10 Hardest-to-Fill Jobs in Heath Care

10 Hardest-to-Fill Jobs in Heath Care

Most people are well aware of the fact that there is currently a significant shortage of nursing professionals.

But, nurses aren’t the only health care industry role that is becoming increasingly difficult to fill.

In fact, experts are already predicting a shortage of nearly 11,000 doctors and surgeons as well by the year 2025.

As a health care professional (or someone who is aspiring to work in the medical field at some point), knowing which roles are considered difficult to fill can be helpful in guiding you toward the most lucrative career path.

Generally speaking, the greater the shortage, the higher demand and, along with that, the higher the pay and better the job security.

To help in this area, we did a little bit of research, checking into the top hiring websites to identify a list of health care related roles that have the highest percentage of unfilled positions.

Here’s what we found, listed in order from largest shortage down.


According to data compiled by the job site Indeed, a whopping 66 percent of all pulmonologist job openings go unfilled, even after a full 60 days have past.

With that startlingly high percentage, the role of pulmonologist finds its way to the very top of our list.

However, with an average salary of $321k, this leaves the door wide open for those seeking a profitable specialty in the medical field.


Consider for a moment that in every 100,000 Americans, there are fewer than 2 people with the education, skills and qualifications to be a rheumatologist.

In fact, this role came in just slightly below pulmonary medicine, with an unfilled position rate of 65.6 percent for more than 60 days on Indeed.

Medscape places the average salary of a rheumatologist at around $257k per year – not too shabby.

Nurse Practitioner

With the shortage of primary care physicians at a record high, the demand for skilled nurse practitioners also continues to grow.

In fact, almost 60 percent of all NP job listings remain open and unfilled beyond the 60 day benchmark.

With an average salary of over $113k per year and trends indicating that number is on the rise, this presents tremendous opportunity for those considering a career in nursing.

Agency Nurse

Fourth on the list of difficult health care jobs to fill is that of agency nurse.

The problem with this role isn’t so much desirability, as the job itself offers flexibility and excellent compensation.

What it really boils down to is an issue of demand, with 57.8 percent of all agency nurse jobs remaining unfilled after 60 days.

Salary for this type of nursing role can range anywhere from $50k to $110k+, making it a great fit for both RNs as well as LVN/LPNs.


Heart disease tops the list as the leading cause of death worldwide.

Given this sobering statistic, it makes sense that there is a particularly high demand for cardiologists.

As a result of this growing need, however, some 55.3 percent of all open cardiologist positions do not get filled for two months or longer.

But with an average annual salary of $423k, heading down the path of this specialty can be a very lucrative career move.


Like cardiologists, open job listings for radiologist positions also remain unfilled at a rate of 55.3 percent.

Surprisingly, the pay scale for both jobs is also quite similar, with the average radiology professional raking in $401k per year.

Furthermore, given the fact that nearly 1/4 of those currently employed in this field are expected to retire over the next five or so years, filling these roles may become even more difficult.

Emergency Medicine Physician

According to the CDC, Americans rack up more than 136 million visits to the emergency room each year.

What’s more, when they arrive, they expect to be seen and/or treated by a doctor promptly.

This volume and demand, along with the nature of the job itself, makes emergency medicine physicians one of the most difficult positions to fill.

According to our research, some 55.2 percent of open jobs remain that way for several months.

Emergency medicine does pay well, however, with the average salary coming in at $350k annually.


Ever try to schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist? If so, you’ve probably learned first-hand how full those appointment books usually are.

With no signs of that changing any time soon, 55 percent of job posts for psychiatrists will continue to remain unfilled.

If psychiatry is something that piques your interest, it may be a career path worth pursuing – especially with an annual salary of $273k.

Vascular Surgeon

Second to last on the list of top 10 hardest-to-fill jobs in health care is the specialized role of vascular surgeon.

Not only does this position boast an unfilled job rate of 53.7 percent, but with anywhere between 35 and 45 percent of all current vascular surgeons expected to retire over the next decade, the demand for experts in this field will continue to rise.

If you happen to get into this specialty, you’ll have an opportunity to earn an average of $476k a year.


As is the case with radiologists and vascular surgeons, the number of urologists currently working today is expected to decrease significantly due to impending retirement.

And with a current unfilled rate of 53.6 percent, urology rounds out the list of 10 hardest-to-fill health care positions.

Those interested in entering this in-demand field will make a comfortable living, with an average salary of $373k per year.

As you can see, there are many different specialties and niches available for those who are interested in entering the health care field or looking to make a career change.

Not only is the demand extremely high for these roles, but given the fact that most also feature hefty pay scales, they also offer tremendous opportunity for financial security as well.

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