Provider-centric staffing for purpose-driven healthcare™
Posted on
March 9, 2023

Which should you choose: Locum Tenens or Permanent Placement?

A recent survey indicates that over 40% of physicians experience burnout. Physical and mental exhaustion can make a medical provider incapable of providing quality care to patients. The leading causes of burnout among physicians are long hours and lack of work-life balance. If you want more flexibility to deliver quality patient care on your terms, consider becoming a locum tenens physician. Whether you are a younger locum doctor who values gaining experience and sharpening your clinical skills or an established physician looking for a more flexible schedule, working locums can help you transition to the next stage of your career. Here's everything you need to know before finding locum tenens jobs, including the pros and cons.

Who are Locum Tenens Physicians?

Physicians and advanced practitioners take locum tenens positions to stand in for other doctors or account for increases in a facility's demand. Locum tenens can also fill gaps for both temporary and permanent staffing shortages. You can combine locum tenens placement with your regular healthcare job to earn extra income. Alternatively, you could join the growing number of full-time locum tenens physicians. Medical facilities need locum physicians and advanced practitioners at their place of care. The rising shortage of physicians across various specialties has resulted in limited healthcare practitioners, and locum tenens offers an alternative that works for both facilities and providers. To get more information on the benefits of Locum Tenens check out our blog here.

Pros and Cons of Locum Tenens Placement


Locum tenens work is available to all licensed physicians and advanced practitioners. Regardless of their years of experience or healthcare practice, a locum tenens physician or advanced practitioner of any discipline can sign up to find placement with Caliber. That means you can find a locum tenens assignment whether you are fresh out of medical school or have decades of experience in medical practice. Other benefits of choosing locum tenens over a permanent healthcare job are:


  • Having job opportunities all over the country allows locum physicians the option to travel and explore more career development opportunities. You can relocate to a city or rural area that pays more for your specialty or focus on locum tenens opportunities in cities you've always wanted to visit.


  • Locum Physicians have more flexibility and autonomy over their schedules. Unlike permanent doctors who adhere to their hospital's schedule, you can make your own schedule. If you are a Physician at the end of your professional career, locum tenens is the perfect way to transition to a schedule that best fits your personal needs. Many healthcare professionals work locum tenens as a full-time job, or in addition to a permanent position.

Variety and experience

  • Taking locum tenens assignments all over the country lets physicians work in different settings and gain new experiences.

Career development

  • The increasing demand for locum tenens physicians and advanced practitioners across the US means finding a job that meets your unique requirements is easier than ever.
  • Locum staffing agencies help physicians with credentialing and licensure. They also cover medical malpractice insurance as well as travel arrangements and housing expenses for assignments.

Financial benefits

  • A physician can earn more from locum assignments than from working a permanent position as permanent staff. Statistics show that the average pay rate of a full-time locum tenens doctor is $32.45 per hour more than permanent-only physicians with one income source.


Working as a temporary physician has several attractive benefits, but we must also point out its shortcomings. Here are a few things to consider:

  • If your assignment requires frequent travel, it may take a toll on your family.
  • Taking temporary jobs in different facilities means constantly adapting your work style to match each new employer's requirements.
  • Locum tenens physicians are independent contractors who cannot access many employee benefits that permanent staff enjoy. You will be responsible for sourcing your own benefits such as health insurance, life insurance, and retirement plans.
  • Locum jobs tend to become available at short notice making it difficult to plan for long term options.

Pros and Cons of Permanent Placement

Permanent placement is a better option for a physician or advanced practitioner who prioritizes structure and consistent income. Some of the main advantages of being a permanent employee within a healthcare facility include:

  • Dependable annual salary with productivity and quality measure bonuses.
  • A fixed schedule that lets you know how much work to expect each month.
  • Benefits such as health insurance, retirement plan, student loan repayment assistance, vacation policy, and even maternity leave.
  • Potential job security without frequent traveling - this stability allows you to build lasting relationships with patients and other staff.

The downside of permanent medical practice jobs include:

  • Tedious administrative functions such as paperwork, in addition to patient care
  • Only one source of income
  • Less pay than locum tenens work and less flexible scheduling
  • The contract term is often at least two years, forcing physicians to remain in a long-term commitment after possibly losing interest
  • Limited exposure to new situations that broaden knowledge
  • Going through the same routine can quickly become monotonous and tiring


Save time

When you begin to work independently to find a temporary nurse practitioner or physician position, you may not know where to start or have the resources to find as wide of a profession selection as you may want. Locum tenens agencies already have all the help and connections to find a position for you that fits your experience, professional goals, and work preferences.

Valuable resources and support

As previously mentioned, locum staffing agencies help physicians with credentialing and licensure and various expenses. They cover medical malpractice insurance, housing expenses for assignments, and travel arrangements. Though the relationship between you and the agency will not end there, they will ensure the placement and connection with your facility goes smoothly.

They offer an inside look at healthcare facilities

A locum position temporarily fulfills the job of medical professionals in a healthcare setting. This means that when you gain experience in locum roles, you can temporarily see what a permanent role in a healthcare facility would be like. If you like it and see it as a rewarding career path in the future, you can pursue a permanent position there.

They can help you do exactly what you want to do

Locum tenens agencies will find the healthcare facility that is right for you. Suppose you want to work in a medical specialty or specific facility such as urgent care. In that case, they can find a job opportunity for you in specialty clinics and facilities across the country. In addition, when a position is found that you’re interested in, locum tenens recruiters can help negotiate pay on your behalf. This is a huge benefit if you don’t have the experience in knowing what your work in a locum position is worth because staffing agencies do and want to negotiate the best circumstances for you.

They can connect you with the right people

Through advanced software, we can match your profile as an individual to physician shortages or other vacancies in healthcare facilities across the country. Locum tenens organizations want to match you with a locum position that will help you gain access to a specialty or medical field you want to work in.

How Long Can Locum Tenens Work Last?

Locum tenens position timelines vary between medical practices. An assignment can last anywhere between a few days to several months or more. Depending on the facility's requirements, an assignment may also offer the opportunity to extend your assignment. In some instances, physicians receive offers for permanent work at the end of their assignment.

How Much Do Locum Tenens Physicians Make?

Locum tenens physicians have the potential to earn over $2,000 per day. Factors such as specialty, location, and experience affect the pay rate of the locum tenens position. Some of the highest paying medical specialties for locum tenens practices include:

  • Emergency Medicine: $160 to $300/hour
  • Psychiatry: $150 to $200/hour
  • Critical Care: $190 to $265/hour
  • Radiology: $175 to $245/hour
  • Anesthesiologist Pay Rates
  • Internal Medicine Salary

How Do You Find Locum Tenens Physician Jobs?

A physician can find locum tenens opportunities in all fields of medical practice. The easiest way to secure great jobs is by working with a staffing agency. Locum agencies are a better option for many practitioners because they provide access to more job opportunities and consistent work. Other benefits of using a locum tenens staffing agency are:

  • Job options in a medical practice that meets your requirements
  • On-time compensation
  • Better contract terms, including assistance with credentialing and licensure, professional liability insurance coverage, paid travel, and more

Regardless of your medical discipline, Caliber can help you get consistent locum tenens employment in your preferred location. We take the hassle out of the process so you can focus on providing the best quality health care services. Caliber only requires your experience and preferences, and we will take care of the rest. Sign up today to start discovering the best paying locum opportunities in your area.

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