Choosing the Right Location: 7 Factors for Medical Professionals in Relocation Decisions

Choices, choices, choices. Now more than ever, medical professionals can find a job pretty much wherever they choose—a result of the severe healthcare talent shortage.

Metropolitan area or rural area? North, south, east or west? Big healthcare system or small private facility? For healthcare professionals, the world is your oyster. No wonder most medical residents receive more than 100 job offers before they’ve even completed training!

But here’s the thing: with opportunities pouring in from every direction, how does one make an informed decision?

There are a number of factors that medical professionals do (and should) consider when weighing relocation decisions.

Here are our top seven. 

1. Quality of Life

You could be offered the most desirable, prestigious job in the world, but if you’re not comfortable in that environment, it’s not a good choice for you.

For example, some people thrive on the bustle of a busy city; others prefer a slower pace and friendlier community. It’s a matter of preference. But no matter how they define it, since the pandemic, many medical professionals are prioritizing quality of life over everything else.

2. Compensation and Cost of Living

That said, compensation and benefits—including health insurance and signing bonuses—remain an essential consideration. After all, who doesn’t want to be paid well for their work, especially one that requires so much training and dedication?

But it’s not that simple. When considering an offer, job seekers should factor in the cost of living as a point of context. When housing costs, living expenses, and local taxes are lower, dollars go further—and vice versa.

3. The Employer’s Values and Culture

Some healthcare professionals care greatly about a hospital’s standing in the industry; others care more about its role in the community—or how it treats its people.

All are valid points. Whatever the case, the key is to know your values—and to gather enough good information to confirm if a potential employer is on your wavelength.

4. Work-Life Balance

In the post-COVID world, work/life balance matters more than ever. In one 2024 industry report, 65% of physicians said that they sought a new job or career due to overwork.

Many also said that they were willing to accept lower compensation in return for fewer hours and a more flexible schedule. When engaging with a potential employer, this may be something to put on the table.

5. Climate and Geographical Location

Obviously, climate is a driving factor in relocation. Trend-wise, Americans are migrating south to warmer, sunnier climates—and moving away from big cities to smaller communities.

But personal preference triumphs over trends. A cardiologist who’s passionate about skiing might seek positions in Colorado or Vermont, while a pediatric nurse who loves water sports might target jobs along a particular coastline.

In addition, since the pandemic, more Americans are relocating to be closer to family—wherever their family happens to be.

6. Legal and Regulatory Environment

For medical professionals considering relocation, a state’s legal/regulatory environment is important to factor in. This might include:

  • Licensing requirements – in some states, obtaining a medical license is relatively quick and simple, while in others, it’s a lengthier, more rigorous process.
  • Malpractice insurance costs – malpractice premiums are impacted by location as well as specialty. Some states require it; others don’t. And some have passed tort reform laws that cap malpractice settlement amounts, lowering premiums in those states.   
  • Restrictive laws governing medical practice –  for example, the scope of practice for nurse practitioners ranges from full practice authority to restricted practice authority depending on the state.

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7. Relocation Benefits

Finally, consider relocation benefits. While most healthcare employers provide them, not all do—and the nature of those benefits varies widely. 

For example, some offer new hires a lump sum to cover moving costs. Period.

Others also offer some support with moving arrangements, in the form of relocation consultants.

And still others have partnered with tech-based relocation providers like UrbanBound to ease the entire relocation process.

This matters, because a positive relocation experience will set a new healthcare employee up for success—wherever they relocate.


How much do these relocation factors matter? It varies. Every medical professional has their own priorities and values. The point is to know what to ask before making a decision.

Similarly, healthcare employers can use this to improve recruiting. While some factors, like climate, are beyond their control, others, like relocation benefits, are theirs to optimize.

Speaking of which, at UrbanBound, we’ve helped more than 10,000 healthcare professionals relocate to date—while helping their employers win the battle for talent. Learn more here.

Human Resources Today