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A Full-Time Locum Tenens Salary Guide: 9 Factors that Determine How Much Can You Earn by Specialty in 2024

Locum tenens work is increasingly popular among physicians and advanced practice providers. Not only does a temporary assignment model provide flexible work schedules and diverse practice experiences, but it also offers significant monetary rewards. 

If you’re a provider interested in the financial benefits of working locum tenens as a full-time job, you’ve come to the right place. Our locum tenens salary guide will help you understand how much you could earn depending on various factors.

Let’s run the numbers.

Factors Influencing Locum Tenens Pay Rates

Locum tenens clinicians are typically compensated on an hourly basis, with several key factors influencing these rates:

  1. Geographic location: Rural or underserved areas frequently offer higher pay rates to attract clinicians. Conversely, urban areas might offer lower rates due to higher competition.
  2. Travel Requirements: Locum tenens positions requiring significant travel typically offer higher pay to offset the inconvenience and time commitment.
  3. Housing and living costs: The availability and quality of housing provided or housing stipends vary. Assignments in areas with higher living costs may offer higher pay or more substantial housing allowances.
  4. Contract length and flexibility: Short-term assignments pay more per hour to compensate for the temporary nature of the work. Clinicians willing to work longer assignments may receive benefits such as housing stipends, travel reimbursements, and bonuses.
  5. Facility type and size: Larger facilities or those with a higher patient volume may offer higher pay to attract qualified clinicians. Smaller facilities and clinics tend to have limited resources, leading to lower hourly rates.
  6. Shift timing and hours: Pay rates can vary depending on whether shifts are during regular hours, nights, weekends, or holidays. Due to less favorable timing, premium rates are often offered for off-hour shifts.
  7. Immediacy: If a healthcare employer urgently needs to fill a position, it may offer higher pay rates to attract qualified candidates more quickly.
  8. Professional liability and risk: The perceived level of risk and liability associated with certain specialties or specific assignments can introduce unpredictability. The higher the risk, the higher the compensation.
  9. Experience and credentials: More experienced clinicians or those with specialized training and certifications are usually able to demand higher rates. This is particularly true for advanced practice providers and subspecialty physicians.

Speaking of experience, let’s look at the average annual locum tenens earnings for some high-demand specialties:

Full-Time Locum Tenens Earning Potential by Specialty

Now let’s break down the hourly and annual locum tenens pay scales by specialty:

SpecialtyHourly RateFull-Time Locum TenensAnnual Perm Salary
Advanced Practice Providers (NPs, PAs)$73 – $79$150,000$125,410
Anesthesiologists$285 – $350$660,400$398,000
Critical Care Physicians$190 – $265$473,200$357,000
CardiologistsUp to $2,500/day$611,000$459,000
CRNAs$150 – $200$204,000$214,000
Dermatologists$150 – $250$416,000$400,000
Emergency Medicine Physicians$160 – $245$421,200$353,000
GastroenterologistsUp to $2,100/day$507,000$453,000
Hospitalists$140 – $180$332,800$258,000
Internal Medicine Physicians$90 – $130$228,800$243,000
Neurointensive Care Physicians$200 – $300$520,000$420,000
Ob/Gyn Physicians$150 – $200$364,000$338,000
OncologistsUp to $2,200/day$520,000$402,000
Pediatricians$100 – $150$260,000$225,000
Pediatric Critical Care Specialists$175 – $250$442,000$370,000
Psychiatrists$145 – $180$338,000$275,000
Radiologists$175 – $245$436,800$420,000
Trauma SurgeonsUp to $2,500/day$585,000$482,000
Urgent Care Physicians$120 – $150$280,800$295,000

Sources: Locumstory, AMN, and LT.

Can you work locum tenens during residency? Absolutely.
Learn more about moonlighting as a resident.

Is Full-Time Locum Tenens Right For You?

Full-time locum tenens work offers physicians and clinicians an attractive financial opportunity with flexible scheduling and diverse experiences.

While there may be some tax burdens—like record-keeping and making estimated tax payments—there are also potential tax benefits—like higher retirement contribution limits and deductible expenses that can lower your taxable income.

Whether you are a cardiologist, advanced practice provider, or in another high-demand specialty, locum tenens work would be a rewarding career choice, assuming life on the road is the life for you!

If you’re considering locum tenens as a career path, connect with our staffing experts. We’re committed to presenting job opportunities that not only improve your clinical skills but also fit your lifestyle and offer competitive pay.

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