One of the many perks of stepping into the Locum Tenens lifestyle is earning a very respectful income. As an in-demand job and numbers varying across the country, you could be looking at great pay while simultaneously travelling and seeking adventure as you go. Whether you are a new doctor coming out of residency, a retired doctor looking for some more work or someone who simply would like to change their career path, then these highest-paying states for Locum Tenens will help you find the income you want in the state you most want to discover.

Top Paying States For Locum Tenens


Located on the East Coast, Delaware is known for its popular beaches, rich history, affordable housing and tax-friendly laws. Work-wise, you’re looking at a demand due to the fact it’s not home to a medical school. Meaning the state is producing limited physicians and many prefer to leave the state in order to receive education elsewhere. On top of this, there seems to be a physician shortage hitting the state, with 30% of physicians wanting to retire within the next five years. This means there are not only many openings available in all types of areas of healthcare, but you are also looking at a 122% increase in income compared to the national medium for locum tenens. Therefore if a beachside experience with some Dogfish beer and Thrasher’s fries sounds up your alley, head to Delaware!


If you wanted to head to a state that really needed you, Missouri is your place. Since 2005, eight rural hospitals have closed down and despite the state investing around $5 million into their healthcare, they are still left with 56 doctors for every hundred thousand people. With such struggles, Missouri is heavily in need of physicians and is paying the same 122% increase of the national median as Delaware. Though there aren’t any beaches here, you have Lake of the Ozarks, the Hermann Wine Trail and the Meramec State Park.


Florida is heavily turning towards Locum Tenens with a major need for surgeons, emergency medicine physicians and radiation oncologists. Especially when there is around a 40-60% drop expected by 2035. Throw in an ageing population and a growing population due to the warmer weather down south, the sunshine state is the perfect place for you to soak up some warmth while making a great income. With around a 125% increase from the median pay, every sort of Locum Tenens is welcome, but orthopedics and cardiologists will do great here. As well as those that are happy to mix vacation vibes with work life, you’ll be most delighted in a state like Florida.


Colorado’s pressing issues seem to be around their doctors retiring, predominantly rural physicians. With many of them looking to step away from the job soon, their already known shortages are looking a little worse for wear. Although much better than Missouri’s doctor absence, with 278 doctors for every hundred thousand residents, there is still a big need for Locum Tenens to step up and give a helping hand and that comes with a 126% increase in pay. Plus, it’s Colorado. The Rocky Mountain National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Denver, Boulder, Football and Breweries.

West Virginia

West Virginia has moved up the ranks and began paying their Locum Tenens 126% above the median pay. Why? Because there are some intense staff shortages among hospitals and facilities across the state. It has already been quite apparent how much Locum Tenens staff (and travel nurses) have been able to help healthcare facilities from closing down. Considered a more rural type of state with its sparsely populated residents, you’d be looking at a potentially slower pace amongst the Appalachian Mountain region.


In a state where there are already shortages and one in four doctors are over the age of 60 and looking to retire soon, Locum Tenens are very much needed in Nebraska. Especially OB/GYN doctors with the state severely lacking access to women’s care. With a 127% increase from the national median, you can enjoy your great income with a mix of the state’s scenic attractions including Chimney Rock, Carhenge (a must-see) and the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum. Plus you can get your hands on a traditional Reuben sandwich and follow it up with some Butter Brickle ice cream.


Unfortunately, Vermont’s sudden pay rise increase has come from it becoming the most critically understaffed state in the country with around 70% of hospitals reporting staffing shortages. That makes Vermont’s pay increase of 130% very understandable. Yet, is there much to do in a place like Vermont? Known for its natural beauty, majestic mountains, incredible hiking trails and breathtaking skiing, you are bound to find some fun here.


Throughout 2021, Kansas was the top-paying state in the country. In 2022, it dropped under a few other states but not because of their own payment decrease, which ended up rising to 133% over median pay compared to its previous year’s 127%. For 2023, Kansas is still sitting at one of the top spots and could even increase as the year goes on. As with all of these high-paying states, Kansas’s staff shortage is also a struggle with 92 of 102 counties being medically underserved. Along with a medical school that has doctors leaving for other states once they graduate. Allowing a great state for locum tenens to come and serve the community. Not just in its major cities but more importantly in rural areas.

South Dakota

South Dakotas has 229 doctors per hundred thousand people, its primary physician care for only certain areas and the fact the winters are very cold makes it a hard state to hire Locum Tenens in. Though with a 139% rise in pay compared to the median, you can make a fantastic income on your assignment here while also enjoying some of the premier attractions. These include Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park, as well as the beautiful Falls Park. Plus you can hone in on some really interesting local food, like Chislic.


Currently ranked at the number one spot with Locum Tenens assignments paying 140% above the median, Mississippi has the lowest physicians per capita with 179 physicians per hundred thousand people. As an issue coming up suddenly in 2022, there is much to be said about the need for Locum Tenens throughout 2023. So much so, that legislators were considering allowing local doctors to be free of income taxes for 10 years.

But what else is there to do in Mississippi other than work? Well, Elvis fans will get their constant fix, and music lovers can hit the blues trail. Nature lovers can enjoy the beach life at Gulfport Beach, bike the Natchez Trace Parkway and hike the Tishomingo State Park. History buffs have a lot to see and learn and museums to visit. Last but not least, foodies can take some southern cooking classes, check out the King Cotton Crawfish Boil or head to a craft beer festival.

Wherever your 2023 takes you, if income is your main priority or goal this year, make sure you put some of these highest-paying states for Locum Tenens into consideration. The states need you and are willing to pay for your experience and skills. If you have any questions on how you too can become a Locum Tenens or choose from these destinations, please do not hesitate to let us know at TheraEx Locum Tenens Staffing.

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