How Anesthesiologists Maximize Their Locum Tenens Salary
Many anesthesiologists work locum tenens jobs to enjoy added benefits like flexibility, travel, and new job opportunities.
However, one of the most common questions about transitioning to a career working temporary physician jobs is the locum tenens anesthesiology pay rate.
Locum tenens physicians often get larger paychecks than their full-time peers, particularly in high-demand specialties like anesthesiology. While the average pay for a permanent anesthesiologist is around $300,000 annually, locum tenens anesthesiology work can increase that salary.
Job seekers want to know specifics: What are average locum tenens anesthesiology rates, and how can I maximize my salary and benefits?
Several factors determine the Locum Tenens pay rate and average salary for locum tenens, including:
- Location and type of facility
- Demand for skill set and specialties
- Length of commitment
If salary is a critical factor for you, read on for tips to maximize your salary in each of these areas:
Be Flexible on the Location (Especially Rural)
An estimated 90 percent of U.S. healthcare facilities use locum tenens providers, with positions available in all 50 states, from small rural practices to large healthcare facilities in major cities.
Many doctors prefer to work closer to cities, so rural areas can struggle to acquire and retain permanent staff. That places a higher demand for locum tenens doctors in those areas.
As a result, rural facilities usually offer more money to locum tenens providers. Keep in mind that these rates will be adjusted for the regional cost of living. For example, a rural practice in Arkansas will pay less overall than an urban practice in New York, but when compared to the cost of living you will often find the rural facilities are more generous when it comes to hourly rate.
However, if rural areas are not appealing to you, there are many desirable (and well-paying) job opportunities near cities. It ultimately comes down to the healthcare facility’s demand for anesthesiologists.
Broaden Your Skill Set
While anesthesiology itself is a sought-after specialty, having a broad skill set can improve your pay rate.
For example, if you have a subspecialty of experience in cardiology or pediatrics, that puts you at an advantage to earn more because those are both high-demand areas of anesthesiology.
Do you currently work at a hospital, physician group, or other facility? Detail all your current and past experience on your resumé, because any relevant experience can help your salary, too. Sometimes, facilities will request a physician candidate who has experience in an extremely specific specialty – you never know how relevant that will be unless it is on your resumé.
If you’re flexible on what type of setting you work in, that will help you down the road.
The more you learn different facilities’ policies and procedures, as well as how to work well with other doctors in a new environment, the more valuable you become as a locum tenens provider.
Be Available for Weekends, Nights, and/or Weekend Shifts
Locums have the freedom to choose when they want to work, as well as how often they would like to work. The more flexible you are about your schedule, though, the better positioned you are to earn a higher salary.
Permanent staff usually do not want to work holidays or on-call positions, so if you are available to work those shifts your pay per hour will be higher than average since those are hard-to-staff positions for the facility.
Willingness to work nights or weekend shifts, or accept on-call time, may also give you a competitive advantage and lead to higher pay.
Commit to Work More Often or for Longer
Like any job, the longer you work for a particular facility or agency, the higher salary you may be able to secure.
Consider how many hours or shifts you’re willing to work. In general, the more you are willing to work, the more appealing you will be as a candidate.
Committing to staying at the same facility for a longer period of time or accepting ongoing positions may increase your salary as well.
Finally, if you build a loyal relationship with a locum staffing agency and continue to accept assignments, this could also help you maximize your pay or other benefits.
Show Off Your Experience
Like all jobs, experience matters. The more experience you have, and the better reputation you’ve built, the more appealing you will be to facilities looking to hire.
And opportunity grows, too. If you build a reputation as a dependable locum physician, you will continue to benefit.
Don’t worry–physicians of all experience levels can still find well-paying locum jobs.
If you are fresh out of residency and interested in working at a locum tenens job for the first time, this is a great way to build an impressive and varied resumé, make more money and/or have more flexibility early in your career.
Some healthcare providers work locum tenens jobs in addition to their full-time jobs. That could mean simply picking up additional shifts on weekends to earn more money, expand your network or focus on keeping skills sharp.
Some physicians are nearing retirement, and prefer the flexibility of a more custom schedule and the perks of traveling. These veteran physicians tend to have the highest average locum salaries.
Other Benefits Locum Tenens can Receive
Not all doctors or providers are negotiating based solely on pay. There are other potential perks if you work as a locum tenens anesthesiologist.
First, you could live and work in different states. Locum tenens work is an opportunity to travel and build your network, both personally and professionally. For some anesthesiologists, the opportunity to work in new types of facilities or urban versus rural environments can be particularly rewarding and reduce burnout.
Next, you get to experience firsthand different styles of practice — from small, rural facilities to large teaching hospitals and everything in between. At Lucidity, we also receive a significant number of government job orders, meaning you could work in a VA hospital or military base, or even travel with elected officials.
Should a permanent position open up somewhere you worked locum tenens and enjoyed, you have an advantage. You already know the people, and they know you.
Finally, some positions could include traveling and housing— all the way down to someone booking flights, rental cars, and lining up housing for you. Some agencies will even help you take care of the details like medical malpractice insurance or credentialing.
Overall, your locum tenens experience can be whatever you want it to be.
If you want to earn the most money as a locum tenens physician, being available, choosing rural or other hard-to-staff areas, and building your resume can help you achieve your goal.