6 Steps to Finding Your Ideal Locum Tenens Job

Locum tenens jobs are plentiful across the United States, with multiple agencies offering part-time and full-time options of varying assignment lengths. But it takes more than just a locum tenens job board to find a good assignment.

There are a few questions to ask yourself first, plus several steps to ensure that you find the right fit for your particular needs. 

How to find the right locum tenens job for you:

1. Be clear about your priorities 

Physicians and advanced practitioners who are considering a locum assignment should be honest with themselves and any recruiters they speak to about their goals. 

What is your primary reason for seeking a locum assignment?


  • Are you looking for extra income? 
  • Do you want more experience in a certain area of your specialty? 
  • Are you seeking a transitional job before you relocate or retire? 
  • Or do you simply want a chance to travel or work in a particular location?

  • Your answers to these questions will help you focus your search and be more discerning about any choices brought before you. Top locum agencies will normally have a wide range of assignments, locations and terms from which to choose.

    2. Consider your timeline

    If you want to start working right away, you may need to look for locum assignments in a state where you are already licensed. Physicians who are licensed in a state that participates in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, or IMLC, may be able to streamline the licensing process in other states that participate in the compact.

    Credentialing is necessary for all locum jobs, and can be handled by your locum agency, so talk to your recruiter about the states and facilities that are most likely to allow a quicker start. Flexibility about assignment location and other aspects of the work will make it more likely that you can get started sooner rather than later, but some patience on your part may still be required.

    Recruiters can also book assignments several weeks or months in advance, and will help you with the paperwork, housing arrangements and the entire onboarding process.

    3. Find a recruiter who supports your goals 

    The vast majority of locum tenens practitioners will find their assignments with the help of a recruiter who works for a locum tenens agency. This relationship is vital to getting the support you need. After sharing your goals with your recruiter, he or she can do the searching for you, choosing from jobs that are publicly posted and some that aren’t.

    Will your family or pets be traveling with you, or do you need to come home on your days off? Is there some particular equipment you want to learn, a career step you are working toward, or a workplace setting you want to try? They should be asking these kinds of questions in order to find the assignments that suit you best.

    Recruiters will often have information about the facilities offering the jobs, as well, and can tell you about the experiences of other locums who have worked there, and what you can expect.

    READ: 6 Tips for Working with a Locum Tenens Recruiter 

    4. Give yourself more opportunities 

    Among the locum agencies that have cropped up in recent years, some have chosen to focus on a particular region or group of specialties. That arrangement may work for some situations, but in most cases a large national agency has more resources, more connections and more placement opportunities to offer.

    Larger, full-service agencies are also likely to have recruitment specialists who know the ins and outs of your particular specialty, whether you are a physician, advanced practitioner or dentist. More choices—and greater expertise—make it more likely you’ll find the assignment of your dreams.

    Still, it’s important to be discerning about who you work with; check out an agency’s reputation, see how long they’ve been in business, scan the jobs they post, and ask as many questions as necessary. Some companies like Staff Care have been in business for decades, built up relationships with health systems, and are prepared to help you choose from a vast array of opportunities.

    5. Control what you can 

    While flexibility in choosing assignments is highly desired, there may be some areas that you consider non-negotiable. So let your recruiter know! For instance, you may already know that you can only work two extra shifts a month and maintain your sanity, or you need a short-term assignment that allows you to take that medical mission trip next spring.

    As a locum tenens provider, you have the ability to decide when and where you want to work. That kind of freedom and control over your schedule is rare in medicine! Enjoy it. 

    6. Dive into the details 

    Have you been offered a locum job that sounds interesting? Don’t forget to read the fine print. Before you sign any locum tenens contract, which can be lengthy, be sure to read all the stipulations about pay, schedules, etc. Ask questions if you don’t understand. Some experienced locums recommend having an attorney review all agreements to protect your interests.

    READ: 10 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Locum Tenens Assignment 

    STAFF CARE, a company of AMN Healthcare, is ready to answer your questions and help find your ideal locum tenens assignment.  


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