthcare Specialties for 2020

While a handful of healthcare specialties have a surplus of staff, most of the medical world is struggling with an employee shortage. Some of the deficiencies are location-based, with rural areas, in particular, facing a shortage of doctors.

According to St. George’s University, individual medical specialties are also facing severe shortages, and medical colleges and associations are fighting an uphill battle to attract and retain new talent. The reasons for the shortages seem to vary, with some being related to working conditions instead of pay. The long working hours or years of residency can deter applicants from more demanding specialties.

However, physicians and nurses who are willing to cope with these issues can find an incredibly rewarding career. If you’re looking for a career with good job security, check out these healthcare specialties that are hiring in NYC and across the country.

Family Practice

Primary care, in general, is facing a shortage, but family medicine is seeing a particularly severe shortage. The average pay for family physicians is $231,000, according to Medscape. This is much lower than other specialties, and individuals with high medical school debt may be turned off by the salary.

The working hours of family physicians can be long, but they also tend to be predictable. It’s a great specialty for friendly people who like working with a diverse group of patients on a long-term basis.

Internal Medicine

Internists focus on conditions affecting internal organs and mostly work with adults. They specialize in managing heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Like family physicians, they are paid less than most other specialties, with an average salary of just $243,000.

Internal medicine is an excellent specialty for people who want to provide primary care, but don’t want to work with children. Plus, internists will remain in-demand for years to come, especially as the U.S. population ages.


At just $225,000, the average pay for pediatricians is one of the lowest of any physician specialty. Pediatrics covers a wide range of subspecialties, including neonatology, pediatric oncology, and adolescent medicine. Although some subspecialties are more in-demand than others, they are generally an essential part of any hospital team.

In addition to the low pay, pediatrician work can be emotionally draining, especially if working in a hospital setting. However, the work can be incredibly rewarding as well. If you like children, then pediatrics is going to be an excellent fit for you.


The U.S. is facing a shortage of mental health professionals, including therapists and psychiatrists. Psychiatrists average just $260,000, despite their critical role in the mental health field. Although family doctors can also prescribe mental health medications, psychiatrists have a much more detailed knowledge of mental health issues.

Psychiatrists are needed for private practice, hospitals, and even in schools. They can typically retain a lot of control over their working hours, as well as which ages they work with. 

Obstetrics and Gynecology

Obstetricians and gynecologists are critical to women’s reproductive health, but there’s a shortage of them. OB/GYNs make slightly more than other specialties on this list, but still, only average $303,000.

These healthcare specialties require sensitivity and a caring heart, especially when dealing with patients who are pregnant. They also may require on-call hours, but the plus side is that you’ll get to witness plenty of babies being born.


Specializing in general surgery nets an average salary of $362,000, with some subspecialties making significantly more. However, surgery can be incredibly stressful work. Burnout can be high, particularly in emergency care.

Surgery can be a rewarding line of work. If you have steady hands and quick thinking, surgery may be the perfect challenge for you. While neurosurgery and cardiac surgery have higher-than-average salaries, plastic surgery often pays even better, with an average salary of $471,000.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners are in short supply across the country, in part because of the demanding working conditions. Nurses spend long hours standing, walking, and pushing carts around hospitals, and may be asked to work frequent overnight shifts.

Still, nursing has its own rewards. Nurses generally get more face-to-face time with patients and are the first to know when a patient needs urgent care. If you want to work in the medical industry but don’t want to go to medical school, nursing can be a fantastic career option.

Consider starting off as a registered nurse, then get the Master’s of Science in Nursing degree needed to advance. Registered nurses make a respectable salary, but nurse practitioner salaries often average over $100,000, depending on subspecialty and experience.

Looking to the Future

America’s demographics are shifting, and the full effects of the graying population are not yet fully understood. The demand for doctors and nurses is apparent. With long hours and high emotional labor demanded of many healthcare specialties, it’s not surprising that some fields are struggling to meet demand.

Even mid-career nurses and physicians can pursue new subspecialties or certifications to pursue a high-demand area. Start searching for a field that fits your personality while maintaining job security for years to come.

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