How do I Become a Locum Tenens Physician?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 23 June 2019
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A locum tenens physician is a doctor who works temporary jobs in preference to having a job that is full-time and longterm. The path to becoming a doctor in this field is fairly easy, given the high number of agencies available that staff temporary positions. There are some fields in which it is easier to find work as a locum tenens physician, and these include in the areas of general practice, general surgery, psychiatry and anesthesiology. These specific fields may have greater availability of jobs in more areas, than do other specialty practices.

It should be clearly understood that a locum tenens physician does hold a medical license. Depending upon where work is undertaken, licenses may need to be held in several states. If a person wants to travel a lot to do temporary work, he may either need to independently apply, or work with a staffing agency in order to obtain these licenses. Usually, agencies do the paperwork that would involve getting privileges to work at a specific hospital or medical facility, but depending on the agency, it may or may not help with holding multiple state licenses.


Most people who do this work on a full or part-time basis simply become a locum tenens physician by registering with a proven agency that can best meet their needs for jobs. It may be helpful to interview several agencies prior to picking one, and most people will go through an interview process. Doctors will also need to provide things like documentation of licenses and work experience prior to signing on. Each agency may have its own requirements.

Many doctors find that working as a locum tenens physician can be highly rewarding, and lucrative. Since most agencies cover the cost of malpractice insurance for their doctors, doctors may have less in outgoing payments and be able to make a more steady profit. Usually doctors would make slightly less than they would in permanent positions but this is offset by lower overhead costs. Frequently, locum tenens agencies also help find doctors places to stay or negotiate living spaces if a job lasts for more than a day or two.

Another method to become a locum tenens physician is to simply look for work with hospitals or doctor’s offices on a temporary basis. This is usually the harder method, unless an assignment is very brief and a doctor is temporarily filling in for a friend or well-known colleague. The majority of work is found through agencies and most medical facilities that seek temporary help rely on agencies to provide them with qualified doctors.



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Post 1

I encourage any physician thinking about doing locum work to go for it! There are lots of great locum tenens recruiting agencies around.

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