Frequently Asked Questions about Locum Tenens

Physicians and advance practice clinicians who are considering locum tenens jobs typically have many questions about working with a staffing agency, and what will happen while on assignment. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about locum tenens work that our recruiters hear at Locum Leaders:

What is locum tenens?

From a Latin phrase meaning “to substitute or hold the place of,” locum tenens has become the industry term used to describe healthcare providers who take temporary positions at healthcare facilities. Hospitals, clinics and medical groups typically use locum tenens providers to fill absences due to vacations, medical leaves, seasonal fluctuations, gap coverage as they search for permanent staff, or for part-time positions. Learn more: What Is Locum Tenens?

Do I have a choice in selecting where I go?

Yes. As an independent contractor, you can select where and when you wish to practice. You may select from the opportunities an agency presents to you and choose which, if any, assignment you want to take. Locum agencies should not attempt to dictate where and when you work.

Can I travel with my family or pets?

Absolutely! Traveling with your family or pets is a great way to share the fun and excitement of your travel experiences. If you choose to travel with your pets, a pet deposit may be required. If additional airline tickets are necessary for your family to accompany you, you will be responsible for the cost of your family travel. Consult your recruitment partner for more details.

How can I secure a locum tenens job with Locum Leaders?

To become a locum tenens provider, simply fill out our quick interest form or submit your interest to a specific job and our expert recruiters will walk you through the process to becoming a provider with Locum Leaders.

What are the advantages of working through a locum agency?

There are several. One is that locum tenens agencies represent multiple opportunities regionally and/or nationally, which means that you can stay busy and avoid down times between assignments. You can also enjoy a wide variety of locum tenens jobs that may vary geographically and in terms of practice style. If you enjoy a work environment or style of practice, your recruiter may be able to provide consistent work that conforms to your needs. In addition, leading locum tenens companies offer a range of support services that can save you considerable time and energy. Read Why Locum Tenens? for more details.

What type of support services do agencies provide?

Standards and services differ in the industry, but a reputable, full-service locum tenens staffing agency will offer the following:

  • Regular work assignments
  • Appropriate matching of physician/clinician to assignment
  • Paid malpractice insurance
  • Paid travel to assignments
  • Paid accommodations (free housing)
  • Credentialing assistance
  • Licensure assistance
  • Assignment orientation
  • Full logistical support

  • “Full logistical support” entails ensuring that the physician’s assignment goes as smoothly as possible and that all details regarding licensure, credentialing, travel, accommodation, etc. are handled efficiently. A full-service locum tenens agency, like Locum Leaders, also will work to ensure that the physician’s skills and availability are compatible with what is required by the agency’s client facility.

    How much will I earn?

    Locum tenens salary rates will vary depending on the facility and location, as well as your specialty, but are competitive with permanent positions in your specialty.

    In addition to your regular pay, some assignments offer generous completion and sign-on bonuses that range from $500 to $6,000. For specific information regarding pay and benefits, please contact your recruiter.

    When and how will I be paid?

    As a Locum Leaders provider, you will be paid directly from our payroll. We provide payment by direct deposit into your bank account, or by overnight mail every two weeks. If you choose direct deposit, your payroll stub will be mailed to you for your records.

    How long is a typical locum tenens assignment?

    Assignments can vary from one day to a year or more. In general, locum assignment lengths fall into one of several categories:

  • Weekend call coverage
  • 1 - 2 weeks of vacation coverage
  • 4 - 6 weeks of short-term coverage
  • 6 months - 1 year
  • Some assignments, especially in government facilities, can last even longer

  • Once I select an agency or agencies, what happens next?

    A recruiter from the locum tenens agency will obtain information about your medical training, licensure, and your personal and professional interests. He or she will present you with job opportunities, set up interviews, coordinate logistics and work to ensure that you have the documents needed for each assignment. Read our Steps to Get Started in Locum Tenens page to learn more.

    Are locums jobs available where I live, or do I have to travel?

    If you'd prefer to stay close to home, then chances are there's a locum tenens job close to you. Talk to a Locum Leaders recruiter to find the right position in your area.

    How long will it take to approve my application and start an assignment?

    Some locum tenens providers start their first assignment a week after submitting their application, while others plan their locum jobs several months down the road. How quickly you can start traveling depends on whether your documentation is in order and if your license is current for the state where you will be practicing. If it isn't, don’t worry — we’ll help you get all the paperwork and credential requirements organized in time for your assignment start date.

    Are locum tenens jobs full-time or part-time?

    Locum Leaders assignments are typically for full-time, 30- or 40-hour work weeks, but part-time jobs are a possibility. And if you’d like more hours, many assignments offer the opportunity to work overtime.