Locum tenens is becoming an increasingly common pay structure for medical providers. Over the course of the past year, 85 percent of healthcare facilities have contracted with providers using locum tenens salary structure.
The increase in locum tenens usage is unsurprising given that the pay structure provides flexibility for both facilities and providers. Healthcare facilities are able to adjust their workforce as patient load fluctuates, which has been a notable issue over the last couple of years. Healthcare providers can arrange their work around personal life situations, find work between full-time jobs and earn additional income as they like.
Flexibility is a major attraction when considering an employment situation — but what about locum tenens salaries?
How Does Locum Tenens Salary Work?
Many locum tenens assignments are temporary contracts, running from the short- to the medium-term. For providers who are interested, however, full-time jobs are also available throughout the country.
All of these assignments pay on an hourly basis, so providers’ compensation directly correlates to the amount of time worked.
How is Locum Tenens Pay Determined?
The pay for locum tenens assignments is based on the basic principles of supply and demand. The more a healthcare facility needs providers, the more it usually pays. The fewer providers who are qualified and want a job, the more it usually pays.
Several factors influence supply and demand, the most significant of which are:
- Skill: Providers with specialized skills generally command higher salaries than those with general skills. This is true with specialists at large, and with providers who have specific skills within their specialty.
- Demand: Providers can command higher wages when their specialty is more in demand, as facilities must compete with one another to attract the specialists they want. Short-term demand can fluctuate broadly for all providers, and for providers who have particular skill sets. Long-term demand can trend up or down as providers enter/leave the field.
- Location: Rural facilities tend to pay more than urban ones, as there are more providers who live near and are willing to work at urban locations. The difference in income can be even more substantial when rural areas’ lower costs of living are considered.
- Patient Volume: High patient volume drives up the need for providers, which causes pay rates to increase.
- Hours: Overnight and weekend shifts frequently command slightly higher rates across many industries, including in healthcare.
Salaries for Locum Tenens Doctors
Given these many variables that affect supply and demand, locum tenens pay rates vary. The following examples are some ranges that certain specialties commonly command:
- Family Medicine and Internal Medicine: $100 to $135/hour
- Emergency Medicine: $160 to $300/hour
- Obstetrics and Gynecology: $110 to $150/hour
- Psychiatry: $150 to $200/hour
- Critical Care: $190 to $265/hour
- Radiology: $175 to $245/hour
Does Locum Tenens Pay Include Insurance and Taxes?
Because providers who are paid a locum tenens salary are hired as independent contractors, they are entirely responsible for insurance and taxes. Paychecks have no deductions for Medicare, Social Security or income taxes, and they also don’t include employer-paid insurance coverages.
As an upside, working as an independent contractor allows providers to deduct business expenses from their earnings. Sometimes health insurance premiums are also deductible.
Negotiating Your Locum Tenens Salary
If you are interested in this line of work, let a medical staffing agency negotiate the best possible locum tenens salary for a position you want. An agency can take care of all contract term negotiations, so you can focus on providing care, earning income, and enjoying the rest of life.
VISTA Staffing helps providers find assignments that offer good flexibility and compensation, and we can assist you in finding a high-quality position too. Check out our current job opportunities to see which ones could be right for you.