Locum tenens has existed for a while now but there are still so many questions many folks have about this assignment type. While there are so many questions, a lot of them revolve around money. Many folks including physicians who are interested in switching to these temporary assignments want to know how much medical practitioners make in locum tenens.   

Therefore, in this article, we will discuss in detail the salary and hourly payments of locum tenens physicians. We will look at the factors that determine the salary rate, what the average salary is for different kinds of specialties, the states in the U.S. that pay the highest, etc.

Since we have so much to talk about, let’s get to it already. 

Factors that Determine the Salary Rates of Locum Tenens

The following are factors that determine the rate paid to physicians who do locum work:

1. Specialty Demand

It is no secret that facilities demand competitive specialties. Since it is challenging to find suitable individuals for such positions, most health centers are ready to pay a higher rate to secure the services of such individuals. 

This demand is usually dependent on the facility, but recently, the need for medicine physicians, psychiatrists, hospitalists among others has been on the rise. 

2. The Facility Location & Type

Facilities that are located in rural and remote areas will pay higher rates than their urban counterparts. The reason for this is that the medical practitioners in those rural areas are few; hence, the medical centers are willing to pay higher to secure the services of professionals. 

Also, the agencies that assign physicians take into account the cost of transportation to such rural environments and having to adjust to those settlements. 

3. Skill Set

The position that is to be filled determines how much will be paid. For instance, general positions will not cost as much as positions that involve and require demanding procedures or specialized skills. 

4. Patient Load

If a health center has fewer patient load, it determines how much the facility will pay the temporary physicians assigned there. No facility will give so much when they know the physicians won’t do so much. 

5. Required Shift Type

Some assignments last for some shifts, others for one weekend, and some might be as long as several months per time. When there is a requirement for weekend jobs or holiday shifts, the payment rate is usually higher. 

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What the Average Salary for Locum Tenens Physicians is  

Usually, the salaries of locum tenens health providers are paid by the hour. The locum tenens physician hourly rates are also higher when compared to that of full-time staff. 

It has been discovered via a study that locum physicians earn $32.45 more than full-time staff: This rate is by the hour.

Below are the locum tenens average salary rates per hour for certain specialties: 

i. Psychiatrists: $180 to $210 per hour

ii. Gynecologists and obstetricians: $100 to $140 per hour

iii. Emergency medicine: $100 to $250 per hour

iv. General surgeons: $900 to $1,500 per day

v. Hospitalists: $135 to $180 per hour

vi. Family medicine: $90 to $125 per hour

The following are the top 10 states in the United States of America in terms of average locum tenens salary rates:

i. Alabama

ii. Kentucky

iii. Oklahoma

iv. Indiana

v. Missouri

vi. South Carolina 

vii. Florida

viii. Georgia 

ix. Iowa

x. Tennessee

What a Locum Tenens Agency Takes Care of

Apart from paying the agreed hourly rate, most locum tenens agencies cover the following:

1. Malpractice Insurance

The agency is expected to cover the healthcare provider with their malpractice policy. The coverage type that is offered may vary depending on the agency.

2. Credentialing, Licensing, and Privileging

Most large companies have teams that will help you get the mandatory paperwork that will enable you to work in the location during the temporary assignment. 

Hence, most agencies maintain close relationships with facilities and boars in the country. This enables them to quickly navigate through the credentialing, licensing, and privileging procedures efficiently and quickly. 

With the aid of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission, it is now easier and faster to acquire a working license in over 20 states in the U.S.

3. Travel & Housing

The agency is also supposed to handle everything that has to do with your traveling down to the location of the assignment as well as housing you during your stay. Hence, they book flights, rent cars, and secure accommodations.


Working as a locum physician is reportedly more advantageous financially as these professionals get paid more by the hour than their counterparts who work in permanent positions. Hence, we have revealed how much these healthcare providers make and the factors that determine the salary they get.