Guide to Practicing Medicine in Ohio

Are you wondering about the doctor salary Ohio physicians can expect? Salary for physicians is very much dependent on factors like experience, specialty, and overall practice size. Ohio, which has a large research-based focus and some of the largest hospital systems in the country, could be an ideal place to open a practice.

Once you graduate from med school and complete your residency, you may find a wide range of positions available to you throughout the state of Ohio. Most importantly, you will find that salary expectations for doctors can be very competitive in Ohio.

Why Practice Medicine in Ohio?

There are numerous reasons to practice medicine in Ohio. At the heart of that process are the state’s world-class medical institutions and research facilities, including locations such as The Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University. With an international patient draw due to these locations, the state often has a higher demand for doctors than there is availability creating the potential for physicians to find a place to practice here.

The Buckeye State is noted for other key benefits, including:

  • Moderate to low cost of living depending on the location
  • Moderate to high wages for surgeons and private practice physicians
  • A large population across several large metro areas (Columbus, Cleveland, Akron, Canton, and Toledo) create opportunities.

The state does not mandate that doctors carry medical malpractice insurance outright (though most will do so). More so, the state caps damages in malpractice cases, capping non-economic damages to $250,000 or three times the economic damages up to a maximum of $350,000 per plaintiff, or $500,000 in cases with more than one plaintiff, whichever is greater.

The process of obtaining a medical license in Ohio is competitive and demanding, but the same is true for most states.

Why Not to Practice Medicine in Ohio

With such large medical facilities in the state, some of the best-of-the-best work here. The Cleveland Clinic’s Main Campus, a hospital with over 1300 beds, is world-renown. UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, with a smaller bed size of about 230, is also one of the most recognized children’s hospitals in the region. This, coupled with other hospitals, creates a draw from physicians who wish to work in these top-rated locations from around the world, making the competition a bit higher.

The state has a higher-than-most ranking of medical board serious disciplinary actions pr 1000 physicians (that’s at 5.52). This is higher than many other states.

Salary for Ohio doctors can be competitive, but are not the highest in the country. Those who work in the field as specialists tend to earn a higher rate here than those who own a smaller practice.

Number of Active Physicians in Ohio

Ohio has one of the largest populations of practicing physicians in the country, with 46,124 as of 2023. That includes 25,411 specialty physicians in the state. This number continues to grow as more research facilities and specialized treatment centers open. The state is home to 11,689,000 people.

As of June 2022, the state had 95,668 active medical licenses. However, a significant number of those providers is not practicing at that time.

Average Salary for Doctors In Ohio

There are several ways to determine the salary that Ohio doctors can expect. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates some basic information. It shares that, as of May 2022, the annual mean wage for physicians throughout the U.S. was $290,870. In Ohio, the annual mean wage was $214,920.

Another source is It reports that the median wage for a generalist physician in Ohio was $221,152, with those in the 90th percentile earning $271,238 and the lowest 10% earning $164,465 per year.

Take into consideration some of the top specialties for doctors in Ohio and the salary these professionals are paid in each one.

Ohio Specialities in Demand

Ohio’s large database of doctors makes it seem like there are not any shortages, but this is an area with a large population and numerous opportunities for growth. There are no specific insights into the positions most in need in the state outright, but there are some likely expectations:


Due to the aging population in many areas of Ohio, the need for more generalists and primary care physicians is likely to continue into the coming years. That’s especially important as people live longer, with the average expected age of 78 according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Family physicians are critical to helping people to stay healthy longer.


These professionals provide non-surgical care to patients treating disease and injuries to internal organs. With high rates of both diabetes and heart disease in some areas of Ohio, there’s an ongoing need for these professionals.

Emergency Medicine:

With some of the busiest hospital emergency rooms in the region, Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati emergency medical providers are also in demand. These professionals typically work within ERs, but some also work in hospital settings providing ICU-level support.


With top-rated surgical centers that attract patients from around the world, anesthesiologists are critically important to the medical scene in Ohio. There is often a demand for not just in-hospital care but medical center treatment options for these professionals.


Though the average age in Ohio may be older, there’s still a strong need for pediatricians, especially those with diverse skills, to provide for the mental health and physical needs of young patients.


Cardiologists are a critical component to any aging population, and in Ohio, where a top-rated cardiovascular and heart institution exists like the Cleveland Clinic, there’s often demand for up-and-coming talent and bright minds.


Brain health continues to be a focus of an older population, and neurologists are key to providing support in fighting conditions as far-reaching as Alzheimer’s disease, seizures, strokes, and other disorders.

These areas are likely to continue to grow in demand in the coming years, not only in Ohio but throughout the Midwest. Alongside these areas, there are few demands for doctors in areas of cosmetic surgery, though that sector is growing in many areas of Ohio as well.

What Business Formation Is Best for a Solo Practitioner in Ohio?

In Ohio, a professional limited liability company (PLLC) tends to be an ideal choice for many solo practitioners. This is a specialized LLC designed for licensed professionals, like doctors, in the state. It offers a flexible business structure, allowing physicians to establish their practice quickly and without significant cost. It allows physicians to determine how they want to be taxed, and, in most cases, they have the ability to establish management and oversight practices that fit their needs. PLLCs can be a single-member organization but can also be expanded into a multi-member as the practice grows.

One key difference between an Ohio PLLC from a traditional LLC is that there is no shared liability protection. That is, the structure of this type of business does not protect each member from malpractice. Rather, within this formation, each member of the PLLC must obtain their own malpractice insurance. However, each member is liable solely for their own malpractice claims and not those of other PLLC members.

Related Reading: When Should Physicians Incorporate

CME Credit Requirements to Maintain a Medical License in Ohio

As you think about practicing in Ohio, consider the continuing medical education (CME) requirements that are necessary within the state. To maintain a license, individuals must meet the requirements set by the State Medical Board of Ohio. These apply to both MDs and DOs.

Maintaining your license in Ohio requires completing 50 hours of CME every two years. Of those requirements:

  • At least one hour must be in your duty to report.
  • Additional courses must be certified as educational activities under Category 1 CME credit, accredited internships, fellowships, or residencies, or providing health care services in the state as a volunteer to uninsured or indigent people.

A random selection of physicians is required to submit CME hour audits every two years and must have accurate records indicating the work they’ve done.

Ohio State Taxes

As you consider the salary you can earn as a doctor in Ohio, you may need to factor in the cost of living here, especially related to your income. The Ohio Department of Taxation maintains tax records and tax laws. The state has four tax brackets ranging from 2.765 percent up to 3.99 percent based on income earned. Additionally, many cities throughout Ohio have local city taxes that individuals living or working there will need to pay.

In addition to income tax, those in the state may also have to pay additional costs:

  • Property tax: 1.59 percent of the home’s assessed value (this will differ from one county and city to the next)
  •  Sales tax: The sales tax rate changed by county in Ohio with the state average of 7.24 percent.

Doctors who own a practice may pay additional taxes related to owning and operating a business in the state.

Read this: 5 Tax Planning Strategies for Physicians

K-12 Schools in Ohio

When you are considering where to live in Ohio to make the most out of your doctor salary. One factor for those with children is access to the best schools in the state. There are 607 school districts in Ohio, including both public and private systems. The state issues a “report card” that grades each school district on the good and bad there. It is based on tests for third grade through high school. For the 2021 to 2022 school year, the following were the top-rated school districts in the state:

  • Solon in Cuyahoga County
  • Rocky River in Cuyahoga County
  • Chargin Falls in Cuyahoga County
  • Mariemont in Hamilton County
  • Marion in Mercer County
  • Minster in Auglaize County
  • Versailles in Darke County
  • Fort Loramie in Shelby County
  • Oakwood in Montgomery County
  • West Geauga in Geauga County

According to U.S. News & World Report, some of the most sought-after elementary schools in the state include:

  • Parkside Elementary School in Solon, Ohio
  • Wells Academy in Steubenville, Ohio
  • West Boulevard Elementary School in Youngstown, Ohio
  • Isham Memorial Elementary School in Wadsworth, Ohio
  • Pugliese Elementary West in Steubenville, Ohio

U.S. News & World Report ranked the following as the best high schools in the state of Ohio:

  • Ottawa Hills High School in Toledo, Ohio
  • Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Wyoming High School in Wyoming, Ohio
  • Bexley High School in Bexley, Ohio
  • Indian Hill High School in Cincinnati, Ohio

Need a bank in Ohio? Check out First Federal of Lakewood

Best Medical Schools in Ohio

Ohio has a strong educational foundation for up-and-coming doctors and those looking to advance their education. That includes access to some of the country’s best research medical schools including, according to U.S. News & World Report.

  • Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio
  • University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio
  • Northwest Ohio Medical University in Rootstown, Ohio

Medical Malpractice Rates in Ohio

Medical malpractice insurance rates are critical when it comes to determining the salary a doctor in Ohio should expect. Rates are very much dependent on specialization and other factors. The following are some estimates based on limits of $1 million for each claim and $3 million aggregate for all areas of Ohio (these could differ based on your location). These are for the approximate claims made rate:

Consider data reported by the Ohio Department of Insurance for 2017 (the most recent data available):

  • 2,428 medical malpractice claims were made
  • 73% of them were no indemnity payments
  • 644 of those claims had an average payment of $433,379
  • The average indemnity payment for birth injury claims was $1.5 million
  • One half of one percent of cases ended up in a trial

Related reading: Full Guide to Physicians Malpractice Tail Coverage

Medical Licensing in Ohio

The State Medical Board of Ohio sheds some insight into medical licensing in the state. In 2022:

  • 95,668 active medical licenses were in place in the state (not all were practicing)

The number of medical licenses in Ohio dropped from 99,442 in 2021 to 95,668 in 2022. However, there were 6,540 new licenses issued in 2022.

Some of the specialties that Ohio provides medical licenses for include the following, followed by the number of people that obtained a medical license for 2022 in that area.

  • Allopathic Physician – 45,168
  • Osteopathic Physician – 7,903
  • Podiatric Physician – 988
  • Physician’s Assistant – 5,227
  • Anesthesiologist assistant – 299

The following are the lowest number of licenses renewed in 2022 in Ohio medical licenses:

  • Radiologist Assistant – 14
  • Acupuncturist – 273
  • Anesthesiologist Assistant – 280
  • Genetic Counselor – 382
  • Doctor of Podiatric Medicine – 456

Areas of Interest in Ohio

Ohio is a diverse state with a modern, urban vibe in some areas and a more rural lifestyle in others. The following are some of the most distinctive areas of the state.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

In Cleveland, you’ll find the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which paints a picture of the history of rock music and is the perfect place to find a wide range of memorabilia. It’s also home to the Ahmet M. Ertegun Exhibition Hall, which has rotating exhibits.


Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The only national park in the state, it is one of the most impressive. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park spans from Cleveland to Akron, covering numerous small towns. There are bike and hiking trails here, waterfalls, canoeing and kayaking opportunities, and ski resorts. From sledding to golfing, there is something here for most.


Cedar Point Amusement Park

For those who enjoy thrill rides and fair food, there may not be a better choice than Cedar Point Amusement Park. Recognized as the #1 amusement park in the country, it is full of thrill rides, waterpark amenities, and more. It’s also right on the shores of Lake Erie.


Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Located in Columbus, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is on the National Register of Historic Places due to the stunning glass sculptures here. It’s also home to over 400 species of plants.


Cincinnati Music Hall

Cincinnati Music Hall is home to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and is often home to historical musical performances. There’s also a large ballroom here that’s often hosted some of the most notable gatherings over the city’s history.


Top 5 Ohio Cities to Live in and Why

Ohio is home to several large cities, though many people don’t live in the downtown area of those metro regions. Rather, they live in the suburban cities surrounding those big areas. For doctors, the following are some of the most notable of cities to call home.

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland is home to Case Western Reserve University, The Cleveland Clinic Main Campus, and University Hospitals (including Rainbow Babies). The city’s urban center isn’t often desirable unless you are living in the heart of the city. However, surrounding communities including the following are notable choices:

  • Chagrin Falls
  • Bentleyville
  • Hunting Valley
  • Gates Mills
  • Pepper Pike


Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, the state’s capital, is the largest city in the state and is noted for being the home of The Ohio State University, which is also recognized for its medical campus and facilities. Sitting on the Scioto River (pictured below) in the heart of the state, Columbus has a dense urban center with numerous higher-end communities surrounding it that could be ideal for today’s physicians. Some of the most notable communities for doctors in Columbus include:

  • Bexley
  • Upper Arlington
  • Worthington
  • Rocky Fork Blacklick Accord
  • Harrison West


Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati is the state’s third largest city and home to numerous medical centers and facilities, including UC Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, and The Christ Hospital. The city has a diverse economy and a moderate cost of living compared to other areas of the state. Still quite modern and urban, it’s a bit further south and noted for its family-friendly communities, schools, and recreation. Some of the most notable communities for doctors to buy a home in Cincinnati include:

  • Mount Lookout
  • East End
  • College Hill
  • Mount Adams
  • Kennedy Heights


Dayton, Ohio

Dayton is noted for the East Dayton Health Center and Kettering Health Medical Group. A bit more rural than other larger cities in the state, Dayton has plenty to offer those looking to start a career, including a lower cost of living, a growing economy, and lower unemployment rates. Housing costs are also a bit more competitively low here. The city also has a strong public school system and numerous recreational areas, including parks. Some of the best communities for doctors in Dayton include:

  • Rosewood Park
  • Brittany Hills Park
  • Oakwood
  • Schoolhouse Park
  • Donnybrook Park


Toledo, Ohio

Toledo is a modern city that has long been noted for its industrial facilities. Yet, it’s also a city noted for its growth, including in the areas of technology and healthcare. A low cost of living, excellent recreational amenities, noted museums and many art galleries make Toledo ideal. Some of the most notable medical centers in the city include The University of Toledo Medical Center and The Toledo Clinic. The city is also an urban center with numerous suburban areas around the region that could be the ideal place for doctors to call home, including in cities such as:

  • West Gate
  • Southwyck
  • Beverly
  • Franklin Park
  • Whitmer – Trilby


Finding the Right Resources to Start Your Career in Ohio

Ohio is a state with a lot to offer. For new doctors and those still in residency, it offers some of the best access to cutting-edge research, modern technology, and world-class hospitals and medical facilities. For those who want to be a part of modern medicine, it is an ideal place to call home. It has a moderate cost of living and a wide range of amenities.

For those considering where to live in Ohio, cities like Cleveland, Columbus, and Dayton are some of the most notable, but the state has many other contenders, including Akron, Canton, and Youngstown. That aside, the quality of life here is good, though winters can be harsh and summers hot and humid. For many doctors, it is the ideal place to start a practice and achieve your goals, including a promising salary Ohio residents can appreciate.

Ready to get started on your journey to Ohio? Read our guide on medical licensing in Ohio.

Still deciding where to go? Consult our Annual Physician Compensation Report to help with your decision.

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