There are many different career benefits of working locum tenens, including additional pay. Working as a locum tenens physician presents a wide array of benefits and incentives for physicians looking for a change of pace from full-time, permanent staff positions. A locum tenens salary can be quite lucrative, and there are a few popular reasons for taking on healthcare job placement as a locum tenens physician:
- Freedom to select the environment in which they practice medicine
- The opportunity to travel to destinations they may not have otherwise
- Reducing the stress level commonly associated with the everyday work life of a physician
- Expanding their skill set beyond that of their peers employed full-time in hospital and medical facility settings
- Touching base with a wider range of patients from various demographics
- Supplementing their income to cover the cost of medical school loans and other expenses
While the potential for a better working lifestyle is certainly there, there are some considerations for aspiring locum tenens physicians to be aware of when it comes to income. For instance, salary compensation will differentiate for each physician depending on several factors. Mint Physician Staffing shares a breakdown of the components that contribute to a locum tenens physician’s salary below.
The Physician’s Medical Specialty
Salary ranges for full-time physicians with a healthcare job placement in hospital settings, and varies based on their medical specialties. Locum tenens work is the same in that regard. The responsibility of a locum tenens agency like Mint Physicians Staffing is to match you with opportunities that fit your skill set and qualifications. While it is true that a physician has the ability to negotiate their salary rate, there are limitations that are largely based on the physician’s medical specialty. For example, Medscape’s 2017 Physician Compensation Report reported that the average annual full-time compensation of an orthopedic specialist was roughly $480K, which more than doubles that of a pediatric specialist’s at an average of $202K.
Expectations for a physician negotiating locum tenens salary requirements should be tempered to fall in line with the current market rate of their specific specialty. Physicians must also be aware that the rates aren’t set by the locum tenens agency, but instead the hospital or clinic that is contracting the physician through the agency. The physician’s locum tenens salary may be negotiated if they are willing to work longer hours, nights, or weekends when needed. Ultimately, the rate of pay won’t change much from their peers in the same field of practice.
The Type of Healthcare Facility Where the Physician Works
As with any assignment, your salary will also vary depending on the type of facility in which you’re working. Medical facilities in smaller towns won’t offer the same locum tenens salary for physicians working at a hospital in a major city. This is largely due to budget constraints and patient flow. There is room for the physician to negotiate the rate of pay with the agency. Locum tenens physicians with an extensive skill set and experience may command more pay, but the drawback is that they may have to accept less compensation than they would receive from a state of the art facility.
The Location of the Locum Tenens Assignment
Locum tenens physicians are higher in demand in areas where the supply of physicians is scarcer, such as rural and poorly developed areas. This certainly plays a role in the locum tenens salary, which can be both a good thing and a bad thing. For example, a Texas medical facility located in the outskirts of Texas may have a greater need for locum tenens physicians than a major Houston hospital would. As a result, compensation may be significantly higher due to a greater need for help in the facility located in the outskirts of Texas.
The rate of pay may be lower for physicians looking to occupy vacant positions in facilities that have more funding, but an abundance of qualified physicians to choose from. This is partly why it is important for physicians to keep an open mind when seeking a healthcare job placement. The highest salary may not necessarily derive from the most glamorous location.
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