If you’re considering becoming a locum tenens physician, you’re probably wondering how much you can make. The good news is that locum tenens physicians can earn a lucrative income, but as with any job, there are several factors that can affect your earning potential. In this blog post, we’ll explore those factors and provide tips on how to maximize your earnings in this exciting and flexible career path. So, if you’re ready to learn more about locum tenens physician salaries, keep reading!

What Does Locum Tenens Mean?

Locum tenens, derived from the Latin term meaning “to hold the place of, to substitute for,” is an exciting and versatile career option in the healthcare industry. Essentially, locum tenens physicians are temporary substitutes hired to work in healthcare facilities to fill staffing gaps caused by various reasons like seasonal changes, unexpected situations such as pandemics or clinician leaves. With constant patient influx, facilities require locum tenens to ensure the delivery of quality care. These temporary contracts can last anywhere from a day to a year and come with a variety of benefits, including excellent compensation. Other benefits of a locum tenens physician career include:

  • Flexibility in scheduling
  • Housing and travel stipends
  • Hassle-free workloads
  • Career sampling
  • Expanding skills
  • Creating work/life balance
  • Alleviating burnout
  • Pre-retirement work plan and;
  • Being able to travel the country

While there are a host of benefits to consider when contemplating a locum tenens position, let’s talk about one of the most enticing aspects: the income potential.

Locum Tenens Income

Understanding the Factors that Affect Your Income

Let’s get into the specifics. Wondering how much you can earn as a locum tenens physician? It depends on several factors. Here are a few things that can impact your income as a locum tenens professional:


When it comes to locum tenens income, the pay rate varies depending on the location. Healthcare facilities in high-need areas or those requiring specialized skills usually offer higher rates. Interestingly, rural areas are often the most lucrative, as they have fewer medical professionals and higher demand for healthcare services. Moreover, the cost of living is usually lower in these areas, meaning you could earn and save a significant amount of money. If you are open to working in less popular areas, you could increase your earning potential as a locum tenens physician.


Specializing in high-demand areas can significantly boost your income. While all specialties can provide a higher income, those in need of urgent care tend to generate the most significant compensation. For example, specialties such as psychiatry, hospitalist medicine, anesthesiology, and cardiac surgery can offer very attractive rates due to their demand in the healthcare industry. If you’re considering a locum tenens position, it’s worth considering specializing in one of these high-demand areas to maximize your income potential.


Sometimes, taking on the less desirable shifts can bring the most financial benefit. These shifts can include holiday shifts, on-call shifts, or even weekend shifts. While they may not be an option for everyone, those who are willing to take them on can expect a more attractive paycheck. So, if you’re looking to increase your income as a locum tenens physician, consider taking on these shifts.

Patient Load

Healthcare facilities with high patient volume require more help, and the income potential is equally high. Hospitals and clinics with a higher patient load are willing to pay more as you will be consistently busy during your assignment. Although this might not be an ideal situation for some, it can be a perfect fit for others seeking to earn more income as a locum tenens healthcare provider.

Considerations for Locum Tenens Compensation

Estimating the income you can earn from locum tenens largely depends on various factors mentioned above. To give you an idea of what you could earn, we have compiled a list of positions and figures that can help you anticipate your earning potential on your locum tenens journey.

  • Family Medicine: $90 – $124 p/h
  • General Surgery: $1,000 to $1,400 p/d
  • Hospitalist: $140 to $190 p/h
  • Radiology: $185 to $220 p/h
  • Emergency Medicine: $100 – $300 p/h
  • Hematology-Oncology: $150 to $175 p/h
  • Obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN): $100 – $140 p/h
  • Cardiology: $175 to $200 p/h
  • Psychiatry: $180 – $210 p/h

If you’re looking to maximize your earnings, consider exploring opportunities in Kentucky, Tennessee, Nebraska, Missouri, Alabama, Oregon, and Indiana.

One of the most significant benefits of all this information is that your recruiter will be the one to take care of everything for you. Whether your top priority is income or location, your recruiter will find the most attractive options that suit your needs. They will put in the effort to provide you with the best possible choices and make sure that you’re getting exactly what you want and need.

What are my options for becoming a Locums Physician?

Whether you’re a retiree looking to continue practicing medicine or a new physician seeking flexible work options, locum tenens opportunities are equal opportunities for all. With temporary positions available in a variety of specialties and locations, locum tenens work offers a great way to maintain your skills, build your resume, and earn income on your own terms.

Locum Tenens For Retirees

Retirees can take on some extra work through locum tenens opportunities without overworking themselves. With contracts as short as one day, retirees can work a day or two here and there, keeping their foot in medicine and making some extra money. This provides retirees with the flexibility to choose their work schedule while still maintaining a work-life balance.

Locum Tenens For New Graduates

As a new physician, pursuing locum tenens assignments can provide a unique opportunity to gain diverse experiences in various medical settings, with different patient populations, and alongside a variety of colleagues. It’s like dipping your toes into the water of medicine in an elevated sense, like liquid gold. By accepting different contracts, you could gain a wealth of knowledge, hone in on a specialty, and pay off your student debt much faster than traditional employment. Locum tenens assignments can be an excellent way for new physicians to jumpstart their careers and gain invaluable experience.

TheraEx Locums

Embracing change can lead to exciting opportunities, and transitioning from a permanent full-time position to locum tenens work could be the perfect way to increase your income and elevate your career. Additionally, not only can you enjoy the perks of flexible scheduling and travel, but you can also gain valuable experience across various settings. At TheraEx Locums, we understand the needs and desires of healthcare professionals, and our team of experts can guide you throughout your locum tenens journey. Let us help you land your dream job by clicking here for more information.

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