Hospitalist Career Guide 2024

Table of Contents

Hospitalist Salary in United States for 2023

Average Annual Salary: $223,410 Hourly Rate: $107.41

Data sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor via the ONET Web API. Updated at December 8, 2023

Best Colleges and Universities for Hospitalists in 2023

Best College Majors for Hospitalists in 2023

Projected Job Employment for Hospitalist:

Estimated YearProjected YearEstimated EmploymentProjected Employment% ChangeProjected Annual Job Opening

Hospitalist Career Path Overview

The Hospitalist career path is a rewarding journey that involves specialized training, diverse responsibilities, and a commitment to providing high-quality care to hospitalized patients. As hospital-based physicians, Hospitalists play a key role in coordinating patient care, managing complex medical conditions, and ensuring the smooth operation of hospital departments. This career path offers significant opportunities for professional growth and development.

Education and Training

The first step in the Hospitalist career path is to obtain a Bachelor's degree. While there is no specific pre-medical major, most aspiring Hospitalists pursue degrees in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. This is followed by completing a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program at an accredited medical school, which typically takes four years. After medical school, the next step is a residency program in Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, or Pediatrics. These programs provide hands-on clinical training under the supervision of experienced physicians and typically last three years. Some Hospitalists may choose to further specialize by completing a fellowship in a sub-specialty like Geriatrics or Critical Care Medicine.

Certification and Licensure

Upon completion of residency, aspiring Hospitalists must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) to become licensed physicians. Additionally, they may choose to become board certified in their chosen specialty by passing an exam administered by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), or the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). Hospitalists can also earn certification specifically in Hospital Medicine through the ABIM's Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine (FPHM) program. This certification recognizes the unique skills and knowledge required for practicing Hospital Medicine and can enhance a Hospitalist's professional standing and career prospects.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Hospitalists have numerous opportunities for career advancement. They may choose to take on leadership roles within their hospital or health system, such as becoming a Chief Hospitalist or Director of Hospital Medicine. Alternatively, they may pursue academic careers as educators and researchers at medical schools and teaching hospitals. Hospitalists may also choose to further specialize in areas like Hospitalist Procedure Medicine, which involves performing common bedside procedures, or Palliative Care, which focuses on improving the quality of life for patients with serious illnesses.

Job Outlook and Salary

The job outlook for Hospitalists is positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 7% growth in employment for physicians and surgeons, including Hospitalists, from 2018 to 2028. This growth is driven by factors like the aging population and increased demand for healthcare services. As for salary, compensation can vary based on factors like geographic location, years of experience, and specialty. However, according to the Society of Hospital Medicine's 2020 State of Hospital Medicine Report, the median compensation for adult Hospitalists in the United States was $304,369 per year. In conclusion, the Hospitalist career path offers significant opportunities for those committed to providing high-quality care for hospitalized patients. From specialized training to diverse responsibilities and numerous advancement opportunities, this career path is both challenging and rewarding.

Hospitalist Career Path Education and Training

Embarking on a career as a Hospitalist requires a significant investment in education and training. It's not a journey for the faint of heart, but for those with a passion for medicine and patient care, it can be incredibly rewarding.

Undergraduate Degree

The first step to becoming a Hospitalist is earning a bachelor's degree. While there's no specific requirement for the field of study, most aspiring Hospitalists choose pre-med or a science-related field, such as biology or chemistry. This gives students the foundational knowledge they need to succeed in medical school.

Medical School

Following the completion of an undergraduate degree, the next step is medical school. Here, students will learn about the human body in great depth, studying everything from anatomy to pharmacology. They will also begin to develop their clinical skills. Admission into medical school is highly competitive and requires a strong academic record, high MCAT scores, and relevant experience such as volunteering or internships in healthcare.

Residency Program

After graduating from medical school, aspiring Hospitalists must complete a residency program in internal medicine. These programs typically last three years and provide hands-on clinical training under the supervision of experienced physicians. During residency, physicians have the opportunity to work with a variety of patients and conditions, further developing their diagnostic and treatment skills.

Board Certification

Once the residency program is completed, new physicians are eligible to become board-certified in internal medicine. This certification, granted by organizations like the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), demonstrates that a physician has met nationally recognized standards for education, knowledge, experience, and skills in internal medicine.

Fellowship or Further Training

While not required, some Hospitalists choose to pursue additional training through fellowships in areas such as geriatrics, critical care, or palliative medicine. This can expand their skill set and make them more marketable in the job market.

Continuing Education

Even after becoming a Hospitalist, physicians are required to engage in continuing education throughout their careers. This ensures they stay up-to-date with the latest medical research, treatments, and techniques. In conclusion, the path to becoming a Hospitalist is long and requires significant dedication and hard work. However, the reward of improving patient care and outcomes in a hospital setting makes it a worthwhile career for many physicians.

Hospitalist Career Path Progression

Embarking on a career as a Hospitalist can be an exciting and fulfilling journey. The Hospitalist career path is distinct, offering a multitude of opportunities for growth and progression. This section will delve into the stages involved in this career path, from education requirements to potential roles and responsibilities.

Education Requirements

The journey towards becoming a Hospitalist starts with obtaining a Bachelor's Degree, typically in Pre-Med or a related field. Following this, aspiring Hospitalists must attend medical school to earn a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. This rigorous education is followed by a residency program in internal medicine, which typically lasts three years. Some Hospitalists may choose to further specialize by completing fellowships in areas such as critical care or geriatrics.

Initial Roles

Following their residency, newly qualified doctors may start their careers as Junior Hospitalists. In this role, they work under the supervision of experienced Hospitalists, performing tasks such as patient evaluations, coordinating patient care, and collaborating with other healthcare professionals. Over time, Junior Hospitalists gain experience and skills that prepare them for advancement.

Mid-Level Roles

As Hospitalists gain experience and demonstrate their competence, they may progress to roles such as Senior Hospitalist or Lead Hospitalist. These positions involve more responsibility, including overseeing junior staff and managing hospital departments or units. Additionally, these roles may require involvement in hospital administration tasks, such as developing policies and procedures.

Advanced Roles

For those who aspire to leadership roles within the healthcare system, the Hospitalist career path provides ample opportunities. Experienced Hospitalists may advance to positions such as Medical Director or Chief of Medicine. These roles involve overseeing medical services across an entire hospital or healthcare system. They also require strategic planning, budgeting, and the ability to ensure the delivery of high-quality patient care.

Continuing Education and Certification

The Hospitalist career path requires ongoing learning and development. Hospitalists must maintain their board certification in internal medicine, which involves regular recertification exams. They may also choose to earn additional certifications in areas such as palliative care or hospital medicine to enhance their skills and career prospects. In conclusion, the Hospitalist career path offers a clear progression from initial roles to advanced leadership positions. With each step, Hospitalists have the opportunity to expand their skills, take on greater responsibilities, and make a significant impact on patient care. Whether you're just starting out or looking to advance in your career, the Hospitalist career path offers a rewarding and fulfilling journey.

Hospitalist Career Path Specializations and Subfields

The field of hospital medicine is vast and diverse, opening up a plethora of opportunities for medical professionals who want to specialize in specific areas. As a hospitalist, you can choose to concentrate on various subfields, including academic hospitalist, nocturnist, pediatric hospitalist, surgical hospitalist, and ob/gyn hospitalist. Each of these subfields offers unique challenges and rewards.

Academic Hospitalist

If you have a passion for teaching and research along with clinical care, then becoming an academic hospitalist could be the right career path for you. These professionals are usually affiliated with medical schools or universities and play a pivotal role in educating the next generation of doctors. They may also be involved in clinical research, contributing to advancements in medical science.


A nocturnist is a hospitalist who works primarily at night. This role is ideal for those who prefer the quiet and relative calm of the night shift, and it often comes with higher pay due to the less desirable hours. Nocturnists are essential in providing continuous care for hospitalized patients, as they manage any issues that arise during the night shift when other medical staff may not be readily available.

Pediatric Hospitalist

Pediatric hospitalists specialize in treating hospitalized children and adolescents. They work closely with primary care physicians, nurses, and other specialists to provide comprehensive inpatient care for young patients. This subfield requires a special set of skills, including excellent communication abilities to interact with children and their families effectively, along with expertise in pediatric medicine.

Surgical Hospitalist

Surgical hospitalists are surgeons who primarily work in hospitals. They manage pre- and post-operative care of surgical patients and often perform common surgical procedures. This subfield requires extensive surgical training and offers the opportunity to work in a fast-paced, high-stakes environment.

Ob/Gyn Hospitalist

Ob/Gyn hospitalists are obstetrician-gynecologists who work exclusively in hospitals, providing care for pregnant women and addressing gynecological issues. They may handle deliveries, perform cesarean sections, and manage complications during childbirth. This specialization requires a high level of expertise in women's health and obstetrics. Each of these subfields provides unique opportunities for hospitalists to develop their skills, deepen their knowledge, and contribute to patient care in meaningful ways. As a hospitalist, choosing a subfield or specialization allows you to focus your career on an area of medicine that aligns with your interests and professional goals.

Hospitalist Career Path Job Market and Outlook

The job market for hospitalists is robust and shows signs of continued growth. This surge can be attributed to the increased demand for healthcare services, particularly in internal medicine, due to an aging population and advances in medical technology. Additionally, the unique skill set and specialized knowledge that hospitalists possess make them invaluable assets in a hospital setting.

Job Market Analysis

The job market for hospitalists is one of the most stable in the healthcare sector. According to a report by the Society of Hospital Medicine, the demand for hospitalists has been on a steady rise over the past few years. This trend is not only confined to the United States but is also observed globally. One of the factors driving this growth is the increased complexity of patient care. As medical technology advances, so too does the need for specialists who can navigate this complex landscape. Hospitalists, with their extensive training and expertise in managing acutely ill hospitalized patients, are well-positioned to meet this demand. Moreover, the shift towards value-based care and efficiency in hospitals has also contributed to this growth. Hospitalists play a crucial role in coordinating care, reducing hospital stay lengths, improving patient outcomes, and ultimately, reducing healthcare costs.

Future Outlook

The future outlook for the hospitalist career path is promising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 7% growth rate for physicians and surgeons, including hospitalists, from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is primarily driven by the ongoing changes in healthcare delivery models. With the focus shifting from quantity to quality of care, the role of hospitalists will continue to gain prominence. Furthermore, as healthcare becomes increasingly patient-centered, there will be a greater emphasis on providing comprehensive care. Hospitalists, with their ability to manage multiple aspects of a patient's care during hospitalization, are ideally suited to this evolving healthcare landscape. In conclusion, the hospitalist job market looks strong, and the career outlook is positive. With their unique skills and the growing demand for their expertise, hospitalists will continue to play a critical role in healthcare delivery.

Hospitalist Career Path Salary and Compensation

The career path of a hospitalist offers not only a rewarding professional experience but also a competitive financial compensation. The specifics of a hospitalist's salary can vary depending on multiple factors such as geographic location, years of experience, level of specialization, and the type of healthcare facility they are employed in.

Starting Salary for Hospitalists

A hospitalist's journey begins after completing their residency in internal medicine or a related field. The starting salary for hospitalists is generally competitive, with the median annual wage being around $200,000. This figure is significantly higher than the average wage for many other professions, reflecting the high level of training and responsibility inherent in the role.

Mid-Career Salary

As a hospitalist gains more experience and expertise, their earning potential increases. The median salary for hospitalists with five to ten years of experience ranges from $220,000 to $260,000 annually. Factors influencing this increase include the hospitalist's reputation, performance, and any additional qualifications they may have acquired.

Experienced Hospitalist Salary

Hospitalists with over ten years of experience can expect even higher salaries. The median pay for experienced hospitalists often exceeds $275,000 per year. Some highly experienced hospitalists might even earn over $300,000 annually.

Additional Compensation and Benefits

In addition to the basic salary, many hospitalists receive other forms of compensation. These may include bonuses based on performance or productivity, as well as benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Some employers also provide funding for continuing education and professional development opportunities.

Geographical Variations in Salary

Geographical location plays a significant role in determining a hospitalist's salary. Hospitalists working in urban areas, particularly in the Northeast and West Coast of the United States, tend to earn more than their counterparts in rural areas. However, the cost of living is also generally higher in these regions.

Job Outlook and Salary Growth

The job outlook for hospitalists is extremely positive. As hospitals continue to recognize the importance of having dedicated inpatient physicians, the demand for hospitalists is projected to grow. With this increasing demand, salaries for hospitalists are expected to keep pace, offering promising prospects for those considering this career path. In conclusion, a career as a hospitalist can be financially rewarding. This, coupled with the personal satisfaction that comes from improving patient care, makes the hospitalist career path an attractive option for many physicians.

Hospitalist Career Path Tips for Success

Embarking on a career as a Hospitalist can be both rewarding and challenging. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, it's crucial that aspiring Hospitalists are well-prepared and informed about how to navigate their career path successfully. Here are some tips to ensure success in your Hospitalist career.

Education and Training

The first step to becoming a Hospitalist is acquiring the necessary education and training. This typically involves obtaining a Bachelor's degree, followed by a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree from an accredited medical school. After medical school, you'll need to complete a residency program in internal medicine, family medicine, or another related field. Some Hospitalists also choose to complete fellowships in areas like geriatrics or palliative care to further specialize their skills.

Licensing and Certification

After completing their education and training, aspiring Hospitalists need to become licensed to practice medicine. This involves passing a series of exams. Additionally, while not always required, becoming board certified can enhance your professional standing and may lead to more job opportunities. The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) are two common certifying bodies for Hospitalists.

Developing Essential Skills

Success as a Hospitalist requires more than just medical knowledge and technical skills. It also requires strong communication skills, as Hospitalists often act as the central point of communication for all the different doctors caring for a patient. They also need excellent organizational skills and the ability to work well under pressure, given the fast-paced nature of hospital work.

Continuing Education

The field of medicine is constantly evolving, with new research, treatments, and technologies emerging all the time. As such, ongoing learning is a crucial part of a successful Hospitalist career. This can involve attending conferences, participating in workshops, reading medical journals, or taking additional courses.


Building a strong professional network can be invaluable for a Hospitalist. Networking can open up new job opportunities, provide mentorship, and allow for collaboration with other healthcare professionals. Consider joining professional organizations, like the Society of Hospital Medicine, to meet other professionals in your field.

Maintaining Work-Life Balance

Hospitalists often work long hours and may have irregular schedules. As such, it's important to prioritize work-life balance to prevent burnout. This might involve setting boundaries around work time, making time for relaxation and hobbies, and ensuring you're taking care of your physical and mental health. By following these tips, you can navigate the Hospitalist career path successfully, providing high-quality care for your patients while also maintaining a satisfying and rewarding career.

What is a Hospitalist?

A hospitalist is a dedicated in-patient physician who works exclusively in a hospital. They are responsible for the care of acutely ill hospitalized patients in a wide range of conditions. They manage patient care from admission until discharge, coordinating with specialists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to ensure the best outcomes for the patient.

What does a Hospitalist do?

Hospitalists provide comprehensive care to hospitalized patients. Their duties typically include conducting patient rounds, ordering and interpreting tests, diagnosing conditions, administering treatment, and managing the overall health care plan of the patient. They also communicate with the patient's primary care physicians and family members to provide updates and discuss treatment plans.

How to become a Hospitalist?

To become a hospitalist, one must first obtain a Bachelor's degree followed by a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) degree from an accredited medical school. After medical school, they must complete a residency in Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, or another related field. Some hospitalists opt for additional fellowship training in hospital medicine. Finally, they must obtain licensure to practice medicine and may choose to become board-certified in hospital medicine.

What skills are needed to be a Hospitalist?

Hospitalists need a variety of skills to be successful in their role. Clinical skills are essential as they must diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions. Strong communication skills are necessary to effectively communicate with patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals. They should also possess leadership skills to manage the healthcare team and organizational skills to manage multiple patients at once. Decision-making abilities are crucial as they often have to make critical decisions about patient care.

How much does a Hospitalist make?

The salary of a hospitalist can vary depending on location, experience, and other factors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for physicians and surgeons, in general, was $208,000 as of May 2018. However, the median annual wage for hospitalists is often higher due to their specialized skills and the demand for their services.

What is the job outlook for a Hospitalist?

The job outlook for hospitalists is very positive. The demand for hospitalists has grown significantly over the past decade due to changes in the healthcare system that favor inpatient care. As the population ages and more people require hospital care, the need for hospitalists is expected to continue growing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physicians and surgeons is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.

What are the advancement opportunities for a Hospitalist?

Hospitalists have several opportunities for advancement in their career. They can take on leadership roles such as becoming a chief hospitalist or director of hospital medicine. They can also choose to specialize in a particular area of hospital medicine such as critical care or geriatric care. Additionally, they can opt for academic careers and become involved in teaching and research.