How Long Does a Locum Tenens Assignment Last?

How Long Does a Locum Tenens Assignment Last?

How Long Does a Locum Tenens Assignment Last?

With the ongoing physician shortage, caseloads often can’t wait for staff doctors to come on board. That’s why many hospitals, clinics or practices fill the gap with locum tenens physicians.

Along with filling an important staffing need, locum physicians are able to experience new places and meet new colleagues with each assignment. Traveling to the next county – or to the other side of the country – is common as providers care for patients in large and small facilities of many types.

Length of Assignments Vary Based on Need

Depending on the need, a locum can work an assignment anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months (or more). The duration of a job will depend entirely upon why the doctor is needed. Working with an experienced locum staffing firm will help uncover potential assignments and enable you to have more control regarding where you work – and for how long.

If a provider is filling in for a physician who is off for maternity or health leave, he or she may fill in for 12 weeks or more and will leave when the regular provider is ready to return. Different contract lengths will often depend on the doctor’s specialty and practice setting –  from large urban hospitals to small rural clinics with only one doctor.

Locum tenens physicians not only fill short-term staffing needs, but they also replace vacationing doctors, support facilities during peak periods, or try out positions that may become permanent. Settings vary and include solo practices, medical groups, and hospitals, enabling locum tenens practitioners a rare opportunity to experience different practice settings and earn additional income.

Here are some of the most common types of locum tenens assignments a physician might expect:

Short Term Assignments

One of the primary benefits for a locum doctor is being able to select the type of assignment that appeals most to you. For instance, physicians with a full-time job may opt for a two-week assignment during the holiday season to supplement their income. Or a provider interested in exploring a new city or specific location may pursue a two-month assignment based on need.

Seasonal Contracts

Locum assignments can be pursued on a seasonal basis. While contracts can vary by length and shift schedule, many providers enjoy the ability to work during specific times of the year. Whether you opt to take shifts around a full-time job or work locum tenens jobs during certain periods for a customized work schedule, locum assignments can be pursued on a seasonal basis.


 Working in the locum tenens field in a full-time capacity is also a potential option. Many physicians opt to fill their entire year with locum tenens jobs, often traveling to several towns or cities around the country.

While locum tenens work is not structured like a full-time job, there is potential to earn a full-time income due to the employers pay rates offered by many assignments. If taking on different assignments, plus working in a variety of locations and healthcare settings sounds interesting, being a full-time locum tenens provider is a great solution.

Contact Annashae Today

At Annashae we’re dedicated to the placement of highly-skilled clinical practitioners in short- and long-term positions. As a nationwide medical staffing and consulting firm, we provide a range of services that enable our candidates to quickly find the career opportunity that fits their needs. For information on how you can further your clinical career, contact us today.